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May 23, 2014

Google plans global cloud-based Wi-Fi

Network in the cloud a win-win-win for Google, businesses, and end users.

By Ben Sullivan

Google is collaborating with Wi-Fi hardware firm Ruckus Wireless to develop a cloud-based Wi-Fi network.

The network would enable businesses to improve their Wi-Fi services by removing the physical Wi-Fi controller and placing it in the cloud, off of which they could hang thousands of individual access points anywhere in the world onto the same network.

The news was first reported by The Information earlier this week, which cited an anonymous source familiar with the matter. Both Google and Ruckus Wireless have declined to issue an official statement.

The network would be subsidised by Google, and be part of a general push to get more people using Google’s Web services, Google’s primary revenue generator. Facebook recently drew battle lines with Google over the mobile web, announcing ‘deep-link’ plans to capitalise on the rising tide of mobile web revenue as Google falls behind.

According to the report, the project could be unveiled this summer, and is targeting businesses like restaurants, offices, gyms, and perhaps even public services like libraries.

The new system would use software-based wireless controllers to virtualise Wi-Fi management functions in the cloud, resulting in a global network that a business could join.

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Once the service goes live, users will see the Wi-Fi network much like a home network, connecting and disconnecting when they enter and leave places which utilise the service. The plans could offer a significant income of web revenue that dodges the inclusion of the traditional mobile carrier industry.

Cisco System and Ericsson are both working on similar projects.

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