Blueprint call for 5G and WiFi6 convergence

January 26, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Blueprint call for 5G and WiFi6 convergence
Industry guidelines from the Wireless Broadband Association highlight critical role WiFi6 and 6E will play in the long-term success of 5G for Industry 4.0 and the Smart City

The convergence of 5G and WiFi6 and 6E can provide advantages for chip makers but there are some key issue to address, says a report from the Wireless Broadband Association. This is critical for enabling new breed of services, applications and experiences such as Industry 4.0, AR/VR, Connected Cities and Edge Computing.

“The convergence of WiFi6 & 6E and 5G is a win-win scenario for end-users, cellular and WiFi players,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA. “The continued development of 5G and WiFi networks presents almost limitless potential for industry 4.0, residential connectivity, connected smart cities and more, but convergence is critical for all parties if we are to truly capitalize on the potential this technology has to offer. This paper provides a path forward for regulators and industry bodies that stands to benefit all, giving stakeholders the ability to cost-effectively improve performance while also retaining control and maximizing their return on investment.

The report from the WBA was developed with mobile carriers, WiFi providers, telecom manufacturers, and its own 5G Working Group. Led by Broadcom, Cisco, Intel and Orange, the report highlights areas of concern.

These include 5G and WiFi convergence architecture, Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting (ATSSS) and End-to-end QoS (Quality-of-Service) with split control of 5G and WiFi6 at 2.4GHz and 5GHz with 6E streams at 6GHz over the radio access network (RAN). The report also highlights the need for WiFi-only devices without a SIM to be able to access the 5G network.

“Historically, cellular and fixed/WiFi services have been delivered and consumed as independent offerings, limiting the service experience for customers,” said Howard Watson, Chief Technology and Information Officer at BT Group. “With advances in convergence, the dividing lines are beginning to blur, and that’s great news. Customers can increasingly focus on what they use their connectivity for, rather than how it is delivered." 

Next: WiFi6 and 5G convergence in Industry 4.0

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