July 02, 2013Prakash Sangam
Have you ever been frustrated when you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot and its speed is slower than what you had with 3G/4G? Or even worse, once connected to this slow Wi-Fi, your smartphone doesn’t even try to fetch data from 3G/4G? Or how about when you see a strong Wi-Fi signal only to realize that there is no Internet connectivity or there is a firewall? In such cases, have you ever wondered why this switchover between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi isn’t more dynamic and intelligent? After all, these are smartphones! Well, the wait is over, and such “smarts” are soon coming to your phones and tablets. It’s called CnE—a connectivity engine that is part of Qualcomm’s chipset solutions.
As I explained in my previous blog, the interworking between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi is multidimensional, with many different deployment models and multiple levels of interworking. No matter what the model or level of interworking is, the device is in a unique position to make interworking intelligent, robust and seamless. PasspointTM (Hotspot 2.0) and ANDSF (Access Network Discovery and Selection Function) developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and 3GPP respectively, lay out the standards mechanism for the interworking. CnE not only complies with these standards, but goes beyond that by packing in many innovative algorithms.
CnE autonomously estimates the performance of each of the available links on a real-time basis, without any user intervention, and selects the best possible link for the type of application the user is trying to use. The performance estimation looks at a multitude of parameters from an end-to-end perspective, covering not only the last-mile air link to the users, but also all the way back to the Internet. Some of the parameters considered for the decision include signal quality, available bandwidth, speed of the Internet connectivity, latency, as well as the operator policies regarding which apps/services are allowed to be moved to Wi-Fi and which are restricted to 3G/4G. So, the device continuously determines the most appropriate link and switches between 3G/4G and Wi-Fi, as well as among many Wi-Fi options out there. Mind you, all of this happens without any user intervention, so that users don’t get stuck with bad connections and jump through hoops to get out.
With all the benefits of CnE, I am sure you want to know when it is commercially available and when you can get your hands on it. Well, I can’t tell you that, but be assured that we are working hard to get it to you on a SnapgradonTM-powered smartphone! So stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you would like to know more about Wi-Fi as well as its interworking with 3G/4G, visit www.qualcomm.com/wi-fi.
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July 02, 20130