Network based systems

IO by HFCL: the (possibly) largest mobile data offload network in the world serves 6 million users per day in India

By Claus Hetting, CEO and President of Wi-Fi NOW

With licensed mobile spectrum scarce and expensive, major mobile operators are turning to Wi-Fi instead to meet India’s growing demand for connectivity. RO by HFCL has grown into India’s largest provider of mobile data offloading solutions in record time – using Wi-Fi, of course. The current network is possibly the largest of its kind in the world with thousands of terabytes of data delivered over Wi-Fi every day, according to IO by HFCL.

Almost six million unique, data-hungry smartphone users per day – that’s the number of mobile subscribers served on what we currently believe to be the world’s largest Wi-Fi offload network delivered and implemented by India-based Wi-Fi solutions provider IO by HFCL. The network spans more than 50,000 access points dedicated solely to mobile data offload traffic and provided by IO by HFCL to a single major Indian mobile service provider, according to IO by HFCL.

Above: Shashank Sejwal, Senior Product and Program Manager, IO R&D Team at IO by HFCL.

“The truth is, our mobile data offload solution adds tremendous value to the service provider’s business in a number of ways. The Wi-Fi service provided to mobile subscribers is generally faster and better than what is provided over 4G mobile networks in India today. And it can be used to add bandwidth and capacity in areas where it’s needed most, making mobile data offloading a very convenient and cost-effective solution, ”says Shashank Sejwal, Senior Product and Program Manager, IO R&D team at IO by HFCL.

Shashank Sejwal says up to 65% of smartphone traffic in offload-capable Wi-Fi hotspot areas goes over Wi-Fi – and numbers like these translate into significant savings for the operator . The business model of offloading mobile data with Wi-Fi is based on better connectivity as well as savings in CAPEX, he says. Most of the Wi-Fi offload network is deployed outdoors and is spread across India, he says.

“There are two sources of CAPEX savings with mobile data offload: First, mobile operators can serve more users by using free unlicensed spectrum instead of acquiring expensive and scarce licensed bands. Second, the cost of deploying a Wi-Fi hotspot is a fraction of what it costs to outfit and install a 4G base station site. Add to this that the quality of Wi-Fi in practice is generally better than 4G in India, and the benefits for the operator are substantial, ”explains Shashank Sejwal.

But getting the right mobile data offload is about more than just supplying and deploying the right Wi-Fi access points. According to IO by HFCL, the most complex part of these projects is integrating the Wi-Fi offload network. with the operator’s core network, and then manage the service from end to end. IO by HFCL claims to have applied its cloud-based network management system designed in-house for centralized configuration and control of access points. Access point traffic is channeled to the operator’s gateway and users are authenticated on the operator’s AAA server.

At the access point level, Shashank Sejwal says the “heart and soul” of mobile data offloading is the seamless connectivity and roaming functionality offered to mobile phone users by the Passpoint standard.

“Passpoint technology – also known as Hotspot 2.0 – enables seamless transfers between Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity when needed. In other words: No user intervention is required on the phone, and current data sessions continue uninterrupted. And of course, the service provider decides which KPIs – for example the signal level received at the customer, speed, latency, jitter or a combination of these – trigger transfers from mobile networks to Wi-Fi networks. Fi and vice versa, ”explains Shashank Sejwal.

In terms of cost to the consumer, Indian operators consider Wi-Fi connectivity to be comparable to mobile services, which means that both or one or the other are used to provide the daily allowance of mobile data to the maid. In practice – and due to faster data speeds – Wi-Fi connectivity depletes daily data allocations faster than 4G connectivity and therefore mobile data offloading also contributes to operator revenue growth. in India, according to IO by HFCL.

IO by HFCL is a NOW Wi-Fi partner – for more information click here.

/ Claus.


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