Wi-Fi Alliance: Wi-Fi, 5G will be complementary

Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, will bring a new level of Wi-Fi capacity and performance. (Pixabay)

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.

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“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.

RELATED: Editor’s Corner—6 GHz looks far more promising these days than 5.9 GHz

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.

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