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Software Defined Networks and Integration of Wifi with 3G/4G for R&E Networks

Bill St. Arnaud

A number of R&E networks such as SURFnet, JANET, AARnet, etc. are actively promoting mobile services and looking at integration of campus Wifi with 3G/4G networks using Eduroam. Mobile wireless services promises to be major service offering for R&E networks as the Internet of Things and Machine to Machine (M2M) becomes increasingly critical for research. Applications such as personal medical devices on (or in) the body, environmental sensors, traffic monitors and even garbage truck tracking will need such networks. As well anytime, anyplace, any device education and research will be increasingly dependent on the integration of campus Wifi, community Wifi and 3G/4G networks. Public content and distribution networks will also be an integral component. And as I have blogged in the past such wireless integration allows the deployment of overlapping Green WiFi nodes — powered by solar panels which will be needed to adapt a warmer climate.

Here is a great article on OpenRadio a project from Stanford that hopes to use OpenFlow to create pools of available broadband from Wi-Fi, cellular and other networks. The project team is working with Texas Instruments to build $300-$500 base stations for the hardware component, while researchers try to build the orchestration software. Hopefully the base stations can be powered by renewable energy. R&E networks and campus IT staff could direct al bandwidth hungry applications to their WiFi networks while using much more expensive 3G/4G for e-mail and text messaging.

By Bill St. Arnaud , Green IT Networking Consultant

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Mobile, Wireless

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