Wi-Fi First: Devices & apps are getting smarter fast


Wi-Fi is already taking a lot of traffic away from cellular these days – and by the looks of it, it’s only going to accelerate from here. Here are a bunch of features I’ve picked up on in recent weeks:

If you’re going to get mobile & Wi-Fi to work together – seamlessly and transparently – the trick of course is to have applications NOT cut off when one network takes over from the other. There have been many attempts at fixing this issue. Now it seems the device folks are finally fixing it.

If you watched my Wi-Fi NOW tv show last week (this is the link) you’d know, that Pravala already has a solution that does all of this even with ’emulated IP address preservation’ (you’d need to ask my good friend David Heit exactly what that means but knowing David, I’m sure it works as intended).

This week, Google released Hangouts 4.0, which will hand off the video call to LTE without dropping it! A small thing to some – but it means that devices and apps are being readied for ‘Wi-Fi First’ – meaning Wi-Fi likely 90% of the time and LTE when you’re out of range but with no service interruption.

Apple has also started to take Wi-Fi quality more seriously. A common problem is that devices stick to Wi-Fi signals long after those signals no longer get you the quality you want. So they’ve introduced (for now in beta) ‘Wi-Fi Assist’ which will transfer your session to LTE ‘when the Wi-Fi sucks’.

On a related note, Google also recently introduced an offline version of Google Maps – add that to offline versions of Youtube in certain countries. Another small thing in theory – but a big practical issue for a lot of people who use Google maps a lot – and another nail in the coffin for mobile carriers who will get less traffic from Google Maps & video users in this way.

Meanwhile, Bandwidth – the parent company of Wi-Fi First service provider Republic Wireless – is testing two-way mobile to Wi-Fi voice call handoff using their own technology. Here’s more about their Project Salsa.

iPass said earlier this week that their Wi-Fi network will now reach into the 50 million global hotspots following their partnership tie-up with Devicescape. At the same time, iPass is also working on their own technology to fix the seamless access issue – and it’s not based on Hotspot 2.0 (Passpoint).

The argument from big mobile vendors that ‘you need LTE for mobility’ is starting to wear thin. I really does look like the mobility (handoff) problem is being fixed from the device & app side, regardless of whether the LTE community wants it or not. Well done to Google, who has probably learned a lot from Project Fi already 🙂

For more on all things public Wi-Fi including intelligent device clients & much more: Join us at Wi-Fi NOW Amsterdam this fall. Go to this link to register!


  1. […] Also read my blog on how Wi-Fi is taking more & more traffic away from mobile here. […]

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