Wi-Fi Alliance introduces enhancements to improve Wi-Fi experience

Wi-Fi (Pixabay)
Wi-Fi Vantage bundles Wi-Fi Certified features that deliver the greatest benefits in challenging Wi-Fi environments.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is getting all kinds of industry support for new enhancements for Wi-Fi Certified Vantage, which are designed to elevate the user experience.

Wi-Fi Vantage devices soon will include functionality to enable quick, secure authentication and consistent, quality connections in Wi-Fi networks, according to WFA. The two new features are Wi-Fi Agile Multiband and Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity.

Wi-Fi Agile Multiband is a new certification available now that allows infrastructure devices to work efficiently with mobile devices to manage network resources and efficiently respond to changing network conditions. Intelligent steering allows devices to exchange information for the access point (AP) to guide a mobile device to a recommended band, channel or AP. Steering capabilities maximize overall spectral efficiency by minimizing congestion and improving device connection speeds, as well as helping transition devices from Wi-Fi to cellular networks when appropriate.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity complements Wi-Fi Agile Multiband and includes features that optimize the process of discovering Wi-Fi networks, establishing initial connectivity and roaming between APs serving the same network or different networks. Network discovery enhancements prioritize which channels a device scans during the discovery process, assisting devices in more rapidly discovering APs.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity also reduces management frame overhead, resulting in more efficient sessions because devices spend less time sending or responding to network management traffic and more time moving user data. Certification for Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity will be available in late 2017.

CableLabs, Broadcom, Qualcomm Technologies, Ruckus and Marvell voiced their support for the new programs. Christopher Szymanski, director of product marketing for the Mobile Connectivity Products Division at Broadcom Limited, said in a statement that the programs will deliver “cellular-class network steering and improved network management, increased capacity, and the lower latency necessary for livestreaming and other social applications in dense scenarios.”

“Carrier Wi-Fi is an essential tool for enhancing consumer mobility and maximizing operator networks. As a driving force behind wireless innovations that are transforming connected experiences, Qualcomm Technologies is a proud supporter of Wi-Fi Alliance’s efforts to improve the way people connect to managed Wi-Fi networks. These enhancements to the Wi-Fi Vantage program represent a significant step toward better spectral efficiency, simplicity and roaming," said Irvind Ghai, vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, in the release.

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Wi-Fi Vantage addresses three key pillars—manageability, mobility and performance, said WFA VP of Marketing Kevin Robinson. However, he said the improvements are not necessarily Wi-Fi trying to be more like cellular.

The Wi-Fi industry is intent on delivering a consistent quality experience. “What the Wi-Fi industry is really trying to do is deliver technology and solutions that leverage some of the inherent benefits in Wi-Fi, particularly around cost effectiveness, ease of deployment and customer affinity” and the ability to service a significantly larger number of devices than cellular serves today, he told FierceWirelessTech.

“It’s taking those inherent advantages and adding this level of manageability and mobility,” and while it does sound similar to what cellular does, “it’s not making Wi-Fi like cellular.” Rather, it’s striking a good balance with these new management capabilities while retaining the existing advantages of Wi-Fi, he said.