Wi-Fi’s critical role in the success of 5G is shown in a white paper from the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance.
The white paper was developed with input from mobile operators (including BT and Orange), telecom equipment manufacturers (such as Accuris Networks, Broadcom, Cisco and Huawei) and Wi-Fi advocates.
WBA and NGMN a Joint Task Force to produce the RAN Convergence White Paper which looks at the importance of existing and future Wi-Fi and cellular convergence.
It highlights techniques that enable convergence and identifies solutions to bridge the technology gaps.
According to the paper’s findings, mobile operators will benefit from the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G by gaining improved visibility into Wi-Fi networks.
This will enable them better to control customers’ experience, deliver improved services to customers and provide enterprise management solutions for Wi-Fi network to enterprise customers.
Wi-Fi operators will gain improved visibility and transition management as they operate overlapping cellular and Wi-Fi networks, which will ultimately result in an improved user experience.
Enterprise Wi-Fi networks will also be able to access 5G services provided by operators.
New business opportunities
Importantly, the paper identifies new business opportunities arising from the convergence of Wi-Fi and 5G at the network and RAN layers, for enterprise, manufacturing, public hotspots and residential applications.
A new set of 5G use cases and verticals could combined resources from cellular and Wi-Fi networks to support cheaper solutions that meet diverse sets of requirements like throughput, latency, connection density, coverage, availability and reliability.
The integration of the two has some technical challenges and the paper explores the benefits of creating a standardised interface between them.