Adding capacity to meet mobile data demand is a challenge. In dense urban environments where real estate for macro towers is hard to secure and where rooftop antennas struggle to reach streets, additional technologies to cellular are needed. In Manhattan, kerbside kiosks have proved the perfect siting for a new Wi-Fi service providing Passpoint data offload.
During 2019, AT&T wanted to add capacity in New York and had previously used Passpoint for seamless and secure Wi-Fi offload in the U.S. By working with GlobalReach Technology, CityBridge, supported by Intersection, a roaming and offload solution allowed it to add capacity at over 1,700 outdoor advertising LinkNYC kiosks.
The Passpoint service has allowed AT&T to add capacity and reach because it offers a seamless and secure Wi-Fi experience – much like cellular roaming.
GlobalReach has provided a free Passpoint public Wi-Fi service for CityBridge, including RADIUS / AAA, custom captive portal, and a Passpoint OSU (online signup service) to connect users, manage and analyse the service since 2016,
Addressing Inner City Mobile Capacity
The same OSU and cloud-based authentication platform now also authenticates up to four million AT&T customer sessions per day onto the network, through a SIM profile without registration.
A secure connection between the AT&T AAA, the GlobalReach Passpoint service, and LinkNYC supports authentications and RADIUS traffic. Customer smartphones automatically connect using the Passpoint profile in their carrier settings when the network broadcasts AT&T’s network codes.
Seamless attachment and Wi-Fi data speeds on par with or better than cellular, mean that the user experience is enhanced as users move between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
Traffic volumes and network speeds were validated in a pre-launch production environment. Data from each section proved that the one Gig backhaul to each kiosk met demand and maintained speeds that were LTE-like or better.
AT&T also found that cellular congestion decreased, and speed increased on the surrounding macrocell network.
By making underused fibre backhaul capacity available to AT&T in an area where it is challenging to add coverage or capacity, CityBridge has been able to add a new income stream in addition to its display advertising model – and AT&T has been able to deliver a better customer service.
Winner of the Best Network Operator category at the 2020 Wireless Broadband Alliance Awards, the roaming and offload solution is proof that, when engineered correctly, enterprise Wi-Fi with high-speed backhaul using Passpoint 802.11u discovery features, is now truly carrier-grade.
- 400 TBs of mobile data offloaded to Wi-Fi during 100m sessions pcm.
- Daily peak of 16 TBs in four million sessions.
- Up to 1.28 TBs offloaded in 350k sessions during peak commuter rush hour.