Light Reading
Here are the important players to keep an eye on as WiFi becomes more than just the sideshow in operators' networks.

Top 10 Carrier WiFi Movers & Shakers

Sarah Reedy
12/20/2013
100%
0%

Once a thorn in their network strategies, WiFi is now most wireless operators' saving grace. It's become an integral part of carrier networks, and the availability, quality, and handoff experience continues to improve.

It's an interesting time for WiFi in the wireless industry. For the most part, WiFi had to compete for attention with LTE network deployments in 2013, says Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown. All the backhaul improvements, core upgrades, and R&D went to the 4G network. But that could start to change in 2014. Already, most mobile usage is happening over WiFi rather than cellular, and next year, many operators will turn their attention to building out their LTE networks with small cells and WiFi.

Brown says to expect a lot of interesting developments to continue in 2014, including Hotspot 2.0 progress, a growing interest in venue services, carrier bonding with LTE and WiFi, and R&D on multipath TCP.

For our list of Carrier WiFi movers and shakers, we took a broad look at the industry and identified those companies being aggressive in adding WiFi access points (AP), innovating on how they monetize them, and working ahead on those developments that will define 2014.

We've focused here on the mobile industry, but that's not to ignore the work that's going on in the cable industry, where WiFi is becoming a huge priority. As such we've also included a page devoted to cable's movers and shakers, but we plan to look at them more closely in future coverage. (See Small Cells: The Battle for the Lamp Post, Cable WiFi Hotspots Could Hit 1M in Year, and Can Cable WiFi Scale?.)

So here's our resulting list of 10 people to keep an eye on, presented in no particular order. As with our Small Cells Movers & Shakers list -- WiFi's kissing cousin -- some of the names may be familiar, coming from big operators, while others represent new startups on the scene, each with innovative ideas about how to make WiFi work.

As always, please let us know what you think in the comments section below. Does your time siphoning free WiFi from coffee shops give you a different opinion? Anyone you'd add or take away? Feel free to weigh in on the message boards.

Contents:

Related posts

  • Next Page: Selina Lo, CEO, Ruckus Wireless

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

    (7)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    Page 1 / 13 Next >
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    1/3/2014 | 2:54:52 PM
    Re: Another candidate!
    Thanks, Claus. Torbjörn is another good one to watch. I've spoken to Aptilo awhile back, but haven't heard what they are doing lately. I'll be curious to see how they're shaping handoff. 
    ClausHetting
    50%
    50%
    ClausHetting,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/3/2014 | 2:52:55 PM
    Another candidate!
    Hi Sarah

    You should have included Torbjörn Ward of Aptilo Networks - he's a guru and co-founder. Ericsson hardly market Wi-Fi at all, at least not to my knowledge. 
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/30/2013 | 12:29:55 PM
    Re: Thoughts on the list?
    Yeah, I almost included Ericsson on the list (put them in "people to watch" instead), particularly because of the handoff technology that introduced that is supposed to fix the authentication issue. But, the tech is proprietary and no customers were announced, so I think it may be too early to call it a success. Definitely something to keep an eye on though. They will do a lot more with their BelAir buy too.
    DOShea
    50%
    50%
    DOShea,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/30/2013 | 12:09:37 PM
    Re: Thoughts on the list?
    If you look at where a lot of the news has been coming from the last couple years, this list hits a lot of the key names. Vendor-wise, is someone from Ericsson worth consideration? I thought they were doing a lot after the BelAir deal, though I admit to not being very steeped in this particular segment.
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/27/2013 | 9:12:12 AM
    Thoughts on the list?
    So what did everyone think of the list? It's pretty extensive, but there's a lot of action going on in carrier WiFi and more to come next year. Did we miss anyone that should be on it?
    SarahReedy
    50%
    50%
    SarahReedy,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/27/2013 | 9:11:32 AM
    Re: Wifi Deployment
    My hope is that WiFi remains free, but I think the more it improves, the more operators wil look for ways to charge for it. I'm hoping they'll stick to other ways to monetize it like advertising, promotions and partnerships. It's hard to take something we've always enjoyed as free and make it a paid-for service.

    That's on the mobile side though. Cable is certainly booming in WiFi and is a different use case and business model a lot of the time. Seems like most are using it to encourage customers to upgrade to higher tiers of broadband service.
    MarkC73
    50%
    50%
    MarkC73,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/23/2013 | 4:33:28 AM
    Wifi Deployment
    In the realm of personal consumer internet service, do you think Wifi will move from an on par benefit to a true differentiator?  Locally, and I don't have the service myself, but heard that TWC did a pretty good job with their Wifi deployment.  It's pretty new so it's probably underutilized but heard the coverage on the streets they do have installed is pretty responsive and seamless (and it's free for their customers).

    I think mobility is key, people want easy access, a free hot spot is one thing, but would you add to your monthly bill in order to have limited but predictable wifi in major urban areas?  I mean the more coverage you build and the more predictable stable service, the more cost that's associated with it.
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    Flash Poll
    From The Founder
    It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
    LRTV Interviews
    The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

    11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


    At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

    11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


    Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

    11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


    In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

    11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


    At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
    LRTV Interviews
    Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

    11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


    Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
    LRTV Documentaries
    FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

    11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


    The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
    LRTV Documentaries
    Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

    11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


    It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
    LRTV Interviews
    Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

    11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


    Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
    Light Reedy
    Telecom Analytics Grows Up

    11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


    The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei Compass

    11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


    At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

    11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


    At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

    11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


    At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
    Upcoming Live Events
    December 2, 2014, New York City
    December 3, 2014, New York City
    December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
    February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
    April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
    May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
    May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
    June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
    Infographics
    Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
    Hot Topics
    Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
    Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
    $38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
    Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
    Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
    Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
    Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
    The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
    Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed