Working to make the Wi-Fi experience indistinguishable from the cellular experience

Martyn Warwick
By Martyn Warwick

Nov 20, 2018

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Tiago Rodrigues, General Manager, Wireless Broadband Alliance

The membership of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is developing Wi-Fi technology to become a 'carrier-grade' technology and, simultaneously, addressing the service deployment of Wi-Fi to meet the needs of consumers and the enterprise. Hitherto, the WBA focused on carrier Wi-Fi and public hotspots but is now extending its reach by collaborating with the Wi-Fi sector and the cellular industry. As Tiago Rodrigues points out, many of the world's biggest mobile carriers are also members of the WBA and all are working to bring about a 'best of all worlds' environment so that consumers get the best possible communications experience. The aim of the WBA is to bring to the Wi-Fi sector the same level and depth of experience that subscribers are used to when accessing a cellular network.

A key element in the mix is the emergence of Wi-Fi 6. In the past, the traditional benchmark for Wi-Fi performance was always speed, but with Wi-Fi 6 the emphasis is more on management capacity and the intelligent management of the connection of devices to a Wi-Fi network. Again, the long-term aim is to make the Wi-Fi experience for consumers undistinguishable from the cellular experience.

Yet another factor that will see Wi-Fi thriving in the 5G world is that the technology is entirely backwards compatible with all earlier iterations of the Wi-Fi standard. Thus, there will be no need to change Wi-Fi's entire infrastructure and ecosystem every time another new Wi-Fi standard emerges. It certainly doesn't work like that in cellular networks.

Filmed at Wireless Global Congress, London 2018

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