Universal Wi-Fi for Service Providers

Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution 4.0 Data Sheet

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Wireless market trends are exciting and daunting. Get set for an 11-fold increase in mobile data traffic between 2013 and 2018 (according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Forecast). Yet there isn’t enough spectrum in mobile networks to handle the load. Adding macrocell sites quickly and cost-effectively is a challenge for operators. But there is another trend that points to a viable solution: network analytics show that the majority of mobile data usage, close to 80 percent, occurs indoors. Enter the small cell network and the Cisco® Service Provider Wi-Fi 4.0 solution.

Operators are looking at both licensed and unlicensed Wi-Fi technologies to meet the increased mobile data demand. Robust carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks have the ability to outperform 4G networks, and Wi-Fi technology is improving every day. New next-generation hotspots offer roaming that is as secure and transparent as cellular roaming. To meet the spectrum challenge, Wi-Fi provides 680 MHz of new spectrum.

Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi 4.0 is a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network solution that provides operators with a platform for business and service innovation. The Cisco SP Wi-Fi solution includes intelligent access points (APs) and wireless controllers that are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint for next-generation hotspot networks. Combined with robust subscriber, policy and network management, and an award-winning mobile packet core, the Cisco solution is operated by over 200 services providers worldwide to deliver enhanced mobility services.

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi solution (Figure 1) includes:

A complete portfolio of intelligent APs, including the Cisco Aironet® 1530 and 1550 Series outdoor APs and the Cisco Aironet 1600, 2600, 3600, and 3700 Series indoor APs. Silicon-level integration supports crucial network functions, including interference mitigation, resource management, band selection, and video optimization. Passpoint certification means that operators can deploy next-generation hotspot networks that allow users to roam onto the Wi-Fi network as easily and securely as they do the cellular network.

Multiple solution elements, including carrier-grade network analytics, subscriber management, and policy control with Cisco Quantum Policy, the Cisco Wireless Controller, the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE), and Cisco wireless access gateways (WAGs), including intelligent WAG (iWAG), enhanced WAG (eWAG), and S2a Mobility Over General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) Tunneling Protocol (GTP) gateway (SAMOG-GW). These solution elements give you the flexibility needed to deploy, operate, and manage networks with hundreds of thousands of APs, and let you turn on different services by simply pointing and clicking. Real-time analytics and reports are a key feature of Cisco SP Wi-Fi, providing operators with a tool for offering location-based services. These intelligent service features help to reduce operating costs, including zero-touch provisioning, for "hang-and-go" deployments, and centralized interference mitigation and troubleshooting for easier network maintenance.

The mobile packet core, with the award-winning Cisco ASR 5000 Series, provides standards-based capabilities that allow transparent and highly secure integration of Wi-Fi, femtocell, and macro radio networks in the Cisco ASR 5000 Small Cell Gateway. The Cisco ASR 5000 Series includes common subscriber management, policy, and authentication functions, delivering transparent service integration to Wi-Fi and licensed small cell users. The Cisco ASR 5000 Series Small Cell Gateway is already widely deployed today, providing multivendor interoperability.

Additionally, available across the Cisco SP Wi-Fi solution is the Cisco Prime Infrastructure. Cisco Prime is a unified network management platform that supports an intuitive user experience as it integrates operations across Cisco products, technologies, and networks.

Figure 1. Cisco SP Wi-Fi is Part of the Cisco Small Cell Solution

Architecture Models and Use Cases

Metro Wi-Fi, hotspot deployment, and packet core integration are the three main architecture models supported with the Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution 4.0.

Metro Wi-Fi Deployment Features

Cisco Wireless Controller to Cisco Quantum Policy Suite (QPS) Integration

Subscriber policy enforcement and Web portal redirect is done at the wireless controller. The wireless controller directly interacts with Cisco QPS for Web portal-based or MAC transparent-based user authentication and service access authorization.

Cisco ASR 1000 Series Integration

Client Layer 2 traffic is sent from the Cisco wireless controller to the Cisco Intelligent Services Gateway (ISG) session manager from the Cisco ASR 1000 Series.

Metro Wi-Fi deployment based on the Cisco ASR 1000 Series is made possible with IPv6 dual-stack client support. A single subscriber session is maintained for a dual-stack client. The IPv4 address, IPv6 address, and MAC address of the client are associated with this session.

Cisco ASR 9000 Series Integration

Client Layer 2 traffic is sent from the Cisco wireless controller to the Cisco subscriber awareness gateway from the Cisco ASR 9000 Series.

Metro Wi-Fi Deployment for the Hospitality Industry

The Metro Wi-Fi model (Figure 2) helps simplify the management of individual hotel properties, particularly from a data center cloud. Two specific use cases for the hospitality market have been validated with the Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution 4.0. The centralized cloud model was used to test these use cases:

Wired access along with the Wi-Fi access for end-user devices including laptops and tablets

Property Management System (PMS) from the hotel premises integrating to the SDD Systems’ JAZZ Fusion (a third-party hosted service for the hospitality industry) through the Cisco QPS Web Portal interface

Figure 2. Hosted Cloud Deployment - Centralized

In the centralized deployment architecture, the DNS, DHCP and the AAA servers, wireless LAN controller, network management suite, and policy servers are located in a centralized data center cloud. The access points, power over Ethernet (PoE) switches, and routers are located in the hospitality premises. The DNS, DHCP, and the AAA servers are all present in the data center. IP addressing for the APs and wireless clients is handled from the data center. Management of APs, switches, and wireless clients is provided by Cisco Prime Infrastructure. The centralization of components in the data center makes it very easy to scale the deployment into multiple properties or the same property while helping to reduce service interruptions.

Hotspot Deployment

Client Layer 2 is terminated in the access zone router (AZR), and from there, traffic is sent to the ISG session manager with a Layer 3 connection and flex-connect local switching in the AZR access interface.

Cisco SP Wi-Fi for Packet Core Integration

Wireless controller-based Proxy Mobile IPv6 (PMIPv6) with mobile access gateway (MAG) support and Cisco ASR 5000 PMIPv6 with local mobility anchor (LMA) support.

Cisco ASR1000 Series with iWAG architecture allows mobile operators to integrate Cisco SP Wi-Fi users into an existing 3G or 4G environment.

- 3G integration with GTPv1

- 4G integration with GTPv2

- 4G integration with PIMPv6

Packet core integration with Cisco ASR 5000 eWAG for 3G gateway GPRS support node (GGSN) allows mobile operators to integrate Cisco SP Wi-Fi users into an existing GGSN environment, using a Cisco ASR 5000 eWAG with Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) subscriber identity module (SIM) authentication. DHCP mode of eWAG (DeWAG) is also supported.

Packet core integration with Cisco ASR 5000 SAMOG allows mobile operators to integrate Cisco SP Wi-Fi users into an existing packet core using a Cisco ASR 5000 SAMOG gateway.

The main use cases and features for the Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution 4.0 are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution Use Cases

Architecture models

Use Case Details

Layer 2 Metro Wi-Fi Deployment

Layer 2 use cases

Open authentication
Web authentication (web-login)
Web authentication (one-click)
Voucher-based authentication
Wireless Service Provider Roaming (WISPr) 1.0
Prepaid (time or quota)
Passpoint 1.0
Open Transparent Auto Logon (TAL) (MAC-based)

Wireless Controller - Cisco QPS Integration

Web Portal Authentication
MAC Transparent Auto-login
Pre-Authentication ACL for Open Garden Access
Per subscriber ACL for authenticated sessions

Metro Wi-Fi deployment for hospitality

Wired access from the user devices (PC, laptop) along with the wireless access
Hotel PMS from the hotel premises integrating to JAZZ Fusion third-party hosted service through the Cisco QPS web portal interface

Layer 3 Hotspot Deployment

Wireless Service Provider Roaming (WISPr) 1.0
TAL (MAC-based with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lease query)

Packet Core Integration


SaMOG 4G/EPC Integration with EAP-SIM Authentication
SaMOG 4G/EPC Integration with EAP-AKA Authentication

iWAG Based

EAP-SIM authentication
EAP-SIM authentication with online charging (Gy interface-based)
Inter-MAG mobility for PMIPv6
Intra-MAG mobility
PMIPv6-MAG, GTPv1, GTPv2 and Cisco ISG coexistence

eWAG Based

Radius/DHCP proxy
Unclassified MAC or MAC-TAL
DeWAG on with EAP-SIM Authentication - DHCP mode of eWAG (DeWAG)

PMIPv6-MAG on Wireless Controller

EAP-SIM authentication
Gx-based, web-based authentication from the LMA user device capability

Platforms and Software Releases

Table 2 summarizes Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution 4.0 platforms and software releases and provides links to product information.

Table 2. Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution 4.0 Platforms and Software Releases


Software Release

Product Information

Cisco Aironet Indoor Access Points 1140, 1260, 1261N, 1600, 2600, 3500, 3600 and 3700


Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 1260 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 1600 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 2600 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 3500 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 3700 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet Outdoor Access Points 1550 and 1530


Cisco Aironet 1530 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco Aironet 1550 Series Access Point data sheet

Cisco 5508 Wireless Controller


Cisco 5508 data sheet

Cisco 8510 Wireless Controller


Cisco 8510 data sheet

Cisco Mobility Services Engine


Cisco Mobility Service Engine data sheet

Cisco ASR 1000 Series


Cisco ASR 1000 data sheet

Cisco ASR 5000 Series

StarOS 15.0MR

Cisco ASR 5000 data sheet

Cisco ASR 9000 Series

Cisco IOS® XR 5.5.1

Cisco ASR 9000 data sheet

Cisco Prime Infrastructure (CPI)


Cisco Prime Infrastructure data sheet

Cisco Quantum Policy Suite (QPS)

QPS 5.5.2

Cisco Quantum Policy Suite (QPS) data sheet for Wi-Fi

Cisco Prime Access Registrar (CPAR)


Cisco Prime Access Registrar data sheet

Cisco Prime Network Registrar (CPNR)


Cisco Prime Network Registrar data sheet

Cisco SP Wi-Fi Services Overview

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi services portfolio is a comprehensive set of services representing a holistic approach to the total lifecycle of service provider Wi-Fi engagements. Starting with a proof of concept, it covers the end-to-end planning, building, optimization, and operation services, each backed by Cisco service level agreements (SLAs). These services are flexible and can be customized.

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Proof of Concept Service includes:

From a cloud-based architecture hosted in a Cisco data center, demonstration of a centralized management system, with zero-touch service fulfillment for rapid deployments of meshed access points

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi RF Plan and Build Service includes:

Professional services from Cisco and Cisco partners with expertise in Wi-Fi networks

Help in planning and deploying the RF components of the Cisco SP Wi-Fi solution

Analysis of architectural readiness, with guidance for selecting and prioritizing locations for Wi-Fi

RF expertise to help you obtain the most from your wireless APs

Coverage and capacity planning

Post-deployment RF analysis to help ensure deployment success

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Core Plan and Build Service includes:

Professional services from Cisco and Cisco partners with expertise in Wi-Fi networks

Help to plan and deploy the core components of the Cisco SP Wi-Fi solution

Analysis of architectural readiness and assistance with the Cisco SP Wi-Fi deployment design

Start-to-finish deployment assistance, including mobile subscriber policy enforcement system

Pre-deployment validation to help ensure deployment success

Post-deployment knowledge transfers to help ensure your understanding of the solution

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Solution Support Service (reactive) includes:

Expert assistance to streamline operation of the Wi-Fi architecture

Quick isolation and remediation of unplanned service disruptions by specialists

Tracking and identifying the root cause of disruptive incidents, providing valuable information for design changes and scaling with your mobile subscriber growth

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Optimization Services (proactive) includes:

Expert analysis and recommendations for transforming your Wi-Fi architecture into a high-performing, efficient environment

Help to create a strategy for managing all the critical components of the Cisco SP Wi-Fi architecture using a suite of Cisco hosted network management applications

Availability and performance optimization expertise to validate planned design changes

Collaboration to develop a strategy for managing software releases and changes

Continuous learning activities that help your IT staff become more self-sufficient

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Assurance Service (preemptive) includes:

Extension of the measurement and analytical capabilities of your Cisco SP Wi-Fi architecture

Real-time monitoring of a variety of key performance indicators from Cisco network operations center

Comprehensive analytics using fault, capacity, availability, and performance information to help ensure reliable operations

The Cisco SP Wi-Fi Operate Service (end-to-end platform management) includes:

Monitoring the managed devices in the your environment to help ensure APs and controllers are properly activated and provisioned

Managing incident and problem resolution

Identifying operational trends to continually improve performance

For More Information

For more information about the end-to-end Cisco SP Wi-Fi architecture, services, and product details, please visit