Why should we use Wi-Fi for offloading?
The answer is simple: there are large amount of Wi-Fi access equipment already in place, far exceeding the amount of carrier’s Wi-Fi. The vast majority of these Wi-Fi access points are "home & office & hospitality" type – meaning, they are neither deployed, nor managed by commercial organizations such as carriers or aggregators, and this is the "Long Tail Wi-Fi".
Subscribers are familiar with Wi-Fi, they use it in the home if they have fixed broadband access, at friends home and at free community hotspots in a wide variety of locations such as bars, coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, town squares, gas stations, supermarkets and a host of other location types. Such a wide variety and density of free Wi-Fi locations is commonplace in North America and Western Europe (the U.K. in particular), but is now spreading to many other regions and countries; China and Japan are good examples.
Offloading can be realized only if there is enough high quality Wi-Fi access. As Wi-Fi coverage is confined by law to a very small footprint, meaningful WiFi utilization requires aggregating very large amount of WiFi access points of various types. Although "long-tail" Wi-Fi resides in less "strategic" locations, its’ sheer volume makes it hard to manage as a collection of data offloading resources. Clearly the traditional network management tools are insufficient for this task; a new, "out of the box" solution is needed. The WeANDSF solution is focused on discovery and qualification of Wi-Fi resources, managing heterogeneous Wi-Fi networks to be utilized for traffic offloading.
WeANDSF solution successfully harnesses these "Long Tail" Wi-Fi resources, effectively creating one large virtual, high performance network which can be used for data offloading.