The 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard is set to unleash a new wave of opportunities for the telecoms industry and support the early delivery of many 5G use cases, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
In a new white paper, the alliance argued that the latest generation of the Wi-Fi standard has the capability to deliver fundamental improvements to Wi-Fi as a standalone business and help operators and enterprises solve a number of business challenges.
Support for functionality including multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO), dual-band frequencies and flexible channel sizes will also enable the industry to expedite the delivery of some 5G use cases by multiple years.
WBA general manager Tiago Rodrigues said the 3GPP's 5G standards are designed to allow better integration between Wi-Fi networks and 5G new radio (NR), in recognition of the importance of Wi-Fi in carrying smartphone data.
“Investment in 802.11ax offers operators and enterprises a compelling proposition to dramatically accelerate the delivery of 5G use cases, at a much lower cost,” he said.
“However, it shouldn’t be viewed as ‘just the next evolution in Wi-Fi technology’ that can complement cellular. The WBA has developed this paper as part of its venture to raise awareness of 802.11ax as a standalone technology, providing new capabilities which can be used by the entire industry to address a whole new set of opportunities and use cases.”
According to the white paper, the benefits of 802.11ax include enhanced investment effectiveness, time to market and capacity and density.