The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced in March its plans to launch a pilot project around the nationwide Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) sometime early next year. HetNet, which should enable seamless switching between different networks for uninterrupted Internet access once its operational, looks set to be one of the central infrastructures that Singapore intends to realise under its 10-year integrated Infocomm Media Masterplan. While the Masterplan has yet to be finalised and released in entirety (its scheduled launch is sometime next year), excitement over the possibilities that HetNet throws up has been building up since it was first mentioned in March.
Vasudevan Venkatakrishnan, Director of Asia Pacific at next-generation wireless communications technology provider Ruckus Wireless, gives us his reading of how developments on the HetNet front will work out in Singapore and the rest of Asia, and how his company intends to respond.
Talk about factors in the Singapore context that will contribute to making a HetNet possible and successful by your definition here.
Vasudevan Venkatakrishnan: The following are some of the key factors that will contribute to making HetNet possible and successful in Singapore.
- The building of Wi-Fi radio access networks (RAN) capable of supporting next-generation technologies like Hotspot 2.0 and the integration of Wi-Fi traffic into the mobile packet core. Subscribers should be able to log onto the HetNet without having to manually log onto any part of the HetNet themselves to ensure a seamless experience.
- The willingness of service providers and hotspot operators to open their Wi-Fi networks for sharing or roaming.
- The availability of HetNet at both indoor and outdoor sites. Most high user-density locations are indoors, like stadiums, airports, malls, train stations and the like, while primary outdoor locations like downtown city centers and shopping belts like Orchard Road, and tourist centres like Clarke Quay have very high density outdoors.
Do you see any inhibitors to its development and user take up?
One inhibitor would be the Wi-Fi RAN being tied to a particular service provider and the inability of subscribers to freely roam onto other carriers' HetNet. The HetNet should be able to connect high user-density and manage interference autonomously.
Tell us more about the impact of a HetNet in Singapore on businesses and users.
The adoption of Wi-Fi by individuals and businesses will be greater, and public Wi-Fi hotspots and operators' Wi-Fi RAN will become more able to connect many more subscribers at a higher speed. IDA has clearly identified in their 10-year Infocomm Media Masterplan the aim of achieving the better management of traffic in wireless networks.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.