The explosive growth in mobile data and video applications and resultant broadband traffic has placed mobile operators in a challenging position. Network capacity is being taxed to the limit, threatening to degrade the user experience, while growth in data revenues has proven insufficient to offset the decline in voice revenues. So, while network upgrades would seem imminent and unavoidable, there's no clear revenue growth justification for a huge CapEx outlay. Meanwhile, there is a high cost and huge risk associated with doing nothing.
With much of this increased data traffic directly attributable to dual-mode smartphones and tablets featuring both 3G or LTE plus Wi-Fi access -- with the iPhone™ and iPad™ representing the original vanguards of this movement -- many mobile operators are now looking at Wi-Fi networks as a way to offload data from their mobile infrastructure. Offloading forestalls the requirement for expensive macrocell upgrades while delivering a positive user experience – and, of course, it enables mobile operators to maintain contact with the growing number of consumers opting for Wi-Fi only devices, especially tablets. Initially, mobile operators relied predominantly on third-party Wi-Fi providers. While that model is still in place, increasingly we see a trend towards mobile carriers building and operating their own Wi-Fi networks in order to more effectively manage both the network quality and brand experience of their subscribers. When you consider that a key reason for using Wi-Fi to offload 3G data is to deliver a better user experience, the rationale for owning the network becomes clear.
As mobile carriers look to deploy their own Wi-Fi networks, they bring their carrier-grade network expectations to the traditionally residential and enterprise-grade Wi-Fi market. But, with traditionally enterprise-focused vendors rushing to position their products for the growing service provider Wi-Fi market, it’s important to remember that most Wi-Fi access points (APs) are not built as carrier-grade products, and their operating system software and network management are, at best, enterprise-grade.
BelAir Networks carrier grade Wi-Fi solutions have been built from the ground up to be carrier-grade. That's why leading mobile carriers like AT&T and cable operators, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable, trust BelAir Networks in their most demanding deployments – including the largest small cell networks in North America comprising tens of 1000s of BelAir Networks APs. And, it's not just the robust, compact APs that are built to carrier-grade specifications. BelAir Networks operating system software (BelAirOS) enables integration with the service provider's back office infrastructure to facilitate service provisioning, and ease deployment and operation while reducing networking commissioning and upgrade costs. And, managing the network is simplified with BelView Network Management, a comprehensive Wi-Fi network management package that leverages the latest GIS-based mapping and GPS information to facilitate the set up and management of Wi-Fi networks of all sizes, even up to 100,000 APs.