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Wireless Broadband Alliance extols the virtues of 802.11ax

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The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has released a whitepaper promoting the benefits of the latest version of the ugly sibling of the telecommunications world, wifi.

With the world of 5G approaching, wifi enthusiasts have taken the opportunity to pitch relevance for the technology. Despite being often overlooked as a critical component of todays connected world, nearly 70% of smartphone data is carried over wifi networks, covering up for weak cellular signal due to distance from cell sites or weak indoor coverage.

The introduction of the latest generation of wifi technology, 802.11ax, is set to ‘revolutionise’ the industry, according to the WBA, by enabling a new range of opportunities that benefit operators, enterprises and end users. Both as standalone business and facilitating the early delivery of many 5G use cases, the WBA claims 802.11ax will open up the wifi market.

“Investment in 802.11ax offers operators and enterprises a compelling proposition to dramatically accelerate the delivery of 5G use cases, at a much lower cost,” said Tiago Rodrigues, General Manager at the WBA.

“However, it shouldn’t be viewed as ‘just the next evolution in Wi-Fi technology’ that can complement cellular. The WBA has developed this paper as part of its venture to raise awareness of 802.11ax as a standalone technology, providing new capabilities which can be used by the entire industry to address a whole new set of opportunities and use cases.”

Looking at the new features, the WBA believes 802.11ax can solve a number of business challenges operators and enterprises are facing today. Firstly, multi-user MIMO uplink and downlink to increase channel capacity when servicing multiple, simultaneous devices. Another interesting feature is Target Wake Time which would allow IoT devices to sleep to reduce access contention and wakeup in scheduled time slots to improve device battery life. Finally, flexible channel sizes and resource units will allow operators to offer more efficient IoT support, such as connections that require lower data rates.

Wifi is a very important aspect of the connected world, though one which does not receive a significant amount of attention. Some might hope this will change and we transition into the 5G economy, though we suspect it won’t.

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