Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Michel Courtoy, Shelly Palmer, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston

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
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...