The Wi-Fi Alliance wants everyone to know: Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are complementary technologies, both contributing their strengths to expand the power of the overall wireless connectivity fabric.
That’s one of the key takeaways in the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new white paper, Next generation Wi-Fi: The future of connectivity. The paper comes after the 3GPP standards group said it’s working on a version of 5G specifically for unlicensed spectrum, aka the same spectrum that Wi-Fi uses.
Asked if the Wi-Fi Alliance is concerned about that development, the organization said Wi-Fi delivers connectivity where it’s needed most while still making the most efficient use of unlicensed spectrum.
“Wi-Fi and 5G will be complementary, but Wi-Fi is the only technology that delivers the unique blend of characteristics which have enabled Wi-Fi to be the success story that it remains today,” the Wi-Fi Alliance said in a statement provided to FierceWireless. “One of Wi-Fi’s greatest strengths is its ability to deliver affordable performance—combining high performance and equipment affordability which has played a major role in establishing the ubiquity and dominance of Wi-Fi. This affordable performance, coupled with other inherent strengths outlined in our new whitepaper, makes Wi-Fi best suited to address a broad range of connectivity scenarios.”
According to the alliance, its members are actively participating in standardization efforts both within IEEE and 3GPP.
“Wi-Fi continues to add a richer set of capabilities that broaden deployment scenarios,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, in a press release. “Excitement around new technologies will come and go, and meanwhile, Wi-Fi maintains its strong track record and commitment to core competencies that will continue to deliver mission critical connectivity and to carry the bulk of the world’s data traffic.”
Wi-Fi already supports high-resolution video streaming, Wi-Fi calling, smart home monitoring, hotspot access, automation of citywide services, residential AR/VR applications and seamless roaming. Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, will bring a new level of Wi-Fi capacity and performance, and enhancements to WiGig in the 60 GHz millimeter wave band will deliver faster speeds and longer ranges.
The 2.4 GHz band is pretty much saturated and the 5 GHz is getting more crowded, which is why so many in the Wi-Fi community are excited about the prospects of the 6 GHz band. In October, the FCC unanimously agreed on a proposal to make up to 1200 megahertz of spectrum available for use by unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz). As spotted by Wi-Fi Now, the Notice of Proposed Rule Making was just published in the Federal Register, kicking off a public comment period. Comments are due on or before Feb. 15, 2019, with reply comments due on or before March 18, 2019.