Press Release

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has published its initial assessment into how Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies will contribute to the 5G framework definition. The whitepaper explores the opinions of more than 65 companies across the globe, concluding that: 5G will be a combination of licensed and unlicensed technologies – with Wi-Fi and its current evolution playing a leading role; the convergence of services and coexistence of technologies are vital to the 5G roadmap; standardization remains a key milestone for 5G becoming a reality.

In addition, when it comes to business case and service development, the three highest ranking industry verticals – by priority – were smart cities, IoT sensor networks and safety/surveillance.

5G intends to enable a seamlessly connected society by 2020. It will bring together people, things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in a smart networked communications environment. Following on from the WBA’s “Roadmap for Coexistence and Convergence in 5G – Market Research” white paper in November 2016, the report forms part of the WBA’s strategy to actively embrace 5G. By examining some of the potential use cases currently envisaged as being able to exploit the capabilities of 5G, it addresses what the WBA, its members and the wider ecosystem need to do to prepare for 5G. For example, the existing work on Quality of Service and associated metrics required, as well as enhancements to the WRIX framework to meet the needs of 5G roaming. Moreover, WBA’s track record on testing and interoperability will be pivotal to provide a real world end-to-end testing environment for 5G unlicensed wireless building blocks that rely on a convergent approach.

“While plans to roll out 5G networks are well on their way, the industry still needs to agree upon the standards for the technology before 2020,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, Wireless Broadband Alliance. “The WBA has put together this report to highlight the significant impact that Wi-Fi is having on the definition of 5G and what we as an organisation can do to bridge the gap between licensed and unlicensed technologies within this timeframe.”

He added: “The WBA will continue to develop its 5G strategy to work towards ensuring WBA and Wi-Fi networks are ready and enabled to meet the needs of a 5G-based world. Our aim is to satisfy the use cases and needs of the millions of customers and consumers of the world’s Wi-Fi networks, and the WBA operators and WBA connected cities dedicated to delivering that strategy and vision.”

The WBA’s latest report, entitled “5G Networks: The Role of Wi-Fi and Unlicensed Technologies”, is available to download here: http://www.wballiance.comesources/wba-white-papers/.