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This is an excerpt from our white paper Wi-Fi in the 5G Era – Strategy Guide for Operators. The full white paper is available here if you like what you read. Don’t hesitate to contact ENEA if you have any questions.

The new Access Traffic Steering, Switching, and Splitting (ATSSS) function is the ‘Holy Grail’ of mobile data offloading, but its complexity and reliance on device support means it will likely take years to come to market.

5G introduces new network architectural concepts for Wi-Fi integration with the mobile core (non-3GPP access). In our previous two blog posts, we explored the opportunities for mobile operators today and what is new within 5G. This blog post will cover the new Access Traffic Steering, Switching & Splitting (ATSSS) function, the ‘Holy Grail’ of mobile data offloading.

Will new and better technology and standards for automatic network selection and intelligent convergence between mobile and Wi-Fi services be developed for the mass market of the future? The short answer is probably yes. We will address one of them here, namely the newly released Access Traffic Steering, Switching & Splitting (ATSSS) introduced in 3GPP release 16.

But the answer is also that such technologies – including Passpoint with SIM authentication – already exist for the most part. These may not be ideal but are still extensively field-proven and work well enough to have already been implemented by dozens of major carriers.

Operators actively choosing Wi-Fi offload as a strategy and who want more granular control often include so-called connectivity manager clients (apps or hidden clients) on the device. Such solutions can be pretty sophisticated depending on to what extent the app, and hence the operator, can access and control the communication layer in the device’s operating system.

The capability of such apps or hidden clients must at least include solutions to the following current imperfections in switching between Wi-Fi and mobile network access:

  • Avoiding unintentional ‘walk-by’ switchover to public Wi-Fi, which could produce a poor user experience or even intermittent loss of connectivity.
  • Policies and thresholds should automatically reject or accept handoff to Wi-Fi and back to cell sites if either is congested.

Wouldn’t it be a significant step up in performance and quality of experience if a phone natively could aggregate the data streams from Wi-Fi and cellular into one stream and perhaps even intelligently steer and switch traffic between the two?

We think yes – and fortunately, the 3GPP seems to think so as well since they have introduced ATSSS as part of the 3GPP Release 16 standard for 5G.


Choosing the best available network based on speed, cost, and latency.

ATSSS Switching Switching

Moving seamlessly between 5G and Wi-Fi networks.

ATSSS Splitting Splitting

Splitting the traffic over 5G and Wi-Fi, the split can be set by policies.

ATSSS control both Wi-Fi and Cellular from Mobile Core

ATSSS uses the so-called Multipath TCP (MPTCP) technology, described in our white paper, to allow IP data traffic to flow simultaneously over Wi-Fi and 5G networks. The results are higher data rates, improved overall quality, and even gapless handovers between Wi-Fi and 5G.

Since very few applications and web servers support MPTCP, the ATSSS specifies an MTCP Proxy implemented in the 5G core User Plane Function (UPF). It also defines an ATSSS low layer functionality (ATSSS-LL) to support other protocols such as UDP.

The introduction of ATSSS is excellent news for advanced Wi-Fi service management platforms such as Aptilo SMP, as it makes policy management so much more complex.

These functions, the three “S”, translate to four ATSSS standard steering modes that need to be supported in the device and in the Mobile Core (UPF).

ATSSS Active-Standby Active-standby

One access network – cellular or Wi-Fi – is the active (default) access network. The traffic is routed over this access network until it becomes unavailable, in which case traffic switches over to the other access network. When the active access network is available again, the traffic is switched back.

ATSSS Smallest Delay Smallest Delay

Traffic is sent over the access network with the smallest delay. The Performance Measurement Function (PMF) determines the latency of each network connection. The underlying multipath protocol can also provide measurements.

ATSSS Load Balancing Load Balancing

This specifies a fixed percentage for the fraction of the traffic that should connect over the 3GPP network with the rest of the traffic sent on the non-3GPP network. This mode only applies to the quality of service (QoS) flows with a non-guaranteed bit rate (non-GBR).

ATSSS Priority-based Priority-based

Traffic is transmitted over a specified high-priority access network (Wi-Fi or cellular). If this access network becomes congested, the traffic overflows onto the other access network. If the high-priority access network becomes unavailable, traffic switches to the other access network (as in Active Standby). The determination of congestion is implementation-specific.

Another factor that adds to the complexity of policy management is the large number of stakeholders. Real-world deployment of ATSSS will need to cater to:

  • Service provider policies
  • Policies set by the user
  • Device vendor policies
  • App provider policies
  • Enterprise IT policies

We think that ATSSS is a very promising standard. It is, to some extent, the ‘Holy Grail’ of mobile data offload, and with ATSSS, operators may finally find a good reason for backhauling Wi-Fi traffic to the mobile core. However, no 3GPP standard for Wi-Fi integration will ever be implemented in practice unless the device vendors want it.

For ATSSS to reach the mass market, device support is crucial. An example of a related standard that never achieved any market penetration at all is 3GPP ANDSF, which was a useful concept but, in the end, was never implemented natively in any device.

It may take quite a few years more for ATSSS to come to market – or alternatively, proprietary forms of essentially the same function incorporated by Apple or others may, in the end, supersede the 3GPP’s attempts. The ATSSS concept has already been tested successfully by Korea Telecom using a proprietary solution.

In either case, there is a good likelihood that Wi-Fi and 5G data streams will find new ways of complementing each other – including using aggregation & gapless handovers – on the transport layer.

Meanwhile, all the benefits of known and field-proven systems for cellular and Wi-Fi convergent services remain available to any operator who wishes to apply vastly improved Wi-Fi technology as a part of their network strategy today. Passpoint and EAP-SIM-based solutions are readily available and can possibly be complemented with an app for more granular control. In other words: Even though a more systematic 3GPP-based approach to convergence may emerge in the coming years, there is no reason to wait. Excellent convergence solutions exist today.

This is an excerpt from our white paper Wi-Fi in the 5G Era – Strategy Guide for Operators. The full white paper is available here if you like what you read. Don’t hesitate to contact Enea (Aptilo) if you have any questions.


Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 on pristine 6 GHz spectrum, will boost Wi-Fi speeds by at least a factor of four and capacities by even more with latencies as low as 2 milliseconds. This constitutes a paradigm shift in connectivity.

Wi-Fi 6 is in itself a big quality and data rate improvement over existing Wi-Fi services, most of which currently are still based on the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac, 5 GHz services) or even Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n, 2.4 GHz) legacy standards. Now add to this Wi-Fi 6E, an opportunity for the new standard to operate in the pristine 6 GHz band. The connectivity experience will improve by an order of magnitude in speed and quality.

It is also well documented that the rate of market penetration and rollout of both devices and access points supporting the Wi-Fi 6 standard has thus far well exceeded the pace of all previous standards. Within a couple of years, industry analysts expect the vast majority of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi access points to be Wi-Fi 6 capable.

The 6 GHz Wi-Fi story is recent – and the date April 23, 2020, will be forever etched into the annals of wireless and technology history. On this date, the commissioners of US telecom regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted unanimously five to zero in favor of releasing 1.2 GHz of pristine 6 GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi.

Since then, several other countries have followed suit. It is largely expected that most countries in the world will release some parts of the 6 GHz band as unlicensed spectrum in the course of the next few years. In the US the full 6 GHz band (including a section of band extending into 7 GHz) can already be used for indoor Wi-Fi services (for so-called Low Power Indoor or LPI services).

The huge new band allocation more than triples available Wi-Fi band in the US and will close to double available bands within the EU. In the US a total of seven 160 MHz-wide Wi-Fi channels will be available, while in Europe that number will be three (see the channel allocation table below). This means that Wi-Fi devices – including smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. – will soon be operating at multiple gigabits per second of speed over Wi-Fi.

One important aspect of Wi-Fi 6 in the 6 GHz band – dubbed Wi-Fi 6E by the Wi-Fi Alliance – is that only Wi-Fi 6E is certified to operate in the said spectrum and hence no legacy Wi-Fi systems will be around to generate interference within the new band. The quality of 6 GHz Wi-Fi services will therefore likely be close to that of cellular – except several multiples faster than most current wide-area coverage 5G data rates, with the exception of localized and outdoor mmWave-based 5G.

The interference-free 160 MHz channels in Wi-Fi 6E means that smartphones and other mobile devices will be able to operate at peak theoretical speeds of more than 2 Gbps or – says chipset maker Broadcom – up to 1.4 Gbps at a distance of 7 meters non-line-of-sight from a Wi-Fi 6E access point.

In new enterprise deployments the adage ‘eighty is the new twenty’ will apply for Wi-Fi 6E: Standard 6 GHz Wi-Fi deployments will use 80 MHz channels instead of the usual 20 MHz channels applied today. This is because permitted power levels (in the US) are defined in such a way that there is no penalty for using wider channels and hence no real reason not to use them. As a result, average enterprise Wi-Fi data rates will be at least quadrupled.

Wi-Fi 6E technology will in addition deliver latencies as low as 2 milliseconds, which – as a starting point – will enable much more responsive and ‘immersive’ connectivity experiences, initially for gaming, fast video conferencing, AR/VR, and more and eventually for innovative new wireless enterprise applications.

In summary: Based on 480 MHz to 1200 MHz of new unlicensed (free) spectrum, Wi-Fi 6E will, depending on country-specific regulations, deliver multi-gigabit Wi-Fi speeds and capacities that by a wide margin will outperform current cellular systems indoors. And now – for the first time in Wi-Fi history – the application of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E technology using OFDMA, means the quality of Wi-Fi services will be similar to that of cellular.

The full white paper is available here

Enea has won the IoT Innovation Award at this year’s World Communication Awards for its Aptilo IoT Connectivity Control Service™ (Aptilo IoT CCS). The World Communication Awards forum has recognized innovation and excellence in the telecom industry for 23 years, and is one of the most prominent marks of achievement.

“The key in this category was to bring real innovation in the market, and this is what Enea does”, said Matt Hatton of Transforma Insights, who presented the jury’s motivation. One jury member liked the fact that Aptilo IoT CCS addresses a real problem for mobile operators, enabling them to profitably launch IoT services while meeting the needs of enterprise customers, and another member said it had hyperscale potential.

Enea’s Aptilo IoT CCS is a unique innovation delivered as a service on Amazon Web Services. The Aptilo Service Management Platform™ is handling the control plane, while Fortinet’s next-generation firewalls are handling the data plane. The service enables mobile operators to target the mass-market of customers prepared to pay for value-added services, but not for tailor-made development.

“We are proud to win this prestigious IoT innovation award,” said Jonas Björklund, Senior Vice President of the Aptilo Business Unit at Enea. “Innovation is all about teamwork and we want to share the award with Telia, the first Aptilo IoT CCS customer, and our partners Fortinet and Amazon Web Services – it is a great joint achievement.”

With Aptilo IoT CCS in place, mobile operators can leave mobile core and IoT platforms untouched and add a flexible hyperscale layer of programmable IoT connectivity control, automating the IoT service delivery. Operator’s enterprise IoT customers can manage security and policy settings through self-management portals, and VPNs can be created in a matter of minutes rather than weeks. If the operators use localization of eSIMs, customers will still get a unified IoT service across all international partner networks with the same IP-address, security, and policies.

• Aptilo IoT Connectivity Control Service™ (IoT CCS)

The names, brands, and logotypes of third-party products and services mentioned or shown in this press release are the property of their respective owners and may also be trademarks. They are used for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement.

About Enea
Enea is one of the world’s leading specialists in software for telecommunications and cybersecurity. The company’s cloud-native products are used to enable and protect services for mobile subscribers, enterprise customers, and the Internet of Things. More than 3 billion people rely on Enea technologies in their daily lives.

Enea is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.

For more information:

Aptilo IoT Connectivity Control Service™ (IoT CCS) is part of a global IoT Service, where it adds a flexible layer of policy control and security features. The cloud-native solution from Enea incorporates IoT security from Fortinet to protect IoT devices, data traffic, and enterprise applications. This allows mobile operators to offer managed IoT security with the flexibility to steer selected traffic through virtual private connections or directly to the Internet, while protected by FortiGate Firewalls.

As an additional benefit of the solution, operators no longer need to set up individual virtual private connections for each enterprise customer, a complex task that can take weeks. With the new solution in place, enterprises can easily create their own virtual private connections in a matter of minutes.

“The award-winning Aptilo IoT CCS is a perfect illustration of how we innovate in close partnership with our customers,” says Paul Mikkelsen, Head of the Aptilo Business Unit at Enea.

Aptilo IoT CCS is one of the important components in the newly launched IoT offering Telia Global IoT Connectivity.

Aptilo IoT CCS won four different awards during 2020 (see link below).


• Aptilo Connectivity Control Service 
• Telia Global IoT Connectivity
• Aptilo awards


Erik Larsson, Senior Vice President Marketing

About Aptilo Networks

Aptilo Networks, an Enea company, is one of the world’s leading providers of Wi-Fi service management solutions and cloud-based IoT connectivity control services. The company has delivered software and services to more than 100 operators that serve tens of thousands of enterprise customers, and hundreds of millions of end-users and devices.

About Enea

Enea is one of the world’s leading suppliers of innovative software for telecommunication and cybersecurity. Focus areas are cloud-native, 5G-ready products for data management, mobile video traffic optimization, edge virtualization, and traffic intelligence. More than 3 billion people rely on Enea technologies in their daily lives.

Enea is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.

For more information:

One of the world’s largest municipality Wi-Fi deployments

STOCKHOLM – October 19,  2020 – The Istanbul city Wi-Fi service, enabled by a solution from Aptilo Networks, has won the Telecoms World Smart Cities Award. The network has around 8,000 access points. Every year, 16 million citizens and 10 million visitors get access to a high-capacity Wi-Fi service.

The administration of Istanbul needed a Wi-Fi service that could scale and provide various stakeholders with advanced functionality. The Aptilo Service Management Platform™ with its Venue Wi-Fi Manager™ multitenancy functionality fulfilled all the requirements.

“With a Wi-Fi network that looks and behaves like a large operator network, we needed a carrier-class solution,” said Erol Özgüner, CIO Istanbul City. “With Aptilo’s advanced functionality for cellular- and Wi-Fi-based IoT connectivity, we already have today the foundation to enter the Internet-of-everything era.”

Users of the Istanbul Wi-Fi service get high bandwidth and short response times wherever they are. There are up to five different quota buckets that control the data consumption and that can be used at different types of locations. The solution from Aptilo keeps track of where the users access the Wi-Fi service and applies the right bucket depending on the location.

The multitenancy functionality in Aptilo’s platform makes it possible for Istanbul city to tailor the look and feel for the different venues. Through banner areas at the login portal, users can get the latest information for that location and view advertisements.

Furthermore, quality-of-service control and quota profiles can be adjusted by location and user group, and for special dates such as national holidays.

“This advanced large-scale Wi-Fi service and the grand vision for the future make Istanbul city a worthy winner of the award,” said Paul Mikkelsen, CEO, Aptilo Networks. “We are very proud to have been part of the project and to have contributed to its success.”

About Aptilo Networks

Aptilo Networks, an Enea company, is a leading provider of carrier-class systems to manage data services with advanced functions for authentication, policy control and charging. Aptilo Service Management Platform™ (SMP) has become synonymous with Wi-Fi service management and Wi-Fi offload in large-scale deployments with 100+ operators in more than 75 countries, and is a critical component of Wi-Fi calling and IoT. For more information, visit