Japan's KDDI Corporation has tapped the expertise of Ruckus Wireless to be able to offer nationwide wi-fi access to its mobile subscribers.
KDDI subscribers on the packet flat rate plan can now use the KDDI "au Wi-Fi SPOT" service free of charge with their au Android smartphones in over 10,000 locations initially. The number of locations will increase to 100,000 by March 2012.
The "au Wi-Fi SPOT Service" gives KDDI subscribers "Instant On, No-Touch Access" without tedious and manual configuration of the smartphone. KDDI subscribers can automatically access the wi-fi network after subscriber information is authenticated through encrypted credentials embedded within each phone.
"Dramatic changes in customer behaviour and the related growth in mobile data traffic from the use of smartphones are having a profound impact on user expectations, service delivery and network infrastructure build-out," said Tadashi Egawa, head, service development and wi-fi business strategy department, KDDI.
The nationwide wi-fi access via smartphones is made possible as KDDI beefs up its wi-fi infrastructure through its national WiMAX network. This setup will backhaul data traffic from each wi-fi hotspot to KDDI's mobile network core.
Ruckus Wireless' Zone-Flex Wi-Fi access points will connect wirelessly to KDDI's WiMAX infrastructure. This strategy speeds up deployment times and service availability while cutting operational costs by eliminating the need for a fixed broadband access line in each location.
The new infrastructure forms part of KDDI's 3M strategy of "multi-device, multi-use and multi-network" that aims to deliver a variety of innovative content and services through any user device. The strategy was borne out of the explosion of data in Japan because of the growth from the use of smartphones, tablets and other wi-fi-enabled devices.
The challenge to this 3M strategy is connecting to the network seamlessly. While wi-fi hotspots are the easiest way for mobile operators to offer wi-fi access, the challenge for the network planners is to integrate the hotspots to the mobile network so that the access will be seamless.
KDDI solution is to introduce innovative bundled plans that include both 3G and wi-fi traffic. The charging is unified, and access to both 3G and Ruckus-driven wi-fi networks is seamless.
Ruckus' wi-fi technology offloads mobile data traffic from KDDI's cellular network for seamless access.
Ruckus said it is helping KDDI build "the world's largest mobile data offload service" as KDDI deploys more than 10,000 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7363 and 7341 dual-band 802.11 indoor access points through Japan. A WiMAX router connected to each ZoneFlex 7300 via a USB port allows wi-fi traffic to be automatically backhauled over KDDI's national WiMAX network.
The network will be supported by Ruckus controller and network management systems to centrally manage ZoneFlex access points. The Ruckus FlexMaster Wi-Fi system management platform will provide KDDI statistical traffic analysis, reporting and troubleshooting on a national scale.
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