HetNet News: Free Wi-Fi for NYC subway riders; Gogo moves toward international service


New York subway riders are getting free access to Boingo’s Wi-Fi network this month, courtesy of Visit Phoenix’s marketing campaign.

Passengers who want to connect a smartphone, tablet or laptop on the subway’s Wi-Fi system are told that free Wi-Fi comes courtesy of the tourism bureau, and view a 15-second video about Phoenix. The campaign runs through Dec. 31.

“This is a great opportunity to get our brand in front of millions of eyes and remind consumers in a chilly, populous market that Phoenix is a warm, welcoming place for a winter vacation,” said Melissa Gogel, vice president of marketing, tourism and communications for Visit Phoenix. “At the same time, in the spirit of the season, we’re giving busy New Yorkers the gift of free Wi-Fi.”

–In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo Inc. is a step closer to offering international service, with the news that it has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to install its Ku-satellite technology on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Gogo called the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) permission to modify the aircraft “a key milestone in launching its international connectivity service.”

Gogo’s service will give both travelers and crew access to the Internet, plus Gogo Vision in-flight entertainment. Gogo said it will begin testing the new service immediately and expects to offer the service to customers by the first quarter of 2014, and that it will continue installing equipment on 747-400 aircraft throughout 2014, along with other international aircraft.

Extreme Networks (which recently completed its acquisition of Enterasys Networks announced in September) supported an upgrade of Wittenburg University‘s campus network in Springfield, Ohio. The university wanted to increase capacity and manage a BYOD strategy for its 2,400 students, faculty and staff, along with a move to a managed video delivery system called Kaltura integrated with Moodle, their Learning Management System. Wittenberg is moving toward a “flipped classroom” environment where students, faculty and staff can create and store video content in an electronic classroom space and view it outside the classroom.

Extreme Network’s S-Series and C-Series switches were deployed for the university, along with 3700 series wireless access points (APs) for indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi and OneFabric Control Center for managements. The network’s core capacity was increased from 1G to 10G and wireless capacity from G to N, Extreme said.

ABI Research has several recent reports looking at aspects of HetNets. For one, it expects multi-mode femtocell shipments to increase 350% in the coming year, with 3G/LTE multi-mode the key player in the market even though standalone LTE femtocells will show a “more pronounced presence in the market.”

“3G and 4G will coexist for a long period of time just like the previous generation 2G and 3G technologies did. The introduction of 3G/4G multimode femtocells will allow smoother transition and faster adoption of 4G,” said Ahmed Ali, research analyst with ABI.

ABI predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 198% between 2013-2018 for multi-mode femtocells. And its analysts noted that even as the industry works on capabilities such as Self-Organizing Networks (SON) and interference management, femtocell management systems are “an important and essential piece for a successful deployment.”

“While today’s voice services continue to be provided by the 3G network and data by 4G, a converged management system is a must for every successful femtocell deployment. We believe this gives operators headroom to gracefully extend their network to 4G and plan future enhancements,” said Nick Marshall, ABI principal analyst.

ABI also looked at rear-seat entertainment system trends and concluded that although the majority will be BYOD-based, the number of embedded, OEM-supplied backseat entertainment displays shipped in cars will climb to 13.3 million units globally by 2020 as LTE coverage increases in North America, Europe and other parts of the world. OEM Wi-Fi hotspot solutions “will enable a host of new in-car applications such as video streaming, gaming and even video-conferencing, as well as enabling multiple devices to be connected simultaneously,” ABI said.

“Although we expect the majority of people to use their own smartphone or tablet devices in the back of the car rather than pay for an expensive embedded in-car solution, embedded solutions offer certain benefits such as better reception, particularly at high speeds, as they use the larger vehicle antenna” said Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research. “The displays are likely to be bigger as well. Flip-down 16.2-inch ultra-wide screens that can display wide-screen content natively or can be split to display two different sources side-by-side are already being introduced by some OEMs such as Honda in its Acura brand. Rear-seat passengers could connect their smartphones or tablets to enjoy, for example, a better gaming experience” said Owen.


About Author

Kelly Hill

Editor, Big Data, Analytics, Test & Measurement
Kelly Hill currently reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr