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IoT and 5G won’t work without unlicensed technologies, claims report


The IoT will not work without the convergence and coexistence of licensed and unlicensed technologies, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).

The WBA, formed to promote Wi-Fi interoperability, said the key challenges for companies developing and deploying wireless services are quality of service and device availability. Unlicensed technologies like Wi-Fi must work with new cellular services like narrowband IoT and 5G if they are to be overcome, it added.

In an industry poll, the WBA said around 80 percent of businesses are looking to deploy next-generation Wi-Fi services by 2020 to enhance access and service quality, and to reduce churn.

Yesterday, ABI Research highlighted the development of Wi-Fi applications like HaLow, as well as the emergence of 802.11ad WiGig in 2017 and 802.11ax in 2019, as it predicted the market for short-range wireless connectivity to hit 10 billion shipments by 2021.

The IoT will push shipments of Wi-Fi connected devices to 3.75 billion before the end of the decade, according to parallel forecasts.

The Wi-Fi Alliance started certifying WiGig products last month, as it looks to show that Wi-Fi technology can also offer gigabit speeds over short distances.

The WBA said 62 percent of respondents in its survey reckon 5G will emerge as a combination of licensed and unlicensed technologies, and 88 percent consider unlicensed spectrum technologies to be critical for the development of 5G, due to factors such as enhanced throughput, reduced latency, better coverage and lower costs.

Shrikant Shenwai, Chief Executive at the WBA, said: “There has been a long history of innovation within the Wi-Fi community, and our latest Industry Report shows there are no signs of this slowing down. 5G, smart cities, Wi-Fi and convergence and coexistence between licensed and unlicensed technologies are going to play a huge role in the development of networks and in turn, deliver better services for the consumer.”