WIFI is already being used in 5G testing and has been central to the success of a number of key 5G use cases around the world

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has called for the telecoms industry to fully utilise WiFi technology to support 5G rollout. In a new report published today, the WBA outlines the options and alternative approaches available for combining access over Wi-Fi-based and cellular-based networks in the run up to 5G.

The report, entitled “Unlicensed Integration with 5G Networks", encourages operators to utilise both cellular and wireless solutions to fully deliver on the transformative potential of 5G.

“As the largest internet access capability, Wi-Fi is a legitimate part of the 5G technology landscape. In fact, Wi-Fi’s own generational leap to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is already demonstrating that Wi-Fi can support the delivery of some 5G use cases today, in a way that is economically viable,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA.

“The WBA is advocating a future of collaboration and integration of Wi-Fi and 5G cellular technologies to realise their full potential, but the industry must work together. The paper offers a practical guide to each different way of integrating Wi-Fi with 5G networks, while also inviting the ecosystem to become involved in trials to make it more effective to develop this technology in the next year once standards have been defined.”

Shenwai argues that WIFI can be used to bridge the gaps in network capabilities, particularly in the early stages of 5G rollout

“Any operator CTO teams that are defining their future strategies will be thinking about the different ways of integrating unlicensed and licenced technologies. Yet they are at a crossroads: wait for 5G to be fully operations and available, or make investments in unlicensed technologies now that will pay off in the future?” This paper not only shows how these teams can capitalise on investments in Wi-Fi that will still be relevant for 5G, but also helps them to understand how the pieces fit together. We invite the industry to work with us to develop a common architecture, participate in testbeds and trials, and also with other forums to solve any final pain points,” he added.

Also in the news: 

Red Hat: Telcos must become more efficient to maximise 5G revenues

Vodafone claims UK’s first live 5G holographic call

Nokia begins 5G build in India