Alcatel-Lucent Announces lightRadio WiFi, Smooths Handoffs Between Cell and WiFi Networks

It’s no secret that cell carriers are constantly fighting to keep up with the increasing data demands on their networks, and with projections indicating that mobile data usage will continue to skyrocket over the next few years, providers need to offload any workloads they can.

Bumping network activity from cellular networks to available WiFi is a primary way to do that, but Alcatel-Lucent is taking it a step further with its lightRadio WiFi architecture. lightRadio smooths the handoff between a 3G or 4G network and WiFi and allows carriers to incorporate WiFi as part of their service offerings. The transition is automatic and requires no action by the user.

The company describes the methods of handing off thusly:
This is done in three ways: by using software that identifies and connects people to a ‘trusted’ network automatically; by introducing new capabilities into service provider networks to manage the transition between Wi-Fi and cellular networks; and by integrating Wi-Fi directly into small-cell base stations and cellular networks.
By keeping users in a carrier’s network, lightRadio also then jumps over another WiFi hurdle, which is that prickly issue of hotspot security. If the hotspot is part of a carrier’s network, there’s far more control over security protocol and QoS to be had.

The lightRadio solution is comprised of the 7750 Service Router; the Automatic Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDF) software, which has been added to the company’s policy manager; integrated WiFi on Alcatel-Lucent’s Femtocell and Metrocell systems; and services to aid in creating and deploying the solution.