Posts Tagged ‘Wi-Fi Alliance’

With faster 5G Wi-Fi coming, Wi-Fi Alliance kicks off certification program

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Process ensures 802.11ac devices work well with older Wi-Fi products

Although faster fifth-generation Wi-Fi is already available in some new wireless routers and even the new MacBook Air laptops, a new Wi-Fi Certified ac program is being launched today to ensure the newest devices interoperate with other Wi-Fi products.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the certification program for 802.11ac Wi-Fi (also known as 5G Wi-Fi). Mobile devices, tablets, laptops, networking gear and other hardware will be available in the last half of 2013 with a Wi-Fi Certified label, ensuring that the devices have been tested to interoperate with other 802.11ac products and older Wi-Fi products.

“The certification program ensures that users can purchase the latest device and not worry if it will work with a device of two years or even 10 years ago,” said Kevin Robinson, senior marketing manager for the Wi-Fi Alliance in an interview.

The faster Wi-Fi allows two-to-three times faster speeds than existing 802.11n technology, Robinson said. It will enhance the speed of movie downloads and other user needs in a home or work place.

Robinson said that 802.11ac should allow a transfer of an HD movie to a tablet in under four minutes, and allow for multiple video streams inside a home at one time. “The average user will notice the difference,” he said, contrary to what some analysts have predicted.

Theoretical maximum speeds on 802.11ac can reach 1.3 Gbps, three times 802.11n’s speeds of 450 Mbps. Older 802.11g supports theoretical speeds of up to 54 Mbps. Actual speeds will be far lower, depending mainly on the number of users and the type of data being transferred.

Aside from faster speeds, 802.11ac allows for more network capacity so that more devices can be simultaneously connected to a network. Because of the added network capacity with 802.11ac, Robinson said that movies can be run without as much less compression, enhancing their overall visual quality. Wi-Fi over 802.11ac also reduces network latency, resulting in fewer delays in streaming music and gaming applications.

Wi-Fi Direct, which is technology to allow device-to-device interoperability with 802.11n, is not yet part of the 802.11ac certification program, Robinson said.

The Wi-Fi Alliance predicts that many of the new routers made with 802.11ac will operate on both the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz bands. That way, 802.11n traffic will be able to run over both bands, while 802.11ac traffic runs over 5GHz. Robinson said that 2.4 GHz will remain sufficient for carrying data for many apps and uses, such as Web browsing. Migrating to 5GHz allows wider spectrum channels with higher data throughputs, yielding higher performance. An advantage of 5 GHz is that various channel widths are supported — 20 MHz, 40 MHz and 80 MHz– while 2.4GHz allows only three 20 MHz channels.

The Wi-Fi Alliance said 11 chips and other components are being used to test new 802.11 ac devices. They are from Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, Mediatek, Qualcomm and Realtek. A list of Wi-Fi Certified ac products is available at www.wi-ficertifiedac.com.

As an indication of the fast industry adoption of 802.11ac, Aruba Networks on May 21 announced new Wi-Fi access points supporting the technology and said more recently that the University of Delaware is a beta customer. Aruba is working for Wi-Fi Certified AC certification of the new access points, a spokeswoman said.

Robinson predicted that many of the recently announced routers and other products will seek Wi-Fi 802.11ac certification.

Source:  computerworld.com

Operators will test Wi-Fi roaming, simplified login in Q4

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Wi-Fi Alliance lays the groundwork by starting its Passpoint certification program

The Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying products that simplify access to hotspots and roaming between different mobile service operators; providers and equipment vendors are expected to test these products in the fourth quarter, the Wireless Broadband Alliance said Tuesday.

Mobile operators see Wi-Fi as a way to offload traffic from their networks to handle growing data volumes.

While Wi-Fi is already used by operators all over the world, the work currently underway aims to take the use of the technology to the next level. Users will be able to authenticate with a SIM card and move between mobile networks and Wi-Fi hotspots from different providers both at home and abroad.

Leading the charge is the Wi-Fi Alliance. On Tuesday, the organization announced it had started certifying the underlying products as part of the organization’s Passpoint program, which is based on technology defined in its Hotspot 2.0 specification.

The certification program is a major milestone for Wi-Fi technology, because there is now finally a single industry-wide solution for seamless access to Wi-Fi-based mobile broadband, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Certified mobile devices can automatically discover and connect to Wi-Fi networks powered by access points that have also been approved.

The first products to be certified include access points, controllers and clients from BelAir Networks, which is owned by Ericsson, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless.

Next, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) along with a number of operators will conduct trials during the fourth quarter to see if they work as intended.

A first set of trials were organized earlier this year, and the first commercial services are expected to be launched during the first half of next year, according to the WBA.

The second round of tests will delve into more complicated features, including operator-to-operator billing procedures when users are roaming and what Wi-Fi network to choose if more than one is available, according to Tiago Rodrigues, program director at WBA.

“Different metrics can be used [when the device chooses which network to connect to]. Probably the most common one will be the quality of the bandwidth. The devices will have the intelligence to make an initial assessment to understand which hotspot can offer the best service,” said Rodrigues.

The technology to make such an assessment is still under development, and the first prototype clients that can perform intelligent network selection will be used during the trial, according to Rodrigues.

Most of the operators are expected to test SIM-based authentication methods, but there will also be interoperability tests of other methods based on EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) for devices such as cameras and tablets that don’t have SIM cards, Rodrigues said.

There are several goals with the Q4 trial. They will allow operators to get more experience with the technology as they prepare to launch commercial services, and also find things that need to be improved and fine-tuned by organizations such as the Wi-Fi Alliance and GSM Association, according to Rodrigues.

Thirty-seven operators and 24 vendors will take part in the trial, according to the WBA. The first group includes AT&T, China Mobile, Orange and Time Warner Cable while the vendors list includes companies such as Cisco Systems, Ericsson and Intel.

Source:  computerworld.com