Can Nokia take market share away from entrenched carrier Wi-Fi vendors such as Cisco and Ruckus?
That’s the big question after Nokia released it’s first ever full line of carrier Wi-Fi solutions at this years’ Mobile World Congress. This is not the first time Nokia’s infrastructure division is trying it’s hand at carrier Wi-Fi. The company has for a couple of years partnered with Ruckus. But this time, it’s different.
The new Nokia Wi-Fi solution was launched as part of Nokia’s new ‘AirScale’ portfolio and includes APs, a controller (that Nokia calls ‘cloud-based’) and LTE/Wi-Fi Aggregation (LWA) functions. According to Head of Nokia Mobile Broadband Marketing Kai Sahala Nokia’s new Wi-Fi pitch is mostly targeted towards existing carrier clients. Detailed information on Nokia Wi-Fi is still fairly scarce, but you can read more about it on Nokia’s website here.
The good news – from a Wi-Fi industry perspective – is that Nokia seems to be getting serious about Wi-Fi. The acquisition of Alcatel Lucent has given the company a strong position in Wi-Fi (and fixed) core networks, and with AirScale Wi-Fi the end-to-end Wi-Fi proposition is now complete, at least in theory. Another big plus in our view is that Nokia is now also pushing LWA, which is much more Wi-Fi-friendly than LTE-U and LAA.
How well Nokia will do against Wi-Fi competitors with a 10-year head start is still an open question. Wi-Fi is in many ways less complex than licensed wireless but the new AirScale Wi-Fi products will still need to prove performance & operability in practice.