Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Lucia Schöpfer, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Peter Silva

Blog Feed Post

The Customer Is Not Right, When It Comes To Roaming Service (Disponible en Español)

Is Roaming a Service Stuck in The Past?

 

And I’m not referring only to the challenges that cellular roaming service faces regarding a fragmented, not-homogeneous deployment of frequency bands globally for LTE, which per se, is reason enough to make the GSMA and other organizations of the industry to take action and try to address the problem through a series of definitions of the service facing 4G. No, I also refer to the lack of evolution in terms of provisioning, control of consume, targeted offerings, customized packages and last but not least, ease of use. On the other side, WiFi is moving forward, but at what pace? In order to become a truly disruptive force for roaming service, more energetic action engaging the user and the service providers, I don’t see Passpoint certification scheme being widely deployed any time soon.

 

1-28-13.jpgImage: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2011/06/27/mobile-travel-an-industry-that-doesnt-yet-know-itself/mobile-barcode-globe-airline-ticket/

 

We’re Experience Some Technical Difficulties

 

From the WiFi point of view, the roaming concept has two connotations; WLAN roaming first is understood as an equivalent of the handover event for cellular network; and second in a more similar way to the cellular ecosystem, as a service that enable a subscriber to use WiFi access outside the geographical coverage of a ESS (Extended Service Set, whit APs using the same SSID) in another ESS conserving its identity, privileges and quality profiles. Both connotations have their problematic ways, in order for the WLAN handover to work you have to consider that 802.11 connection control relies entirely on the device client, and there isn’t such thing as an standard to build these algorithms that decide when to roam or not. Now, if we want to consider an inter ESS WiFi roaming service, lets first define two types of service providers; the distributed ESS Service Provider, which has several WiFi APs covering specific places distanced geographically under one brand (e.g. International airports), and uses a centralized AAA (Authorization, Accounting and Authentication) infrastructure through user/password portals. And the Telecom operator that has a WiFi deployed infrastructure, probably even some WLAN networks in several countries and consider these as a trusted accesses according to 3gpp definition (in untrusted access must be considered the use of another functional entity called TTG). Both providers face the problem of lack of transparency and ease of use, additionally the second faces a problem of compatibility between Diameter domains and poorly defined interfaces which will only add to the compatibility dilemma in the future, since equipment manufacturers offer solutions for the Telco now.

 

Cellular roaming has being a successful service for operators for long time, but LTE and the evolution of mobile technologies seems to be putting this service in a problematic position; as mentioned earlier the disparate bands of LTE deployment, along with the different modes technology implementation (TDD/FDD) jeopardize the establishment of roaming agreements between operators in different countries, but problems do not stop there, the future of roaming interconnection is supposed to be supported by a non-mature protocol; Diameter still in developing state, its adoption is not homogenous among operators either. Let’s not forget voice which is supposed to be in the hands of IMS… and well, you know what happens with IMS.

 

From Humble Origins to a Successful Life in the Industry… So Far

 

The first GSM call was performed in 1991 and a year later the first international roaming agreement was celebrated between operators of Finland and UK, in a gradual way the cellular industry started introduce more services to the roaming offering, like GPRS, Roaming prepaid services and several value aggregated services leaning in the manipulation of SS7 signaling; all this possible through international SS7 signaling hubs and GRX networks carrying traffic among roaming partners. The thing is, customer usage habits are different now, regulation is hurting the revenues of roaming through cap imposition, users still cautious of the roaming bill shocks, and operators do nothing to offer us customers ways to embrace the service in a more confident manner, or even better to use what we like to use more; data services, how about flexible daily packages to use instant messaging, or differentiated video or VoIP applications on your device, where are these offerings?

 

In WLAN the first notion of roaming (as a cellular handover) was introduced in the legacy 802.11 standard as a layer 2 process known as re-association service, from there it has evolved to more complex definitions where the client decides whether to move the active connection from one AP to another AP of the same ESS, or to break and made a new connection according to degrading signal conditions. As service to allow users to move between WiFi “domains”, it all started when the concept of EPC (Evolved Packet Core) included dedicated gateways for non 3GPP accesses (trusted and untrusted) to be integrated to the cellular core. The now extended use of EAP SIM standard and coming ANSDF efforts will move the technology towards a better usage experience transparency wise. All these are remarkable efforts that pave the way for the complete set of definitions that we all expect the Passpoint certification program to have, but only time will tell, and the current solutions will continue to form a blanket of patches.

 

Utopia for the Roaming Service:

 

The industry plans to throw some lifesavers for roaming service like:

 

  • Control and visibility in the hands of the user. This approach is becoming interesting when considers the possibility of integrating free downloadable apps that a roaming user can install in any smartphone to track the volume of data consumption the time of the calls and the control of the billing account.
  • New charging models: this can include a pocket of minutes depending of the country, an controlled amount of data for GPRS usage, or the more innovative a daily offering that can be paid as you need.
  • Other: like packaging roaming voice service with the national plan, or increasing the analytic capabilities of the network to identify roaming patterns of use to come up with new commercial ideas.

 

Yes, we need these solutions, but we need them now, implementation is a must! While the industry debates what measure to take, a couple of months ago I encounter a really interesting idea, hardly to become practical in the near future, but interesting nonetheless. The ITU proposes the Ubiquitous Consumer Wireless World UCWW. Ok the name doesn’t say much, but the idea is to build upon the NGN and LTE-SAE standardization efforts a new concept of service provider, and at the same time transforming the concept of the user, from Subscriber to Consumer.  In very simple terms the new model limits current network service providers to focus their operations at the access network (AN) and core network entities in charge of the user traffic transport, they are called AN-SP under this scenario, and they can combine or comprehend several types of access technologies as heterogeneous as it can get, and all the AAA functions are offered by a third party provider, so an ecosystem of several 3P-AAA-SP interconnected internationally that share consumer profiles is proposed. The charging model is considered to be based on volume of transactions, the user does not “belong” to an operator and the current SIM is replaced by a CIM (Consumer Identity Module) with a global unique identity probably from a new separate class of IPv6 addresses, the CIM must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate various authentication schemes for the myriad of access networks the user could roam.

 

Under this perspective, is clear that the roaming service needs an urgent redefinition from the business point of view and a considerable effort from the technical point of view to take it out of its stuck state, the UCWW presents itself as an interesting model of service with an intention to implement a global pilot system, can be this an opportunity to revamp the roaming service? Honestly I wouldn’t mind to change the chip in my phone when I travel if I have the security of a seamless experience and a service that I can control. How about you?

 

For more, follow me, @jomaguo

 

Read this blog post in Spanish

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Deborah Strickland

The articles presented here are blog posts from members of our Service Provider Mobility community. Deborah Strickland is a Web and Social Media Program Manager at Cisco. Follow us on Twitter @CiscoSPMobility.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.