WBA and TIP to collaborate on Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7

WBA and TIP to collaborate on Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7

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The Wireless Broadband Alliance is extending its relationship with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to "maximize the full benefits" of 6 GHz Wi-Fi – today Wi-Fi 6E, and the near future, Wi-Fi 7.

Their work will explore the various use cases that can benefit from the technology, including indoor and outdoor venues that have adopted OpenRoaming. As such, it will also further TIP’s Open AFC (automated frequency coordination) Software Group.

TIP adopted the WBA OpenRoaming standard in May of this year and the two will now collaborate to define how TIP's Open AFC will work and how public and guest Wifi based on OpenRoaming can benefit from the full capabilities of Wi-Fi 6E.

Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “As we take steps towards optimising the connectivity and economic benefits of the 6 GHz band, we also need to ensure fair and equitable use of the band. Open AFC will benefit the whole Wi-Fi Industry, including networks that have adopted OpenRoaming. It will enhance Wi-Fi to provide a consistently great, secure broadband user experience in stadiums, homes, enterprises, schools, hospitals and more.”

Open AFC aims to develop an open-source reference implementation of an AFC system. WBA said the framework will enable unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band to operate outdoors as well as increase their indoor range while ensuring that existing services are protected from interference.

Enabling the full benefits of 6 GHz Wi-Fi with an AFC system will deliver all the public Wifi benefits of OpenRoaming including automatic friction free onboarding for users whilst managing privacy and security and enabling different identity options.

Chris Szymanski, TIP Open AFC Software Group Co-Chair, and Director of Product Marketing, Technology Strategy, Wireless Communications & Connectivity Division, Broadcom, commented: “AFC is critical to the future of 6 GHz Wi-Fi. With AFC, Wi-Fi devices can operate at higher powers, provide greater coverage, and operate outdoors. This fits well within the focus area of the WBA, an organization that is highly focused on improving operator provisioned Wi-Fi.”

More than 41 countries worldwide have already designated 6 GHz for unlicensed use, with WBA reporting that many others are looking to follow.

The extended collaboration will also complement TIP OpenWiFi, an initiative that reimagines the way Wifi networks are built and deployed by leveraging open-source development and automated testing to allow Wifi service providers to confidently deploy APs, cloud controllers and smart analytics from different vendors.

Earlier this year TIP, which was established by Facebook – now Meta – in 2016 launched a new unit to promote 5G Open RAN for private networks.