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Wi-Fi and Private 5G are Forecasted to Power Enterprise Connectivity
[May 10, 2023]

Wi-Fi and Private 5G are Forecasted to Power Enterprise Connectivity

TMCnet News

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) recently released a comprehensive report titled 'Private 5G and Wi-Fi Convergence: Key Use Cases and Requirements.' In it, the report emphasizes the role of 5G and Wi-Fi convergence in deploying seamless, access-agnostic connectivity for enterprise organizations.

The WBA, along with its member organizations Cisco and HPE Aruba Networking, proposes that the power of 5G can be fully harnessed by integrating it with both new and existing Wi-Fi infrastructure. This, in turn, would enable organizations to transition to fully converged platforms (ones that offer broader, frictionless coverage and effortless user onboarding).

Wi-Fi is already prevalent within the majority of enterprises. The report suggests that the benefits of 5G in the near term hinge on an organization's capacity to incorporate it with current and future Wi-Fi capabilities. This integration would eventually lead to a fully converged platform offering enhanced user roaming without the need for administrative intervention.

The report further explains the need for Private 5G (P5G) to leverage the mature infrastructure already deployed for identity management, authentication, policy and management, instead of relying on a parallel infrastructure. The imminence of of Wi-Fi 6E is poised to be a significant milestone for the industry; it is forecasted to offer much in terms of deterministic capabilities, increased capacity, faster speeds, and decreased latency. These features render it a crucial component of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, as well.

Data from 2017 indicated that Wi-Fi accounted for 36% of business internet traffic in the U.S. This figure is projected to rise to over 50% by the end of 2023, reflecting increasing demand for reliable Wi-Fi connectivity as businesses expand their number of devices. Concurrently, the necessity for Private 5G in enterprise is growing, driven by new IoT use cases. Key factors for Wi-Fi adoption in enterprise networks include mobility, reliability, determinism, ultra-low-latency, and security.

Wi-Fi, particularly with the advancements of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 7, will continue to play a vital role in enterprise connectivity. This will create new opportunities for businesses, ranging from the use of augmented reality (AR) in education to mission-critical applications such as chemical leak detection or water level and flood management.

Moreover, Wi-Fi 6E introduces advanced, enterprise-grade capabilities on the 6GHz spectrum, such as deterministic quality of service (QoS) and multi-gigabit throughput. These features align extremely well with several 5G service profiles explicitly designed for enterprise applications, including factory automation, smart metering, mining, venue hosting, fault management, and surveillance.

To facilitate a successful transition to 5G, the report outlines four possible deployment models for integrating 5G into enterprise networks. Each model considers the nature of the application, latency in the core and RAN interfaces, and both the location and the manageability of services.

Looking forward, the report marks the first phase of a multi-step project aimed at providing enterprises with a feasible blueprint for Wi-Fi and P5G adoption and convergence. The next phase, set for Q3 2023, will move beyond modeling to focus on deployment guidelines and trial cases.

Edited by TMCnet en espanol

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