& cplSiteName &

Mobile Wi-Fi Offload

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
4/7/2011
50%
50%

In the course of researching my upcoming Heavy Reading report on Wi-Fi Offload for Mobile Operators, I came across an interesting academic paper that estimates 65 percent of smartphone traffic is already (or can be) offloaded to Wi-Fi under normal usage conditions.

The paper, "Mobile Data Offloading: How Much Can WiFi Deliver?," attempts to quantify how much traffic is, or can be, offloaded from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by analyzing users' actual physical movements throughout the day and mapping that to a data consumption model.

To achieve this, researchers developed custom handset software that tracked 100 iPhone users in South Korea to determine how often, and for how long, people are within range of Wi-Fi connectivity to the Internet, and what the data rates were at any given point. This data was then combined with a traffic model to simulate how much mobile data could be offloaded to Wi-Fi over a one-month period.

The study demonstrates with a degree of academic rigor what we know intuitively: that many people spend a good deal of their time within range of an accessible Wi-Fi connection. The simulation assumed 7GB of data consumption per month, as predicted by the Cisco Visual Network Index for 2014, adapted to approximate a real-world consumption pattern (i.e., a mix of small and large files).

The key takeaways from this project -- at least, as I see them -- include the following:

  • Users are in Wi-Fi coverage 63 percent of the time during the day (70 percent over 24 hours); each stay in a Wi-Fi zone lasts about two hours.

  • 65 percent of traffic can be offloaded to Wi-Fi under typical usage conditions using on-the-spot offload (i.e., using Wi-Fi on demand when available)

  • Greater offload performance can be achieved if the user is prepared to accept delayed offload (e.g., sync your videos or photos when you get home)

  • This means that out of the 7GB usage per month, 4.5GB would travel by Wi-Fi and 2.5GB by cellular. Therefore a 2GB-3GB per month cellular data plan is probably enough for most users.

  • Offload performance depends, obviously, on the pattern of Wi-Fi coverage as well as user mobility. South Korea probably has denser Wi-Fi than some other markets, but still many of us have Wi-Fi at home or at work.

  • Wi-Fi provides connections of 2 Mbit/s on average, which is skewed to 2.76 Mbit/s at night, (probably home Wi-Fi) and 1.26 Mbit/s during the day (probably shared Wi-Fi).

  • Because Wi-Fi is faster than 3G, offload also generates a 55 percent improvement in battery life. However, the simulation only considered the energy used during transmission and did not take into account the battery drain from scanning for, and attaching to, Wi-Fi access points.


The assumptions and methodology of a study will inevitably have an impact on the output of the simulation, but the data does appear to show, pretty conclusively, that Wi-Fi is already taking much of the burden of smartphone traffic growth.

A logical question from this finding is then: How useful would it be for operators to more actively manage Wi-Fi offload? Would that generate an even greater performance gain? Or are operators getting most of the offload benefit without having to do anything?

— Gabriel Brown, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:18 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


 


I am really curious to AT&Ts view of the new version of the UMA service (I think its called WiFi calling now and is really just the old service rebranded).  I really liked the service and was just about to re-up with T-mobile to get on new phones that supported this.  I expect AT&T to drop it, so now I am thinking maybe I should jump to Verizon.


seven


 

rate-limit
50%
50%
rate-limit,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:13 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


As far as I know this kind of service is not that popular in Japan, while every operators are very keen to do. There could be couple of reasons, but the most serious issue is, such *potentially* offloaded traffic is likely generated at home(>70%), and celluar operator has to navigate thier subscriber to wifi seamlessly. This can be technically done via;


- user device will be automatically provisioned to wifi when user is at home


In this model, celluar operator provides wifi ap to their subscriber home and remotely provisions ssid on wifi ap, allowing only familiy member can join such ssid and so on...


I feel how to remotely provision is key to accelerate offload service penetration.


 

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:08:10 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


@rate-limit – I agree, remote provisioning of devices to automatically use WiFi would accelerate adoption. This is part of the EAP-SIM and AAA integration effort underway across the industry.


In Japan I've heard Softbank is giving away FON-style WiFi access points with new smartphone subscriptions and encouraging users to plug them in at home.


The smartphone is pre-configured to use this WiFi, and under the FON model, each user can access any other of the Softbank/FON WiFi APs around the country. Eventually Softbank will build a WiFi network with substantial footprint. 


 

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:08:10 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


 

Seven, I do not know AT&T’s view of the T-Mobile UMA services. Historically AT&T has not backed UMA; it would take quite a change of heart to embrace it now and I do not think that’s likely.

But my understanding is that T-Mobile’s WiFi Callling service is going great guns from a call volume perspective. The new Android devices have really helped. Since T-Mobile is also said to have more than adequate “UMA capacity” it would be strange to close down the service, even under AT&T ownership.

More prosaically, isn’t it going to be ages before anything much happens in the service portfolio of either operator as a result of this proposed acquisition?


 

Francis McInerney
50%
50%
Francis McInerney,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:08:00 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


Wi-Fi bypass, not offoading, now accounts for all the growth in wireless.

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:07:56 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


Thanks rate-limit,


I'm not convinced always-on WiFi makes much difference to battery life when in idle mode. 


Where there is an impact is when the device is active and you're actually using the network. You could argue that WiFi is more power efficient than 3G, although from a practical point of view I don't notice much difference, all else being equal.


I do agree that managed WiFi offload is potentially complex and possibly more effort than its worth -- that's part of the point this column makes. Half of traffic is already sent over WiFi without operators having to do anything.


BUT, I also think that WiFi in mobile operator environments is not neccesarily about "offload" per se. It is as much about extending coverage and services to hard-to-reach indoor locations. It is about a better customer experience.


EAP-SIM is being deployed very much in that vein: to make it easier to connect to hotspots, which are typically indoors at hotels, convention centres, etc.

rate-limit
50%
50%
rate-limit,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:07:56 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


Gabriel,


 


I think real challenge they are faced with is, mobile user does not really like to "always on" wi-fi, in order for battery life. Therefore, ideally when UE moves to celluar provider's wi-fi hot spot, network preference for UE will be automatically provisioned to UE, with EAP-SIM authentication. However, I think this requires wi-fi hot spot to routing area mapping but clearly this is operationally too complex or expensive....hence my impression is, wi-fi offloading cannot become majority of offloading access due to such restriction...from this aspect i would guess femto is much better.

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:07:55 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


Hi Francis -- would you care to elaborate?


Second-guessing what you might mean, there's certainly an impact from the fact that half of smartphone usage is now via WiFi. That has implications for operators' value-added services strategies.


For example, anything related to the use of subscriber data management is impacted, since half the experience is invisible to the carrier.

armor.chen
50%
50%
armor.chen,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:03:53 PM
re: Mobile Wi-Fi Offload


Wifi can switch to a sleep mode if communication is not used.


When a mobile device use wifi, it may consume more battery power but may obtain more bandwidth. It is a tradeoff. So, it needs an intelligent method to help user or communication system to select a best network according to the user preference, network operator's policy, device's condition and network condition.

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
As the fiber network landscape grows increasingly complex, effective network monitoring is becoming more important than ever, and key to carrier competitiveness.
SDN is constantly evolving and that process is helped along by numerous projects and other industry developments.
While the SD-WAN market continues to prosper, expect to see more innovations over the next year.
AT&T's Tom Keathley discusses the carrier's evolving plans for developing, testing and deploying 5G wireless services over the next few years.
For most service providers, NFV adoption is going to be a gradual process that will most likely include three phases.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?
P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting, 2/13/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.