WBA and TIP collaborate to bring open AFC for Wi-Fi in the new 6 GHz unlicensed band

London: The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) today announced an expansion of its relationship with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) that will further TIP’s Open AFC Software Group and help spur global adoption of Wi-Fi in the new 6 GHz unlicensed band. The partnership will maximize the full benefits of 6 GHz Wi-Fi – today Wi-Fi 6E, and the near future, Wi-Fi 7 – and all types of use cases that can benefit from it, including indoor and outdoor venues that have adopted OpenRoaming.

The momentum around enabling use of the 6 GHz band is unmistakeable.  Over 41 countries worldwide have already designated 6 GHz for unlicensed use.  Many others are actively working to open up the band.  Many of these countries see the value of enabling standard power operations that would require automated frequency coordination (AFC).  The goal of Open AFC is to develop an open-source reference implementation of an AFC system. This framework will enable unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band to operate outdoors as well as increase their indoor range while ensuring that existing services are protected from interference. Enabling the full benefits of 6 GHz Wi-Fi with an AFC system will deliver all the public Wi-Fi benefits of OpenRoaming including automatic friction free onboarding for users whilst managing privacy and security and enabling different identity options.

In May 2021, TIP adopted the WBA OpenRoaming™ standard, which enables users to securely roam from location to location without the need for logins, registrations or passwords. WBA will collaborate with TIP to define how Open AFC will work and how public and guest Wi-Fi based on OpenRoaming can benefit from the full capabilities of Wi-Fi 6E.

Open AFC also complements TIP OpenWiFi. This initiative reimagines the way Wi-Fi networks are built and deployed by leveraging open-source development and automated testing to allow Wi-Fi service providers to confidently deploy APs, cloud controllers and smart analytics from different vendors.

Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “As we take steps towards optimizing the connectivity and economic benefits of the 6 GHz band, we also need to ensure fair and equitable use of the band. Open AFC will benefit the whole Wi-Fi Industry, including networks that have adopted OpenRoaming. It will enhance Wi-Fi to provide a consistently great, secure broadband user experience in stadiums, homes, enterprises, schools, hospitals and more.”

Chris Szymanski, TIP Open AFC Software Group Co-Chair, and Director of Product Marketing, Technology Strategy, Wireless Communications & Connectivity Division, Broadcom, commented: “AFC is critical to the future of 6 GHz Wi-Fi. With AFC, Wi-Fi devices can operate at higher powers, provide greater coverage, and operate outdoors. This fits well within the focus area of the WBA, an organization that is highly focused on improving operator provisioned Wi-Fi.”

Michael Tseytlin, TIP Open AFC Software Group Co-Chair, and Director, Spectrum and Standards, Meta, added: “With more than 30 companies already involved in the Project Group, the collaboration with WBA brings in new strength to the team. We look forward to working with the WBA in enabling AFC operations around the globe.”

Matthew MacPherson, CTO of Wireless at Cisco commented: “As a board member of the WBA and a founding member of TIP Open AFC Software Group, Cisco is excited to see these two organizations collaborate in driving next generation Wi-Fi use cases,” said Matt MacPherson, Wireless CTO, Cisco. “WBA’s mission of holistically driving recommendations and specifications to simplify the adoption of new innovations is a great match with Open AFC’s dedication to delivering an open-source solution that expands standard power solutions and makes them available to a broad set of vendors and users. By working together, these two groups can jointly open up new opportunities for wireless innovation through the use of higher power within the 6 GHz spectrum, driving greater range and reliability.”

About the Wireless Broadband Alliance

Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is the global organization that connects people with the latest Wi-Fi initiatives. Founded in 2003, the vision of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to drive seamless, interoperable service experiences via Wi-Fi within the global wireless ecosystem. WBA’s mission is to enable collaboration between service providers, technology companies, cities, regulators and organizations to achieve that vision. WBA’s membership is comprised of major operators, identity providers and leading technology companies across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision.

WBA undertakes programs and activities to address business and technical issues, as well as opportunities, for member companies. WBA work areas include standards development, industry guidelines, trials, certification and advocacy. Its key programs include NextGen Wi-Fi, OpenRoaming, 5G, IoT, Testing & Interoperability and  Policy & Regulatory Affairs, with member-led Work Groups dedicated to resolving standards and technical issues to promote end-to-end services and accelerate business opportunities.

The WBA Board includes Airties, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom, BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom AG, GlobalReach Technology, Google, Intel, Reliance Jio, SK Telecom and Viasat.  For the complete list of current WBA members, click here.


About the Telecom Infra Project

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is a global community of companies and organizations that are driving infrastructure solutions to advance global connectivity. Half of the world’s population is still not connected to the internet, and for those who are, connectivity is often insufficient. This limits access to the multitude of consumer and commercial benefits provided by the internet, thereby impacting GDP growth globally. However, a lack of flexibility in the current solutions – exacerbated by a limited choice in technology providers – makes it challenging for operators to efficiently build and upgrade networks. Founded in 2016, TIP is a community of diverse members that includes hundreds of companies – from service providers and technology partners, to systems integrators and other connectivity stakeholders. We are working together to develop, test and deploy open, disaggregated, and standards-based solutions that deliver the high quality connectivity that the world needs – now and in the decades to come. Find out more: www.telecominfraproject.com

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