5G, the next generation of multi-access radio technologies, is anticipated to provide higher speed, greater capacity and lower latency to customers. The market practitioners are enthusiastic on about its great reactiveness, smart and much boosted capacity in supporting billions of connected devices and ‘things’.

WBA and our members believe Wi-Fi will be a core component of 5G communication technologies and Wi-Fi will have a significant impact on the definition of 5G which will seamlessly integrate with future IMT-2020(5G) standards. By bridging the gap between licensed and unlicensed technologies, Wi-Fi technology has a powerful role to play alongside other small cell technologies in enhancing and accelerating the deployment of 5G use cases.

WBA’s Next Generation Wireless Program on the 5G and Unlicensed in focusing on the next generation Wi-Fi technologies deliver 2 projects in 2018 which are Wi-Fi 802.11ax Guidelines and Trial whitepaper, and Unlicensed Integration with 5G Networks projects. The program includes guidelines, whitepapers, trial & testing plan which will help the industry players to maximize the opportunities towards 5G with Wi-Fi.

In the interim WBA will release a series of articles that will provide insights on how operators can take advantage of the Wi-Fi capabilities to support 5G-like use cases. Our first article will be on how operators can achieve network slicing based on existing Wi-Fi technologies.

Article: Network Slicing Under Wi-Fi Technology

The WBA’s 5G project group produced an early deliverable in the form of a whitepaper focusing on the Wi-Fi capabilities do address Network Slicing requirements under the umbrella of 5G architectures and use cases.

Network slicing is the key technology under 5G framework, 3GPP has outlined some of the key requirements regarding to the network slicing functionalities in 5G technologies (3GPP TS 22.261). With that said, it is arguably a new phenomenon given Wi-Fi has been delivering similar capabilities for years. Refer to our recent article on how operate can achieve the benefits from network slicing based on existing Wi-Fi network:

  • Associate a Wi-Fi device to a network slice
  • Move a Wi-Fi device from one network slice to another, and to remove user equipment (UE) from a network slice
  • Isolate traffic between different network slices in the same network
  • Define resources for a network slice
  • Prioritize between slices, in case network resources become over-subscribed
  • Enable a Wi-Fi device to be simultaneously connected to more than one network slice

3GPP Network Slicing Management
(Source: WBA article: Network Slicing, understanding Wi-Fi Capabilities)

Whitepaper – Unfolded the potential of 802.11ax, Enhanced Wi-Fi

WBA champions the opportunity to showcase the operator grade capabilities from the next generation of Wi-Fi standard – 802.11ax. The ‘ax’ standards is expected to be significantly faster than existing Wi-Fi, with wider channels, less congested networks with big advancement in overall throughputs.

Wi-Fi has a powerful role to play alongside other small cell technologies in delivering key use cases going forward in the 5G Era. It is important to leverage immediate opportunity to showcase the operator grade capabilities of 802.11ax systems with pre-standard trials, fast track the market adoption of 802.11ax and position as a key technology to address 5G use cases.

The capabilities of IMT-2020 are based around spectrum utilization, achievable data rates and many other characteristics of radio communications being improved for the user over previous technology generations.

The enhanced 802.11 capabilities compared with IMT-Advanced and IMT-2020 as indicated in the figure below:

Among others, of 802.11ax is expected to deliver up to 40% higher peak data rates for a single client device and improve average throughput per user by at least 4 times in dense or congested environments. It will also increase network efficiency and extend the battery life of client devices.

When adopting a new standard, it is crucial to ensure infrastructure and client devices will work together smoothly. Problems with compatibility can cause a fair amount of frustration for operators and the end users, especially if they have equipment that does not work well with the latest 802.11ax client devices.

The whitepaper leverages pre-certified devices available based on the latest draft of 802.11ax.

The trial will test pre-certified devices for interoperability, to avoid the many potential issues including a suboptimal experience in which consumers could see degraded throughput, decreases in network efficiency and increased interference.

Preview of the scope of the whitepaper:

  • Unfolding the potential of 802.11ax
  • How the industry shall deploy it the right way
  • How to ensure the users do not run into interop issues
  • Guarantee that equipment does not have to be replaced for interoperability reasons
  • Prioritize use case from operator community
  • Business opportunities for WBA members
  • Test plan to execute the early trial

Whitepaper – Integration of Unlicensed Technologies with 5G Networks

5G intends to enable a seamlessly connected society in the 2020 timeframe and beyond that brings together people along with things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in a smart net worked communications environment.

Rather than focusing on the definition of 5G standards, WBA vision is to focus on the use cases being discussed, their context for application throughout the real world, and how Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies can play a key role in enabling those under 5G framework.

In this whitepaper, WBA will advocate and clarify the role of Wi-Fi in 5G and avoid duplication of efforts at a standardization level.  We aim to help the industry identifying business opportunities through early testing of recent Wi-Fi VS Cellular aggregation technologies.


The paper will cover:

  • Definition of 5G networks and its components/technologies/architecture, leveraging on ongoing key forums work and use cases
  • Explore how 5G will increase network capacity, offload, service s enablement, policy, etc.
  • Explore how to combine licensed and unlicensed technologies on the 5G architecture to meet the broad range of IMT-2020 requirements
  • Explore how to address gaps between the different technologies (authentication, user usability, devices management, etc.)
  • Foreseen Wi-Fi evolution to cope with 5G predicted requirements and use cases – How WBA Members (Vendors & Operators) can work together to promote upcoming Wi-Fi capabilities, including standardization of interfaces
  • Early trials on approach to aggregate Wi-Fi and 5G (e.g. Multi -Path TCP)