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Press Release

Industry taskforce agrees on new architecture for small cell Wi-Fi integration

Small Cell Forum and Wireless Broadband Alliance collaboration defines interfaces, architecture and deployment considerations.

First in-depth study includes feedback from comprehensive operator and vendor survey.

London February 4 2016: A joint Small Cell Forum and Wireless Broadband Alliance taskforce today delivered the first comprehensive architecture specification for integrated small cell and ‘trusted’ Wi-Fi (ISW) networks.

The work is described in a new white paper that includes an in-depth assessment of the requirement, as well as the technical documentation and specification of the architecture and interfaces of Trusted Wireless LAN (TWAN) segment of ISW networks.

The SCF/WBA taskforce has specifically focused on bringing clarity to the architecture of the TWAN that connects the access points, controllers and gateways of the integrated ISW network. This is work that has fallen outside of the scope of the 3GPP and has not been addressed by any other standards organizations. It draws on the results of the first comprehensive survey of MNOs, MSOs, integrated operators and vendors to fully understand the industry requirements and deployment considerations associated with ISW networks.

Significantly, the taskforce has agreed technical definitions for three TWAN interfaces. The new paper describes and compares the various protocol options, and addresses the three different modes of operation of Wi-Fi networks today.

Commenting on the taskforce’s conclusions, Alan Law, Small Cell Forum Chair said: “The network densification challenge means that nobody – least of all the operator community – is asking why we need small cells anymore. The question now is how do we use small cells, and all the available spectrum options, to deliver efficient automated and integrated mobile networks.

“This work with WBA tackles that challenge head-on and delivers a comprehensive set of answers. It is an excellent example of the benefits of industry collaboration with detailed input from both the operator and the vendor community,” he added.

The taskforce also agreed on a number of important deployment considerations including details on encryption requirements and the ability of integrated small cell Wi-Fi access points to co-exist with Hotspot 2 architecture and embrace both Carrier and Enterprise Wi-Fi.

In addition, the new paper includes the results of the operator and vendor survey looking at the business and technical challenges and opportunities of trusted ISW networks. In particular, the survey highlighted the potential for ISW networks to provide new services in Enterprise-led deployments. Other benefits of integration highlighted in the survey include the operational benefits derived from the ability to share both backhaul and power supplies.

The full white paper can be downloaded here>>


About Small Cell Forum
Small Cell Forum works to drive the wide-scale adoption of small cells and accelerate the delivery of integrated HetNets. We are not a standards organization but partner with organizations that inform and determine standards development. We are a carrier-led organization. This means our operator members establish requirements that drive the activities and outputs of our technical groups. Our track record speaks for itself: we have driven the standardization of key elements of small cell technology including Iuh, FAPI, SON, the small cell services API, TR 069 evolution and the enhancement of the X2 interface.

The Forum has 137 members including 63 operators representing more than 1.71 billion mobile subscribers – 33 per cent of the global total – as well as telecoms hardware and software vendors, content providers and innovative start-ups.

The SCF board includes Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, ip.access, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Reliance Jio, Softbank, Spidercloud, Sprint and Vodafone.

About WBA
Founded in 2003, the mission of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to champion the development of the converged wireless broadband ecosystem through seamless, secure and interoperable unlicensed wireless broadband services for delivering outstanding user experience. Building on our heritage of NGH and carrier Wi-Fi, WBA will continue to drive and support the adoption of Next Gen Wi-Fi and other unlicensed wireless services across the entire public Wi-Fi ecosystem, including IoT, Big Data, Converged Services, Smart Cities, 5G, etc. Today, membership includes major fixed operators such as BT, Comcast and Time Warner Cable; seven of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) and leading technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Huawei Technologies, Google and Intel. WBA member operators collectively serve more than 2 billion subscribers and operate more than 25 million hotspots globally.

The WBA Board includes AT&T, Boingo Wireless, BT, China Telecom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, KT Corporation, Liberty Global, NTT DOCOMO, Orange and Ruckus Wireless.

Editorial Contacts:
Small Cell Forum: Kevin Taylor
E: Kevin(dot)taylor(at)robertsontaylorpr(dot)com.
M: +447 850 858 291