Tiago Rodrigues, who took over as CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) in September, said the WBA’s priorities over the next few months would include making Wi-Fi 6 and 5G best friends, rather than allowing any form of friction or other comparison between the two. Tiago Rodrigues joined the WBA in 2004 and is one of the enablers behind the deployment of Hotspot 2.0 and SIM authentication on Wi-Fi.
The WBA’s carrier members include AT?amp;T, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo and Comcast. Members of technology providers include Nokia, Google, Facebook and Qualcomm.
One of the reasons the industry is so interested in Wi-Fi 6 and 5G is related to the growing convergence between 5G and Wi-Fi 6. A great deal of information about 5G leads people to believe that 5G is the best technology ever. However, Tiago Rodrigues says that in some cases, 5G is not the best choice for in-house coverage.
“5G should not be seen only as 5G NR technology, but as a transition platform that can integrate other types of technology,” he said. ”
He says, for example, that no one uses Wi-Fi to cover the highway, which is not designed to provide mobility at 70 miles per hour, but that 5G can provide coverage. But in a 20-story hotel or office building with indoor coverage, 5G may not be an ideal technology choice due to cost and equipment complexity. Fundamentally, he says, “we shouldn’t look at 5G narrowly.”
In the United States, CBRS is sometimes better than Wi-Fi, which could become a dedicated band for the deployment of private LTE. But Tiago Rodrigues says he believes Wi-Fi will remain a part of it. The decision-making of IT managers or CIOs is becoming more and more complex because of too many choices. They need to determine their requirements and goals to choose the best solution, whether it’s 5G slices from the carrier or other products.
THE WBA AND HUAWEI RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A WI-FI PILOT PROJECT INVOLVING A SERIES OF WI-FI 6 VALIDATION TESTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MONDRAGON IN SPAIN, WHERE THEY ARE WORKING ON INNOVATIVE WI-FI 5 USE CASES. The pilot project aims to lay the groundwork for an immersive approach to education, such as VR and AR, that changes the way teachers and students interact on campus. Similarly, the trial is expected to include the use of Wi-Fi 6 technology for webcasting and distance education testing.
Earlier this year, WBA and British design and manufacturer Mettis Aerospace completed Wi-Fi 6 and IoT trials, which supply components for the aerospace and defense industries. Mettis Aerospace reportedly decided to adopt Wi-Fi 6 technology because it is backward compatible with a variety of devices and has a long technical life. The company’s machines typically last for decades, and Wi-Fi meets requirements, including in the security area.
Tiago Rodrigues said the U.S. remains committed to finding more spectrum for unauthorized spectrum technologies such as Wi-Fi, and other countries are doing much the same.