The Wireless Broadband Alliance has published a 65-page document detailing many aspects that define Carrier Wi-Fi and the guidelines to provide it – something remarkably akin to the quality and seamless roaming we already enjoy from licensed cellular networks.
Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA, said that by defining carrier Wi-Fi, “the industry can now work together to put the building blocks in place to deliver advanced Wi-Fi networks. This work will help ensure that consumers connecting to a carrier Wi-Fi network will be exposed to the best user experience possible, regardless of time or location.” www.wballiance.com
Sprint, which has deployed more than 1 million residential femtocells, has begun to offer a Wi-Fi option for these femtocells via a deal made with Taqua (which already provided the femtocell gateway) and Kineto Wireless (who had previously supplied T-Mobile with their UMA Wi-Fi calling solution). This system uses a smartphone app to provide voice services over Wi-Fi, extending the cellular service and reusing the same phone number.
Wi-Fi Bites the Big Apple
New York’s MTA, in partnership with Transit Wireless, is implementing a new push to provide wireless service and Wi-Fi connectivity at Grand Central Terminal, 34th St. Herald Square, and Bryant Park. Grand Central Terminal could have cell phone and Wi-Fi connectivity by next month under the MTA and Transit Wireless proposal. If all goes as planned, commuters traveling through Midtown will be able to use their phones at stations like Grand Central Terminal, 34th St. Herald Square and Bryant Park, with Wi-Fi coming, as well. Transit Wireless has promised cell service will be available at all 277 subway stations by 2017.
In a similar move, Los Angeles’ Metro subway passengers may soon have access to Wi-Fi and cellular service on a system provided by InSite Wireless, according to county officials. The project, which began last month and is slated for completion by January 2016, will provide service to riders of the Red and Purple subway lines, and portions of the Blue, Gold and Expo lines. Eventually, service will be supplied to the future Crenshaw Line, as well, according to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Metro officials hope to give riders a preview of the service later this year with plans to have a Wi-Fi system at Union Station online by its 75th anniversary later this year, Yaroslavsky said.
Engineers are currently working to determine where to position a 2,000-square-foot base station hotel that will house equipment for cell phone providers that join the Metro network. While officials did not provide estimates on how many passengers would use the network, Metro official Daniel Lindstrom said one of the targets was to attract more young riders.
— Ernest Worthman, Executive Editor, Small Cells magazine