What is Wi-Fi Offload and How Can Businesses Leverage it?
Wi-Fi Offload Key Takeaways:
- Wi-Fi offload is the use of Wi-Fi hotspots to keep your mobile devices connected.
- Wi-Fi is a more affordable way to connect and provides better connection experiences than cellular.
- Even though daily Wi-Fi session times are a fraction of daily cellular session times, the amount of data transferred during Wi-Fi sessions far outpaces the amount transferred during cellular sessions.
- How service providers, enterprises, and loyalty marketers can leverage Wi-Fi offload.
What is Wi-Fi offload?
In so many words, Wi-Fi offload is the use of Wi-Fi hotspots — as opposed to cellular networks — to keep your mobile devices connected. This can be done manually by logging in to home or public Wi-Fi hotspots as you encounter them, or via services like Pareteum’s iPass SmartConnect app, which use intelligent connection management to switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks based on comparative quality of service.
Why offload to Wi-Fi?
Offloading to Wi-Fi is a more affordable way to connect and, when managed correctly, provides better connection experiences.
Cellular networks are awesome, but they don’t work well everywhere (indoors, for instance) and cellular data is both limited and expensive. By offloading to Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to:
- Consume less data
- Incur fewer roaming charges
- Stay connected in venues that cellular networks struggle to reach
Moreover, with the rise of Wi-Fi 6 and the repeated vindication of Wi-Fi networks from a quality of service standpoint, Wi-Fi offload promises big things for businesses across the spectrum — from IoT (Internet of Things), to communications, to enterprise, and beyond.
Naturally, we at Pareteum believe that Wi-Fi offload is a big deal. We maintain the world’s largest aggregated Wi-Fi network, with footprint at high demand locations and venues in more than 200 countries and territories. This includes tens of thousands of hotels, over 5,000 aircraft, nearly 700 airports, and tens of millions of business and leisure venues all over the globe.
But you don’t even have to take our word for it! Some of the world’s leading telecommunications providers are beginning to offload to Wi-Fi to improve the quality and affordability of their offerings.
Indeed, as we noted in a previous post, US cable MVNOs are quietly extracting remarkable benefits by using their own Wi-Fi networks to facilitate smartphone traffic and reduce their dependence on cellular connectivity. They’ve been able to trim operating costs and deliver far-above-average quality of service.
To illustrate the value of Wi-Fi offload…
…check out the bar charts below. They compare Wi-Fi (teal) vs Cellular (green) usage by examining the same data from two different angles. The first is in terms of raw session times; the second is in terms of the amount of data transferred during these sessions. As you will see, despite the relative paucity of Wi-Fi sessions, far more data was consumed during them than during Cellular sessions.
How can businesses benefit from Wi-Fi offload?
In a nutshell: Wi-Fi offload helps businesses keep costs in check and improve communication experiences. But the way these benefits are administered differs from company to company, industry to industry, and deployment to deployment. To demonstrate, here are three ways Wi-Fi offload can help businesses.
- Wi-Fi offload for service providers (MVNOs, MNOs, etc.)
Since we touched on this earlier, we’ll keep it short. Carriers and MVNOs alike are facing serious bandwidth issues. Consequently, the telecommunications industry is heading inevitably towards a more Wi-Fi-centric approach.By offloading subscribers to Wi-Fi, service providers can continue to offer data plans at low costs while maintaining high-quality customer experiences.
For more on this, be sure to read our piece on how US cable MVNOs have found extraordinary value in Wi-Fi offload.
- Wi-Fi offload for enterprise connectivity
As we discussed in a recent blog post, enterprise connectivity is something of a Gordian Knot — a seemingly intractable problem for which there is an obvious and bold solution.For any business that relies on remote workers or employees that travel frequently, the omnipresent threats of cyber-attacks and lackluster productivity loom large. Nevertheless, it is in fact the costs associated with cellular networks (I.e. excessive roaming charges and lavish data plans) that are most likely to doom an enterprise mobility strategy.
By equipping employees with the tools necessary to take advantage of Wi-Fi offload, enterprises can kill two birds with one stone: they’ll 1) boost employee productivity and 2) reduce company and employee reliance on costly cellular data plans.
Plainly put, a critical piece of that obvious and bold solution to the Gordian Knot of enterprise connectivity is secure global Wi-Fi.
- Wi-Fi offload for loyalty
Building a loyalty program is no easy task. In a landscape where new technologies enable the creation of increasingly personalized, sophisticated, and economical offerings, competition is stiff and standing out from the crowd is more difficult than ever.One thing most consumers and businesses can agree on, however, is Wi-Fi. Back in 2017, the iPass Mobile Professional Report revealed the following:
• Nearly two thirds of mobile professionals feel anxious when they’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
• Wi-Fi is more difficult to give up than many of the most common vices — junk food, smoking, etc.
• Over half of mobile workers say that a lack of Wi-Fi when working remotely negatively impacts their productivity.
• Streaming, making video calls, and accessing cloud apps are all twice as popular over Wi-Fi than cellular.
As such, Wi-Fi is a great way to differentiate any B2B or B2C loyalty program. The promise of Wi-Fi offload (better mobile experiences, reduced roaming charges, etc.) is an appealing pitch to just about any customer profile. For more on how Wi-Fi can give your loyalty program a boost, read our latest white paper.
If you’re interested in learning more about Pareteum Experience Cloud, or how you can use it to facilitate smart, secure Wi-Fi offload, give us a buzz. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the product pages on our site.