Boingo’s Wi-Fi Strategy

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From the Wi-Fi Intelligence Service.

Boingo is a global provider of Wi-Fi, DAS, and Small cell services with access to over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots in over 90 countries connecting more than 22.8 million users. The company deploys its network in multi-user venues such as shopping malls, airports, restaurants, stadiums, universities and military bases. The company builds and manages its own network as well as leverages third party networks through roaming agreements. In 2014, Boingo generated approximately $81 million in Wi-Fi revenue out of a total $119 Million.

Wi-Fi Strategy

Voice is not a core component of Boingo’s offer since Wi-Fi networks are optimized for video and data which are less sensitive to delays. 802.11R and 802.11K are needed to enable fast switching on access point controllers to improve voice support. There is still a challenge in going from cellular to Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi to cellular seamlessly. MNOs are levering third party services such as Taqua solutions to address this challenge. Such solutions require integration of Taqua’s VoWi-Fi product into the mobile operator’s core network and may also require a client for the mobile device.

Wi-Fi offloading is taking off in some markets such as South Korea but not as fast in other markets. Since 58% of all wireless data uses Wi-Fi network, Boingo is not really focused on this segment in particular. Most of Boingo’s services are offered indoors so the company is focused on improving indoor coverage via Wi-Fi, small cells or DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) depending on the specific venue needs.

Wi-Fi Network

Boingo’s Wi-Fi network is deployed using 802.11, a, b, g, m, and n technologies and is the company is currently upgrading its access points to 802.11ac using unlicensed spectrum. The network consists of a mixture of different technologies as a result of partners roaming agreements and leveraging existing networks. The company connects to operators through their back-end systems such as the RADIUS or HSS (Home Subscriber Server) servers. MNOs RADIUS servers send requests to Boingo’s RADIUS/HSS servers which uses EAP-AKA (Extensible Authentication Protocol) and EAP-SIM certificates to authenticate the users. Boingo’s servers identify the various MNO’s based on the device IMSI or International Mobile Subscriber ID which is a fifteen digit mobile operator ID. The IMSI provides details from the mobile subscribers Home Location Register (HLR) to enable authentication and billing to the appropriate network operator.

Boingo’s plan is to migrate its network architecture to a more virtualized environment where possible starting with the access point controllers. In January 2015, the company started its SMART (Secure, Multi-platform, Analytics-driven, and Tiered) network deployment in five US airports.  Access point controllers for the airports are deployed in a cloud environment where they can be shared across multiple facilities. SMART architecture will enable Boingo to offer tiered services to its customers and better manage user traffic while reducing infrastructure costs.

To learn more about Boingo and other operator’s WI-Fi strategies, please visit the Wi-Fi Intelligence Service.

David Hagan, Boingo Wireless’ CEO, and Peter Hovenier, Boingo Wireless’ CFO, will host a conference call to discuss the second quarter 2015 results as well as the Company’s future outlook for the third quarter and full year of 2015 on Thursday, August 6, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time / 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. To participate in the conference call, investors from the U.S. and Canada should dial (877) 407-0789 FREE ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time. International callers should dial +1 (201) 689-8562. In addition, the call will be broadcast live over the Internet hosted on the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website at http://investors.boingo.com and will be archived online upon completion of the conference call.

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Mr. Fellah, is a Senior Analyst and founder of Maravedis with 20-year experience in the wireless industry. He authored various landmark reports on Wi-Fi, LTE, 4G and technology trends in various industries including retail, restaurant and hospitality. He is regularly asked to speak at leading wireless and marketing events and to contribute to various influential portals and magazines such as RCR Wireless, 4G 360, Rethink Wireless, The Mobile Network, Telecom Reseller to name a few. He is a Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) and Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS).