“The Wireless Broadband Alliance (“WBA”) and the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (“NGMN”) issued a joint white paper indicating that WiFi will play a critical role to the success of 5G… Sanctioned by the top 38 mobile operators around the world, the paper continues work between WBA and NGMN to identify business opportunities” – NGMN News
The integration of managed WiFi and 5G services will create an environment in which user devices that are either cellular and WiFi capable, cellular only capable or WiFi only capable, will be able to utilize either the Wide Area Network (“WAN”) of the cellular operator or the Wireless Local Area Network (“WLAN”) of a managed WiFi service provider transparently, with full seamless transition from network to network.
The convergence of 5G and WiFi6 is vital for coverage in dense locations and indoor deployments with cost-effective improved performance according to the NGMN News. The new managed WiFi 6 services offer unparalleled speed and capacity with security equivalent to that of cellular networks. The convergence of the two services will offer resiliency, with seamless connectivity (no more dropped calls) and a variety of new use cases.
“WiFi is likely to continue to dominate the home and carpeted office markets” according to Caroline Gabriel of Riot ReTHINK Technology Research, however, “in industrial, critical, highly mobile and wide area environments, it still has disadvantages”. While WiFi 6, with its lower latency, greater device capacity, higher speed capability and battery saving features will be a perfect fit for multi-tenant buildings with IoT requirements, high speed data needs and larger device counts. Different technology is required where immediate responses at extremely low latency is needed for industrial, and mission critical applications such as robot control.
The cost- effective solution to service multi-tenant buildings with moderate latency requirements is a managed WiFi service in conjunction with interoperability with either 4G/LTE or 5G cellular services.
At Spot On Networks, we are technology agnostic. We choose the best and most cost-effective solution for our clients. We have investigated small cell solutions, passive and active distributed antenna systems, the new Citizens Band Radio Services, known as CBRS and last but not least, WiFi which includes WiFi Calling.
Because WiFi 6 is backward compatible, all devices that we serve currently will be supported and new devices, especially IoT devices that are battery constrained, will be better served through various features which conserves battery power.
While we continue to look at all other technologies to address in-building wireless connectivity, it is currently our view that WiFi, with its road map to WiFi 6 and beyond, is our best solution for meeting the challenges of in-building wireless connectivity in multi-tenant buildings.