Mobile broadband company, Stoke, has unveiled a new Wi-Fi Exchange gateway solution that allows operators to use Wi-Fi to resolve capacity challenges as part of an integrated service offering without losing touch with their subscribers. As a result, operators can rapidly roll out trusted commercial offload programs in areas where congestion is affecting user satisfaction and contributing to subscriber churn.
Stoke Wi-Fi Exchange gives operators the ability to safely and automatically authenticate Wi-Fi subscribers and securely link them to their services network, but requires no software installation or hardware changes on mobile devices. Stoke’s Wi-Fi Exchange gateway enables operators to provide trusted connections to mobile services, offering high-density secure session termination of Wi-Fi connections outside the operator core.
The new Clientless Interworking solution helps to overcome existing challenges to service provider offload by delivering unique Wi-Fi offload capabilities, not available in alternative offerings. These include: eliminating the need for software installation on or hardware modifications to the mobile device; enabling a fully-featured and secure experience over Wi-Fi; providing operators with visibility into Wi-Fi subscriber traffic in order to optimize the user experience ; and allowing operators to remain connected with their subscribers throughout their mobile broadband experience.
Major U.S. operators have publicly embraced Wi-Fi, but they have yet to implement the integration that would make Wi-Fi an extension of their networks. Unlike consumer or ad hoc Wi-Fi offload that offers only congestion relief, commercial offload gives subscribers access to all the services, security and standards they receive over cellular networks, effectively extending the operator’s services delivery and revenue generating capabilities to Wi-Fi. Stoke’s Clientless Interworking solution is purpose-designed to support operators’ commercial offload strategies.
“With the expanding availability of Wi-Fi, mobile users are increasingly choosing Wi-Fi over cellular, distancing them from the mobile operator. Operators’ current strategies leveraging unmanaged Wi-Fi offload are reinforcing this effect, which represents a major threat to the business model,” said Dave Williams, CTO at Stoke. “Operators are aware they have to do something about this, but until now the technology hurdles have been too high. Our offering helps to solve these challenges. It is already attracting strong interest from the operator community, and we are working closely with technology partners to build out an ecosystem supporting our approach.”
Stoke Clientless Interworking leverages the essential functionality defined by 3GPP Wireless LAN Interworking specifications. It creates a more easily deployable implementation by moving the processor hungry features from the mobile device into the network.
Leveraging the new capabilities of the Stoke Wi-Fi Exchange gateway located between the Wi-Fi network and the operator core, the burden of pre-provisioning operator service traffic routing mechanisms and IPsec requirements for mobile devices are removed. Trusted, secure connections to the mobile core and operator service infrastructures are maintained. Importantly, all traffic routing is within the control of the service provider, thus retaining visibility of the service and ensuring a connection with their subscribers through the mobile broadband experience.
Wi-Fi Exchange with Clientless Interworking leverages capabilities already deployed in mobile devices and networking infrastructures, such as the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) feature common in today’s mobile device operating systems. Stoke has already demonstrated the use of Wi-Fi Exchange with Wi-Fi infrastructure from industry-leading provider Aruba Networks (Nasdaq: ARUN). Stoke, an ArubaEdge Technology Partner, anchored an IPsec connection between the Aruba Wi-Fi network and Wi-Fi Exchange using Aruba’s WLAN Mobility Controller to provide the ‘trusted’ connection to the mobile core network.
“Mobile operators prefer to use mobile devices without the need for pre-provisioning, and Wi-Fi Exchange delivers this capability,” continued Williams. “Our solution is easier to use, more flexible to deploy, and enables more widespread adoption of commercial Wi-Fi offload.”