The key to successful Wi-Fi offloading
With LTE operators experiencing the pains of unprecedented data traffic growth, many are stepping up to implement Wi-Fi offloading as part of an overall small cell strategy. As LTE element CAPEX and OPEX spend is nearly 83% more than Wi-Fi alternatives, the economy of offloading has a clear advantage. But there will be no payoff if customers don't have a smooth and seamless experience. Ultimately, customers have a choice: if they are not satisfied with their service, they can choose not to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
In speaking with operators, a number of issues are seen as threatening to Wi-Fi offloading success. The most critical concerns involve SIM authentication and a seamless handover between the macro and Wi-Fi network. Until recently, SIM authentication on Wi-Fi networks just didn't exist; customers were required to manually enter login credentials on their devices when accessing available coverage. With SIM authentication, the SIM card itself is used to authenticate the subscriber, without the need for manual intervention. When authentication and handover between macro and offload networks is seamless, customers will access and stay on the Wi-Fi network, helping operators achieve their Wi-Fi offloading targets.
WI-Fi deployments bring a new layer of complexity
As with any new technology, network tuning will play a major part of service launch and maintenance. The combination of new elements, multiple node vendors, ever-evolving specifications and interoperability requirements will produce a myriad of unexpected and never-before seen problems. One of these new elements is the ePDG (evolved packet data gateway), which is responsible for interworking between the EPC (evolved packet core) and untrusted non-3GPP networks requiring secure access, such as Wi-Fi and femtocell access networks. The ePDG is a single and critical point of failure for Wi-Fi offload activities and is susceptible to failures originating from a variety of sources.
With Wi-Fi offloading adding a new layer of network complexity, operators need the right tools to troubleshoot authentication issues, investigate session continuity issues, and protect the subscriber experience.
End to end monitoring: A "must have" for mobile operators
SIM authentication and a seamless handover are mission critical when customers move between macro and Wi-Fi networks. To the subscriber, the transition should be effortless. But what happens when there are authentication and handover issues? What if issues occur on a large scale? Operators need a Wi-Fi offloading monitoring solution that can proactively alert them before subscribers are blocked and these issues escalate into a major Wi-Fi outage.
Tektronix Communications' Wi-Fi offloading solution leverages a familiar IrisView toolset to improve visibility and enhance the productivity of troubleshooting and design teams. Focused on the ePDG node, the solution monitors the SWn, SWm, and S2b interfaces as well as providing a true end to end view of subscriber activity, allowing service personnel to pinpoint exactly where and why authentication and handover issues occur.
* Tracking of offloaded subscriber sessions from authentication to service delivery
* Correlation of Wi-Fi, LTE, and IMS interworking and IMS network information
* In-depth packet analysis on the interfaces around the ePDG
* Proactive real-time alarms based on key network and service KPIs
* Comprehensive and customizable ePDG peformance KPIs
* Multi-Dimension (APN, HS, Applications) KPI support
* Easy drill down from KPIs to subscriber packets
* Effective network change control and outage prevention
* Access-agnostic views for cellular and Wi-Fi network usage comparisons