Wi-Fi Cellular Convergence Field Trials

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A hand holding a cellular handset with a colourful bokeh background.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@frostroomhead

Mobile operators (MNOs and MVNOs) want their customers to be automatically always connected to the best available network (i.e. cellular or Wi-Fi). This provides the best user experience and also minimises the amount of traffic going over the cellular network.  Because MNO’s and MVNO’s are lacking solutions to manage converged (Wi-Fi, cellular) connectivity, consumers are solving this problem manually causing unintended consequences.


In this blog, we share our learnings from field trials where our Wi-Fi Cellular convergence solution was extensively tested and delivered very promising outcomes.


For mobile operators the motivations are as follows:


  • Avoid users switching off WiFi and then forgetting to switch it on again for many hours


  • Improve user experience, i.e. Always Best Connected


  • Optimise use of available network resources, e.g. offload mobile data traffic to WiFi



Consumers are switching off Wi-Fi

Consumers switch off Wi-Fi due to perceived issues with Wi-Fi performance, concerns over the security of public Wi-Fi access points and unlimited cellular data plans disincentivising the use of Wi-Fi.

The problem is that consumers forget to switch Wi-Fi back on again when Wi-Fi would provide a better experience. Operators have no control or insight into this but it results in the consumption of excess cellular data. 

A seamless connectivity solution, whereby consumers are always connected to the best network, solves this problem of manual switching, providing a better consumer experience while reducing MNO data usage.

Always Best Connected (“ABC”)

The best network to use should take into consideration speed, reliability, security and data usage.

Tessares’ Overlay ATSSS solution enables ABC by keeping multiple connections alive at the same time and dynamically switching between them. MNO’s and MVNO’s might have different use cases for applying this technology, but both types of  operators see an opportunity in using this mechanism to switch seamlessly between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, a capability they are lacking today.

Better Experience, Less Cellular Data

Operators measured the effectiveness of the Tessares solution by looking at the time it took to switch between cellular and Wi-Fi when one of the networks stalled. Without the Tessares solution, this usually took 3-6 seconds but varied depending on the application. Some applications buffer data and therefore handle the transition more seamlessly. For live streamed applications we saw a reduction in transition time of half (from 3-6 to 1-3 seconds), while buffered applications also showed a reduction in transition time .

In preliminary field tests by one operator, customers were in general spending two-thirds of the time on cellular. Using Tessares’ overlay ATSSS solution this changed to less than one third of the time on cellular. Across five popular video apps, the time spent on Wi-Fi increased from an average of 52% to an average of 64%.

Two pie charts showing relative amount of time spent on each of the two networks, Wi-Fi and cellular. Without Tessares' solution it's 2/3 cellular, with Tessares Overlay ATSSS cellular usage went down to 31%


Fig. 1 – Time spent on each network 


At the same time, the perceived user experience was better, the interrupt time during transitions was cut in half to 1-3 seconds, without any impact on battery life. One field trial actually saw a slight increase in battery life as it took slightly less power to get data from a Wi-Fi access point than going over the cellular network.

Wi-Fi offload was increased by 22% with our solution during transitions.

In expert user tests, engineers found that our multi-path solution nearly eliminated freezes, buffering and pauses when moving from cellular to Wi-Fi and significantly reduced issues when moving from Wi-Fi to cellular. 

The data above was gathered from approximately 1000 hours of testing, 1 million multi-path connections and over 200,000 transitions.


Tessares’ Overlay ATSSS solution has been shown to improve customer experience and decrease cellular data usage without impacting battery life. Consumers do not have to manually switch networks and no third party apps are necessary. This is even more relevant for MVNOs introducing their own mobile spectrum as additional networks will increase the frequency of transitions from one network to another.

Please contact us if you would like to arrange a call or a meeting to discuss further.

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