Alcatel-Lucent Looks to Combine WiFi, LTE
The company's Wireless Unified Networks initiative will improve mobile network performance by blending WiFi and cellular networks.Alcatel-Lucent wants to make it easier for network operators to leverage both cellular and WiFi technologies to increase bandwidth and improve the user experience. At Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) this week, Alcatel-Lucent officials unveiled the company's Wireless Unified Networks initiative that essentially brings together stand-alone WiFi and cellular networks into a unified single network, a move that will enable service providers and network professionals to better address the growing demand for a better and more consistent mobile experience for everything from voice to video, according to company officials. It's the latest example of the industry looking for ways to leverage both cellular and WiFi networks as more mobile devices become connected, and the mobile traffic becomes more bandwidth hungry. Cellular operators have increasingly been looking to WiFi networks for offloading some of the traffic, and users have had the ability to manually switch between cellular and WiFi. Now, service providers are looking at other options, like LTE-U, enabling LTE networks to run on the unlicensed spectrum normally used by WiFi networks. Alcatel-Lucent is a proponent of LTE-U, but officials also see the new Wireless Unified Networks strategy as another path to bringing cellular and WiFi more closely together.
"As an industry, we have historically treated cellular and WiFi as unique technologies," Mike Schabel, vice president of small cells for Alcatel-Lucent, said in a statement. "For example, the industry debates the merits of Voice/Data over WiFi versus Voice/Data over LTE. From a consumer perspective, it should simply be just wireless."