Alcatel-Lucent lightradio brings seamless mobility between WiFi and 3G/4G networks

February 15, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Alcatel-Lucent is making it simpler to access the Internet anywhere over secure Wi-Fi connections in homes or hotspot locations. The latest incarnation of lightRadio, known as lightRadio™ Wi-Fi® sorts through the confusion of hotspots and cellular networks to find and connect with the best available wireless broadband network, while helping communications service providers extend their reach by integrating Wi-Fi directly into their service offerings.

Today, switching from a cellular service to a Wi-Fi network is not always seamless, particularly when it requires first finding a network and then getting through complex log-in and password procedures. Consequently, lightRadio Wi-Fi simplifies this process by allowing people to switch automatically from a cellular service to residential or public Wi-Fi networks and hotspots without having to login, worry about payments schemes, or even be aware of the shift. 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.

Further, lightRadio Wi-Fi addresses another big concern — security. Many people prefer to connect to hotspots that they know they can trust, especially when accessing services and streamed content from the Cloud, or when they need uninterrupted connections for video streaming or video phone calls. To this end, lightRadio Wi-Fi always finds the most ‘trusted’ network.

LightRadio Wi-Fi represents a radical departure from the traditional way that mobile operators apply Wi-Fi: today it is often used to ‘offload’ traffic from congested cellular networks. By enabling cellular subscribers to stay within their network and service plan, it will allow service providers to maintain use of their services, creating revenue, independent of how the customer is connected.

The lightRadio Wi-Fi approach is also highly applicable for fixed-line and cable service providers, allowing them to extend wireless coverage to existing subscribers without investing in expensive spectrum or wireless infrastructure.

Ken Rehbehn, a principal analyst at Yankee Group comments: "Delivering secure, seamless access to Wi-Fi networks is a key requirement in the market right now. Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Wi-Fi provides operators with a comprehensive solution that smartly draws from the company's strengths in radio access technology and IP routing. The result is an offer that lets operators