Wireless Broadband Alliance issues guidelines for Wi-Fi 6 deployment

10 Jul 2019

Image: © Chlorophylle/Stock.adobe.com

Ahead of the impending release of next-gen Wi-Fi technology later this year, the Wireless Broadband Alliance released a new series of guidelines for a number of possible scenarios utilising Wi-Fi 6 technology.

Today (10 July), the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) launched a white paper from London, which will provide operators, enterprises and cities with the tools needed to embrace and deploy Wi-Fi 6 efficiently when it is released later in the year.

The publication was developed in conjunction with WBA’s Next Gen Wi-Fi Work Group, which included operator representatives from Boingo Wireless, BT and Charter Communications, as well as vendor reps from Broadcom, Cisco and CommScope.

In the document, the WBA points out that Wi-Fi devices in the world (9bn) now outnumber the 7.6bn people on the planet.

Wi-Fi dependency is growing exponentially with global enterprises expected to generate more than 33bn exabytes of IP traffic by the end of this year. By 2022, that number is likely to increase to 63bn (a compound annual growth rate of 23pc), as Wi-Fi is now the primary access technology in the majority of broadband households.

The WBA’s white paper sets out guidelines that will ensure that operators, enterprises and vendors meet service-level agreements (SLAs), by proposing guidelines to ensure SLAs around bandwidth, throughput, latency and traffic prioritisation are reached.

The paper also sets out guidelines for radio frequency (RF) planning and design, with consideration given to band steering, MU-MIMO and adjusting for high-density deployments that demand increased capacity. WBA’s paper also addresses the ways in which Wi-Fi 6 deployments can provide seamless mobility and backward compatibility with previous Wi-Fi generation technology.

Tiago Rodrigues, general manager of WBA said, “Since its inception 20 years ago, Wi-Fi has become a fundamental expectation for consumers and enterprises alike.

“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 government authorities around the world are preparing to open 6GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi traffic.”

A complement to 5G

The WBA’s document provides a number of deployment scenarios for Wi-Fi 6, including public venues, stadiums, the internet of things (IoT) and enterprise WLANs.

Dr Derek Peterson, representative for Boingo Wireless and co-chair of WBA, said: “Technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and Passpoint 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.”

Finnbar Coughlan, CTO of Accuris Networks, said: “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.”

Chris Bruce, managing director of GlobalReach Technology Inc and board member of the WBA, pointed out the ways in which Wi-Fi 6 will complement 5G in a hotel or retail setting: “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.”

The WBA’s Wi-Fi 6 Deployment Guidelines can be read in its entirety here.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic