Wi-Fi: an extension or alternative to cellular networks?

May 31, 2016 - Openet

Wi-Fi is already the dominate source of internet for many. In December 2015, Ofcom reported the average data usage per public UK Wi-Fi hotspot was 73GB, up from 54GB the previous year. In comparison, 0.87GB was the average amount of data used, per device, over cellular, up from 0.53GB during the same period.

People generally love public Wi-Fi. Even at the recent Mobile World Congress, centre of all things cellular, many delegates had switched off data roaming and were taking full advantage of the free Wi-Fi hotspots around Barcelona. However, with the increasing use of video many public Wi-Fi services are being stretched towards breaking point. In some counties, it’s common to see notices requesting that customers refrain from using video when using the free Wi-Fi service on transport.

In the face of this, Wi-Fi is growing up – and fast. Thanks to relatively low connectivity costs, service providers be it cellular, fixed line or cable, are using Wi-Fi to act as an extension or alternative to cellular. Yet to ensure customer satisfaction, Wi-Fi offer needs to deliver a quality of experience (QoE) that’s either as good as or better than promised by 4G. 

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