OPLIN 4cast #423: Power to the (wireless) people

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

revolution fistSo you have public Wi-Fi in your library, and your users are thankful. But how about power for recharging their wireless devices? Do they have to carry a cord and sit by the wall so they can plug in? Restaurants and coffee shops, the other popular places for public Wi-Fi, are increasingly providing wireless recharging stations at their tables, so users can simply lay their smartphones on a charging pad and load up on power. But nothing new is ever simple, and there are competing technologies for wireless charging at the moment. Recent news may make the choice of charging equipment a little easier for everyone.

  • Alliance for Wireless Power merges with Power Matters Alliance to push wireless charging standard (FierceWireless | Mike Dano)  “The A4WP was founded in 2012 to push the Rezence-branded technology for magnetic resonance wireless charging, and it counts Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and others as members. The PMA was founded in 2012 to push its inductive charging technology, and its backers include AT&T, Duracell, Powermat Technologies and Starbucks, which has added PMA-capable chargers into some of its coffee stores. The groups said they would now jointly push wireless charging due to the merger, but that both technologies would continue to be available so that members could use whichever made the most sense.”
  • Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance agree to merge (Chip Design | press release)  “Consumers will gain access to an exciting and enhanced battery charging and power management experience sooner across the full spectrum of devices in daily use. Mobile network operators and commercial and retail brands can commit to the necessary investment confident of stable, long-term evolution and management of innovative wireless charging technologies.”
  • Two rival groups pushing wireless charging declare peace (Wall Street Journal Digits | Don Clark)  “The two groups had already made signals that they were moving closer together. Meanwhile, the third group—called the Wireless Power Consortium—claims 200 members including Philips and Microsoft. It supports a standard called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which it says combines elements of both inductive and resonance technology. Most Windows Phone handsets, and some Android smartphones are currently Qi compatible.”
  • Key wireless charging groups A4WP, PMA agree to merge (CNET | Roger Cheng)  “The two groups believe the merger will close by the middle of 2015, and plan to chose a new name for the combined group. The WPC, meanwhile, said the merger wouldn’t have an effect on its efforts to bring wireless charging capabilities to the consumer. ‘The two groups are filling gaps with technology the other didn’t have, and they have been behind in rolling out commercial products,’ said John Perzow, vice president of market development for the WPC.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #419: Electrosensitivity

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

caduceus symbolAfter last week’s 4cast about jamming mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, it was interesting to read some recent articles about Green Bank, West Virginia, where the federal government does not allow Wi-Fi — or cell phone towers, or radio, or electromagnetic transmissions of any kind — because the transmissions interfere with the operation of a number of radio telescopes located there. The side effect of this ban has been an influx of people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), and while the medical community disputes the existence of this “Wi-Fi allergy,” such people do have health problems that they sincerely believe are caused by modern technologies.

  • The town without Wi-Fi (Washingtonian | Michael J. Gaynor)  “A few years ago, one disturbed electrosensitive flew into a rage at the local library, decrying the ‘dumb hillbillies’ who surrounded her, as the story goes. She rampaged from the post office to the bank to the auto shop, belligerently screaming before police finally ticketed her and banned her from a couple of public places around town.”
  • “Electrosensitives” flock to Wi-Fi quiet zone as teens set up rogue hotspots (Ars Technica | Jon Brodkin)  “A number of studies have looked at the existence of electrosensitivty. A survey of their results found that people who claim to have this disorder can’t recognize the presence of electromagnetic fields, and studies that showed health effects were either flawed or could not be reproduced. The World Health Organization says that ‘well controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure.’”
  • Refugees of the modern world (Slate | Joseph Stromberg)  “As such, the best predictor for whether a hypersensitive person will experience symptoms isn’t the presence of radio frequency—it’s the belief that a device is turned on nearby. An elegant demonstration of this on a much larger scale took place in 2010, when residents of the town of Fourways, South Africa, successfully petitioned for a cell signal tower to be taken down because of the sickness caused by its radiation—even though it was later revealed that it hadn’t been switched on during the time of their complaints.”
  • Enter the Quiet Zone: Where cell service, Wi-Fi are banned (NPR All Tech Considered | Elise Hu)  “But keeping the noise down around here is getting harder these days. ‘If you think back to 1956 when this site was first built, there were issues with radio noise, but most of those issues came about through cars and spark plugs and power lines. And now we’re living in a society where everything is wireless,’ [telescope overseer Karen] O’Neil says.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #410: ConnectED Wi-Fi vendors

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

ConnectED logoWe’ve blogged about the Federal Communication Commission’s E-Rate reforms in an earlier 4cast, so you may remember that one of the big changes is a push to use more E-Rate money to support the management and operation of Wi-Fi in schools and libraries, including installation, activation, and initial configuration of eligible components. The FCC’s “push” will come in the form of $2 billion of new E-Rate funding over the next two years for Wi-Fi upgrades, which of course has the attention of Wi-Fi vendors. Now we’re starting to see some vendors take an advantage in the rush for the new money, through their involvement with the President’s ConnectED initiative, which prepared the ground in many ways for the FCC’s E-Rate reforms.

  • Apple’s ConnectED program participation brings Macs, iPads and more to underserved schools (TechCrunch | Darrell Etherington)  “Apple’s program will put an iPad in the hand of each student at these [114] schools, give both an iPad and a Mac to every teacher and admin staff, and put an Apple TV in each classroom. It’s truly a full-coverage approach, and it should mean that these schools, at least from a technological perspective, get to stand on more equal footing with some of their better-funded peers.”
  • Apple details how its $100 million pledge to Obama’s ConnectED will help schools (The Verge | Chris Welch)  “Apple wants to see things through with its pledge to ConnectED, and that extends beyond simply passing its products around. The company says each school will be assigned a dedicated Apple Education Team that will help educators integrate the technology in lessons and ensure they can make the most of what they’ve been given.”
  • Apple picks Aerohive for ConnectED program (Network Computing | Lee Badman)  “Aerohive Networks announced today that it’s been selected as the sole WiFi infrastructure provider for ConnectED as part its relationship with Apple, which is expected to be a major provider of devices to the program. Apple plans to provide $100 million in resources to the initiative, including client devices (iPads and AppleTVs) and the Aerohive network switches and APs that will form the new infrastructure for ConnectED schools.”
  • Aerohive Networks teams with Apple to drive Obama’s ConnectED program (CRN | Kristin Bent)  “[Bill] Hoppin [vice president of business development at Aerohive] said all of Aerohive’s ConnectED implementations will be done by its partner and managed service provider, Education Networks of America (ENA). He said in addition to helping deploy Aerohive’s technology, ENA will provide schools with ENA Air, a turnkey managed services offering for wireless infrastructures.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #407: Jamming hotspots

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Wi-Fi hotspotA couple of weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission fined the Marriott hotel chain $600,000, charging that they “…intentionally interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi networks established by consumers in the conference facilities of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act.” In plainer English, Marriott was sending signals that disabled the cellular mobile hotspots that people at the conference facility were trying to set up for use by their group, thus getting around paying steep fees charged by Marriott for using their in-house Wi-Fi. (If you’re curious about how steep these fees can be, OPLIN just paid the Greater Columbus Convention Center $10,000 for Wi-Fi access for OLC Convention attendees last week.) While most media reported this story as an example of a hotel getting caught being greedy, the FCC’s action raised ticklish questions for some technicians responsible for maintaining Wi-Fi networks.

  • Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for blocking guests’ Wi-Fi (CNN | Katia Hetter)  “Marriott issued the following statement Friday afternoon defending its actions: ‘Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hot spots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft,’ the statement said. ‘Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers.’”
  • Understanding FCC decision regarding Wi-Fi containment at Marriott (Mojo Wireless | Hemant Chaskar)  “In this case, it seems FCC reached the conclusion that rogue containment was used in a manner to disrupt rightful communications of users even though they did not pose security threat to the Marriott network. I think everyone would agree with the FCC position here. Some may bring up the hotel Wi-Fi performance degradation issue due to personal hot spots, but Wi-Fi operates in the public spectrum and does not guarantee performance in the first place.”
  • Prudence in the wake of the FCC’s ruling on Marriott jamming WiFi (IT Connection | Mike Fratto)  “On the other hand, Marriott – and any organization running a WiFi network – has good reason to monitor its airspace in order to provide good service. If you look at the airspace at any public venue, it is a mess of access points overlapping channels and degrading WiFi access for everyone, and there is no way for a venue owner to provide good service in that environment. However, protecting unwitting guests from ‘insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft’ is a specious argument and not one you should make unless you have tangible proof.”
  • FCC-Marriott WiFi blocking fine opens Pandora’s box (Network Computing | Lee Badman)  “Many of us have bought into the fact that WLAN can be as good and secure as Ethernet, and the WLAN industry says we shouldn’t hesitate to include WiFi in our critical infrastructures. But we need the FCC to provide some clarity. Even if it’s not OK to ‘jam’ in whatever form that may take, it ought to be OK to have ‘Thou shalt not use’ policies for our own spaces. The FCC didn’t say that’s acceptable, but it really needs to at this point.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #394: Open Wireless

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Open Wireless MovementThis weekend at the “Hackers on Planet Earth” conference, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) plans to demonstrate new open source firmware for wireless routers. While open source wireless firmware is nothing new, in this case, the firmware is designed specifically to support the Open Wireless Movement. This movement is promoting the widespread sharing of unencrypted wireless networks with no password protection, so anyone can easily access and use them. Libraries are big on sharing, of course, and also big providers of public wireless, but will they embrace Open Wireless?

  • What is the Open Wireless Movement? (openwireless.org)  “We are aiming to build technologies that would make it easy for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access. We’re also teaching the world about the many benefits of open wireless in order to help society move away from closed networks and to a world in which openness is the default. Our efforts follow the opinion of nationally recognized computer security expert Bruce Schneier, who considers maintaining an open wireless node a matter of ‘basic politeness’.”
  • New open-source router firmware opens your Wi-Fi network to strangers (Ars Technica | Joe Silver)  “[OpenWireless.org’s] mission statement reads. ‘And we are working to debunk myths (and confront truths) about open wireless while creating technologies and legal precedent to ensure it is safe, private, and legal to open your network.’ One such technology, which EFF plans to unveil at the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference next month, is open-sourced router firmware called Open Wireless Router.”
  • This tool boosts your privacy by opening your Wi-Fi to strangers (Wired | Andy Greenberg)  “One goal of OpenWireless.org, says EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo, is dispelling the legal notion that anything that happens on a network must have been done by the network’s owner. ‘Your IP address is not your identity, and your identity is not your IP address,’ Cardozo says. ‘Open wireless makes mass surveillance and correlation of person with IP more difficult, and that’s good for everyone.’”
  • EFF wants you to open your Wi-Fi to IMPROVE privacy (The Register | Darren Pauli)  “The EFF sees the proliferation of segmented open wireless networks as a key tactic that will foil intelligence agencies’ ability to track individuals. By opening home and business wireless to all, it became more difficult to tie people to their online activity.[…] Provided the software is sufficiently secure, the obvious outstanding threat would be to the open wireless users who could find themselves blamed for online crimes committed by anonymous users of their network.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #393: E-rate reform

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

FCC logoOur apologies if you have already heard about this, but this news is important enough to bear repeating. This Friday (July 11), the Federal Communications Commission will meet and probably come to a decision about making some sweeping changes to the E-rate program. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would like to shift E-rate discounts away from supporting outdated technologies – such as pagers and (eventually) plain old telephone service – to more current technology needs, particularly internal Wi-Fi. Does he have support from the Commissioners to get approval for his proposals? We’ll find out on Friday.

  • Modernizing E-rate: Providing 21st century Wi-Fi networks for schools and libraries across America (Federal Communications Commission)  “Modernizing our rules to facilitate investment in Wi-Fi would result in a 75 percent increase in Wi-Fi funding for rural areas, which have been disproportionately shut out by the current system. Under existing rules rural schools on average receive 25 percent less Wi-Fi funding for every student, and 50 percent less funding for every school, compared to their non-rural peers, because the current rules often put them at the back of the line.”
  • Washington’s Wi-Fi Friday: FCC, Senate push for more Wi-Fi in schools, more unlicensed airwaves (GigaOM | Kevin Fitchard)  “Wheeler is calling for new rules to the government’s E-Rate program, which was established 18 years ago to bring internet connectivity to schools and libraries. The program largely accomplished its mission, delivering broadband access to 94 percent of U.S. classrooms and 98 percent of public libraries, according to the FCC. But when the rules were originally written, they didn’t anticipate the wireless connections most devices would need to make that final hop to the internet.”
  • ALA encouraged by FCC Chairman’s commitment to a multi-stage E-rate reform (District Dispatch | Marijke Visser)  “Mobile internet use in libraries is exploding, and this first step by the Chairman to address this need is important for the vast number of schools and libraries that have not received E-rate support for internal (e.g., Wi-Fi) connections for many years. But this is not enough to meet our national needs. The lack of access to affordable, high-capacity broadband to the building remains a major challenge for so many libraries and schools. Such access must be fully funded for eligible applicants, regardless of any new funding models for Wi-Fi services.”
  • E-rate reform: A sustainable path forward for school and library connectivity (The Hill | Danielle Kehl and Sarah Morris)  “Simply put, ubiquitous Wi-Fi cannot achieve its promise without a robust wired backbone that is scalable to meet future needs. That’s why a number of stakeholders have recommended that the FCC create a dedicated ‘upgrade fund’ to help schools and libraries cover high upfront costs associated with capital investments to bring fiber to the premises.”

E-rate workshops:
As many of you know, OPLIN and the State Library have sponsored E-rate workshops for public libraries, one in the late fall and one in the winter, for a number of years now. This year, because of the anticipated changes, we are planning to do many more workshops in locations around the state and are also looking into improving online delivery of the workshops. Watch for details early this fall.

OPLIN 4cast #387: Social WiFi

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

social wifiEver heard of social WiFi? Well, we know that using any password to authenticate users of a WiFi network, even a simple one posted on signs around the library, is good practice because it automatically encrypts the WiFi traffic instead of sending it through the air in clear text. So what if you asked your library WiFi users to login with their social media credentials instead of yet-another-password. And then a library computer could look through their Facebook postings (for example) to look for the kinds of books they like to read and send them “ads” for similar books in your library. That kind of thing is called “social WiFi,” and it’s a significant trend in businesses that provide public WiFi.

  • Purple WiFi and Wavelink join forces to offer social WiFi (Connect World/Purple WiFi press release)  “The guests log into the secure hotspot system using social media authentication, via networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The venue providing the connection gains valuable demographic and engagement information from users through its Purple Portal, which allows the business to understand who is visiting and using their hotspot, how long they are online, as well as their age, gender and any other relevant information that they offer in their social networking profile. The portal also provides a powerful engagement tool to promote relevant offers, essentially rewarding guests for visiting the venue.”
  • Social WiFi sign-in: Benefits with a dark side (Network COmputing/Lee Badman)  “As strange as it seems, despite the wide-open nature of our social media personas, we still expect a modicum of control over how our information gets used. Social WiFi undercuts that odd, fragile handle we have on our social media data to monetize and upsell us in ways that don’t make me really comfortable. Once the data is mined and conclusions are drawn from it, we become new people in the eyes of the social WiFi provider, with no control over how the process presents us.”
  • Too much information? Facebook, Google face backlash over logins (Wall Street Journal/Elizabeth Dwoskin)  “Facebook recently said it would begin to offer anonymous logins and also allow users to choose which data they want to share, a response to privacy concerns. The head of Google+ recently stepped down amid signs the social network isn’t popular with users. ‘We’ve gotten feedback,’ said Eddie O’Neil, product manager for Facebook Login. ‘We first heard from people that they want more transparency, second, more control.’”
  • Social Wi-Fi and privacy: Keeping balance in the force (AirTight Networks blog/Sean Blanton)  “Remember that while mobility is fairly ubiquitous in our society, it very much skews to millennials who (like myself) are getting older and expanding our interactions beyond school and home. I’d argue that free Wi-Fi and a dessert coupon in exchange for my name, age and city is a pretty sweet deal, and I’d be excited to see what other places I frequent would provide me with a tailored experiences instead of generic, seemingly unhelpful ones.”

Login fact:
According to recent data collected by LoginRadius, people use a Facebook account most often for social logins (49%), followed by Google+ (29%), and Twitter (6%).

OPLIN 4cast #379: More Wi-Fi

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Wi-Fi library symbolOn Monday, the FCC announced that they would expand the amount of broadcast spectrum available for use by Wi-Fi devices in order to reduce Wi-Fi congestion at hot spots like “…convention centers, parks, and airports…” [and libraries, too]. This is an important change, since cellular wireless companies are increasingly offloading part of their traditional cellular traffic onto Wi-Fi hotspots. The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast anticipates that over half of global mobile traffic will be offloaded onto Wi-Fi by 2018. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your wireless routers.

  • FCC Frees Up Spectrum to Boost Wi-Fi Speeds (PCMAG/Chloe Albanesius)  “Specifically, the commission voted to free up 100 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band. Gadgets currently operate in 555 MHz of the 5 GHz band, so the move provides a bit more breathing room and should ease congestion. Devices that operate in the 5 GHz band include Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless home local area networks. The agency also removed an indoor-only restriction, which will support deployment of outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots.”
  • Open up your routers: FCC boosts spectrum available to Wi-Fi by 15 percent (GigaOM/Kevin Fitchard)  “The airwaves in the 5 GHz band have always been unlicensed, but they’ve had much more stringent rules attached to them to prevent devices from interfering with other users, specifically government telemetry networks and Globalstar’s satellite ground links. In 2013, though, the Defense Department said it no longer needed the band. Earlier this year Globalstar reached an agreement with the FCC that would open the band up to both satellite and Wi-Fi use, clearing the way for today’s decision.”
  • More Wi-Fi is better: FCC expands use of 5GHz spectrum (Ars Technica/Cyrus Farivar)  “With this change, the agency says that Wi-Fi routers will be able to handle more traffic at higher speeds. At present, Wi-Fi only occupies part of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. […] The Wi-Fi Alliance did not immediately respond to Ars’ query about when consumers could expect new products that would take advantage of this increased capability.”
  • Unlicensed, Wi-Fi services set for 100 megahertz boost (RCRWireless/Dan Meyer)  “Unlicensed spectrum uses are currently tied to 555 megahertz in the 5 GHz band, though there are limitations for indoor use only. The Wi-Fi usage in that band is typically signified by the 802.11a standard. The FCC said the modified rules will remove the indoor-only restriction and provide more access in the 5.15-5.25 GHz band and allow the Wi-Fi industry greater leeway in implementing the 802.11ac standard, which accesses both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.”

802.11ac fact:
If you have no idea what “802.11ac” means, Pocketnow’s Joe Levi has posted a nice discussion of the various wireless networking standards.

OPLIN 4cast #349: Telltale MACs

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

radarModern smartphones contain quite a few sensors that apps can use to gather data about you. The tri-axial accelerometer, for example, can be used by exercise apps to determine how fast you are moving while your phone is in your pocket or purse, and when coupled with data gathered by the phone’s magnetometer and gyroscope, the apps can also know in what direction you are moving and even gather clues about how much you weigh. Of course, if you don’t use the apps, then you don’t share this data about yourself. But there’s one piece of information a smartphone broadcasts every time it is using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that you can’t turn off: its MAC (media access control) address, which is a hardware identification number required by most network technologies. A marketing company in London recently demonstrated a clever way of harvesting useful information from MAC addresses – until public outcry forced city officials to make them turn it off.

  • This recycling bin is following you (Quartz/Siraj Datoo)  “The bins record a unique identification number, known as a MAC address, for any nearby phones and other devices that have Wi-Fi turned on. That allows Renew to identify if the person walking by is the same one from yesterday, even her specific route down the street and how fast she is walking.”
  • No, this isn’t a scene from Minority Report. This trash can is stalking you (Ars Technica/Dan Goodin)  “The marketing materials don’t say this, but it might also be possible to attach specific attributes to the MAC addresses that are collected. A phone that goes into the women’s room probably belongs to a female, for instance, while a MAC address entering the Big and Tall clothing retailer probably belongs to a person of large carriage.”
  • Smartphone tracking: When good intentions go wrong (ScreenMedia Daily/SMD Editor)  “Renew didn’t do itself any favors when they said in their press release that the ‘consolidated data of our beta testing highlights the significance of the Renew ORB technology as a powerful tool for corporate clients and retailers. It provides an unparalleled insight into the past behavior of each unique device including entry/exit points, dwell times, places of work, places of interest, and affinity to other devices – and should provide compelling reach database for predictive analytics, such as likely places to eat, drink, personal habits etc.’”
  • City of London calls halt to smartphone tracking bins (BBC News/Joe Miller)  “While the collection of anonymous data through MAC addresses is legal in the UK, the practice has been described as a ‘grey area’. The UK and the EU have strict laws about mining personal data using cookies, which involves effectively installing a small monitoring device on people’s phones or computers, but the process of tracking MAC codes leaves no trace on individuals’ handsets.”

MAC fact: The first portion of the MAC address, which is stored in a smartphone’s hardware when it is made, identifies the manufacturer, so the recycling bins in London also knew the brands of the phones people were carrying.

OPLIN 4cast #338: Real-time traffic steering

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

ship wheelAfter reading the title of this post, you might jump to the conclusion that someone has finally created technology to effectively control rush-hour traffic. Sorry, but (so far as we know) that hasn’t happened yet. No, this post is about continuously steering wireless Internet traffic back and forth between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. If things work out as expected, someday we may no longer make any distinction between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, but instead talk about “heterogeneous networks” (HetNets). Nobody seems to know what this will mean for current Wi-Fi hotspots.

  • Real-time traffic steering that moves cellular to Wi-Fi networks in the works for mobile users (TechHive/Stephen Lawson) “Software now in the works will use real-time knowledge about network conditions to make lightning-fast decisions about the best system for each user to be on at a given moment. The idea is that just because there’s a Wi-Fi network nearby, doesn’t necessarily mean your smartphone should start using it. If every subscriber near that hotspot got switched over to it, the Wi-Fi experience could suffer.”
  • Interview: Ericsson CEO on the rise of the HetNet (GigaOM/Kevin Fitchard) “HetNets have three major components. The first is an umbrella — or macro — network designed to provide ubiquitous mobile broadband coverage. The second is a dense network of small cells that supply enormous quantities of bandwidth in the high-traffic areas its most needed. The final component is a network intelligence that ties those networks together.”
  • Ericsson, NSN focus spotlight on Wi-Fi traffic steering (FierceWireless/Tammy Parker) “The company said its real-time traffic steering feature is a software upgrade that constantly assesses key performance indicators in both the mobile 3GPP network and the Wi-Fi network before shifting a user’s smartphone connection between networks.”
  • Nokia Siemens, Ericsson look to ease WiFi offloading of mobile traffic (eWeek/Jeffrey Burt) “The goal is to create better heterogeneous wireless networks that give users a consistent experience as they seamlessly shift from 3G and 4G networks to WiFi. Mobile devices often will shift from broadband to WiFi when an authorized hotspot is available, which helps lessen the amount of traffic on already congested broadband networks and lowers the costs for mobile device users.”

Cost fact:
Cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) already operate their own Wi-Fi hotspots in congested areas and simply “offload” some cellular traffic to Wi-Fi, because the cost of operating Wi-Fi hotspots can be less than half the cost of cellular access points.