With Taiwan set to adopt LTE at some point in the future, more and more people are beginning to question the utility of Wi-Fi technology and wonder whether it will eventually be replaced. Ruckus, a company specializing in providing wireless services and solutions, is not so pessimistic: In a recent interview with TechNews, Steven Huang, leader of Ruckus’ Taiwan division, indicated that LTE technology will not only not destroy Wi-Fi, it will also increase its demand considerably.
Looking at the rapid rate at which LTE is expanding, Huang believes it is normal to be concerned about its popularization, but does not feel that it will lead to the demise of pre-existing technologies. Wi-Fi technology, in particular, is believed to be safe as they are flourishing at a quicker rate than any other internet-related services, and can provide far better speed and stability compared to LTE; The 11ac (also known as 5G Wi-Fi) standard alone can provide a data transfer speed of at least 1 G, and at most 5-7 G (under ideal conditions).
When discussing the utility of wireless services, Huang made sure to raise another noteworthy issue: “The US telecom provider, Verizon, announced it would support LTE in 2011, but in two years, it faced the same problem that 3G faced– massive traffic congestion. Regardless of what carrier is involved or how popular they are, the issue with network congestion will always be there,” Huang noted.
There is a lot of truth to this statement. Even for LTE services with large bandwidth limits, network congestion can potentially ruin a mobile user’s experience, particularly as more and more people begin downloading movies and other large sized files. In Taiwan, where 3G remains the mainstream standard, mobile data transfer delays tend to occur the most frequently in crowded public spaces. Even with local telecom providers in Taiwan attempting to set up pubic Wi-Fi areas as a means to combat the congestion issue, only a few of the country’s mobile users are actually accustomed to the habit of switching between the 3G and Wi-Fi formats.
To reduce the data transfer delays and ease network congestion, some believe it is best to promote the increased use of Wi-Fi among mobile users. In times when the number of people using LTE borders on excessive, Wi-Fi serves as a viable option that not only decreases the burden carried by LTE service providers, but also improves a mobile user’s overall experience. Wi-Fi technology, in this regard, can be perceived as a mostly complementary, rather than opposing, force to LTE.
Recent data provided by Ruckus’s client, Time Warner, shows that approximately 20% of its users switch between using LTE (or 3G) services and Wi-Fi services. Looking at the situation in Taiwan, assuming that the local telecom providers do not eventually provide unlimited LTE mobile plans, the country’s users will likely make good use of Wi-Fi as a means to decrease the costs incurred by LTE and avoid a “clogged up” online experience.
“Smart-Cell Insight” and the Future for Ruckus
Ruckus’s new product, “Smart-Cell Insight,” has been praised as an ideal solution for creating and saving user data (for business purposes), and can be used to obtain useful connection-related statistics that allow telecom providers to improve their services. Through the proper use of this product, mobile carriers can figure out potential ways to prevent mobile users from running into online traffic blockages.
Ruckus is currently one of the few foreign companies that has its own research team in Taiwan and consistently earns high revenue. Looking at 2014, Huang hopes that the company will eventually find more potential partners to work with, establish a wider, more diverse customer base, and develop new means to improve its services.