WBA releases Wi-Fi 6 guidelines to help operators, enterprises and cities with deployments

Dr Derek Peterson of WBA

In preparation for the impending release of next-generation Wi-Fi technology later this year, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has released a new white paper that provides deployment guidelines for a number of possible scenarios utilising Wi-Fi 6 technology.

According to the WBA, with this white paper release, operators, enterprises and cities now have the tools needed to embrace and deploy Wi-Fi 6 when it’s released later this year.

Globally, dependence upon Wi-Fi continues to grow exponentially, driven by a number of factors:

  • The number of Wi-Fi devices in the world – 9 billion – now outnumbers the 7.6 billion people on the planet.
  • Global enterprises this year will generate more than 33 billion exabytes of IP traffic. By 2022, that number will grow to more than 63 billion exabytes of IP traffic, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%.
  • Wi-Fi is the primary access technology in most broadband households, with 76% of US households using Wi-Fi as the primary broadband connection.

As this newest white paper from WBA illustrates, savvy deployment of Wi-Fi 6 can mitigate some of the growing pains that Wi-Fi is experiencing, while ensuring that operators, enterprises and vendors meet important service-level agreements (SLAs). As such, the work released today proposes guidelines to ensure SLAs around bandwidth, throughput, latency, traffic prioritisation and numerous other factors.

The paper also provides guidelines for RF planning and design, with consideration given to factors like band steering, MU-MIMO and adjusting for high-density deployments that demand increased capacity. Additionally, today’s release addresses ways that Wi-Fi 6 deployments can provide seamless mobility and backward compatibility with previous Wi-Fi generation technology.

“Since its inception 20 years ago, Wi-Fi has become a fundamental expectation for consumers and enterprises alike,” said Tiago Rodrigues, general manager, WBA. “This latest white paper comes at a crucial time; not only is global demand for Wi-Fi continuing unabated, but operators worldwide are ramping up 5G networks, and governmental authorities around the world are preparing to open 6GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi traffic. Today’s announcement illustrates the dedication of the WBA and its member companies to providing timely, expert direction to ensure that Wi-Fi deployments successfully accommodate all of these global factors.”

Tiago Rodrigues

To that end, the paper provides a number of deployment scenarios for Wi-Fi 6, including public venues, stadiums, residential and multi-dwelling units, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise WLANs. Today’s release was developed in conjunction with WBA’s Next Gen Wi-Fi Work Group develop, including operator representatives from Boingo Wireless, BT and Charter Communications, as well as vendor representatives from Broadcom, Cisco and CommScope.

The latest report, Wi-Fi 6 Deployment Guidelines, is available to download here

Several industry experts weighed in about the importance of Wi-Fi 6 deployment guidelines:

“Technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and PasspointTM are steering unlicensed networks into the 5G era, meeting high performance expectations across speed, latency, reliability, security and traffic management. To realise digital transformations for both people and things, we’ll need Wi-Fi and its ability to carry the bulk of data traffic with unparalleled efficiencies,” – Dr. Derek Peterson, CTO at Boingo Wireless and co-chair of WBA.

“Investment is driven by market opportunities, Wi-Fi-cellular aggregation, customer retention and new business opportunities, such as IoT,” said Dr. Youngseok Oh, manager, SK Telecom. “SK Telecom has been engaging in Wi-Fi 6 services that provide reliable, predictable services to customers anytime and anywhere, while also delivering new capabilities and business models.”

“As we work with mobile and broadband operators around the world, the need for high-capacity Wi-Fi continues to be a major driver,” said Finbarr Coghlan, CTO, Accuris Networks. “Wi-Fi 6 addresses a number of critical requirements being driven by user experience and service delivery demands, including connecting to more devices simultaneously, interference management and reduced power consumption, which dramatically improves battery life for mobile and IoT devices. Accuris is excited to work with our Wi-Fi equipment partners to realise these benefits to further improve enterprise and IoT applications over Wi-Fi.”

“Enterprises like hotels, travel hubs and retail, can use Wi-Fi 6 to build carrier-grade infrastructure that will complement 5G,” said Chris Bruce, managing director, GlobalReach Technology Inc. and Board member of WBA. “Deploying Wi-Fi 6 alongside Hotspot 2.0 /NGH allows venue owners to control their entire user experience. This next generation of Wi-Fi will also allow these venues to negotiate mobile data offload access to their infrastructure on equal terms with cellular operators.” 

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