Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Basso, Kevin Benedict, 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
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...