Ericsson and Cisco have extended their strategic partnership to a new Wi-Fi offering. A new product line, Evolved WiFi Networks (EWN) will combine Ericsson’s 3GPP access technology, core networks and applications with Cisco’s established WiFi product portfolio to provide WiFi to Ericsson’s mobile, cable and other customers.
The combined portfolio will include indoor small cells, combining indoor Ericsson access networks with Cisco WLAN enables deployment in venues with both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, operator WiFi, enabling operators who have outdoor Ericsson access networks to use Cisco WLAN to offer access to their subscribers, traffic steering, integrating Cisco WLAN with either Ericsson macro or indoor access networks to steer users between mobile and WiFi access network, and core network integration, integrating Cisco WLAN into Ericsson packet core to enable operators to offer all their core network services over Wi-Fi for multimode devices.
Ericsson’s services organisation will take charge of the design and deployment of products based on the new offering.
“Our strategic partnership brings together the capabilities of two leading players in networking, mobility and cloud, creating the best end-to-end solutions and opportunities for our customers. By adding Wi-Fi solutions into the partnership, we will enable our customers to offer best-in-class Wi-Fi in their networks, complemented by our leading 3GPP portfolio and services organization,” said Rima Qureshi, head of region North America with responsibility for the strategic partnership at Cisco.
“With Wi-Fi traffic predicted to grow to 50% of the total IP traffic by 2020, a top priority for service providers is to deliver the best possible connected experiences to their customers. Through our extended strategic partnership with Ericsson, we are committed to providing Wi –Fi solutions of the highest quality performance and reliability,” said Yvette Kanouff, SVP and general manager of the service provider business unit, Cisco.
The WiFi agreement is the latest development in Ericsson and Cisco’s partnership, which was announced in November 2015. The pair have jointly secured a number of contracts in IP routing and transport and services.
The strategic agreement came against the background of a wider tightening of the telecom technology business amid a slowing down of orders from mobile telecom operators, that also saw Nokia acquire Alcatel-Lucent to give it a stronger presence in IP network technology.
At the time the partnership led to speculation that Cisco may be about to acquire Ericsson, which was denied by Ericsson’s then CEO Hans Vestberg.
The latest stage in the partnership comes as incoming Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm prepares to take the reins at the technology company, tasked with reviving its fortunes. Ekholm takes over from interim CEO and chief financial officer Jan Frykhammar, who was put in place after Vestberg exited.
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