WBA cross-industry survey reveals Wi-Fi 7 is top global priority to supercharge Wi-Fi capabilities and drive new IIoT use cases
London, UK, October 19th 2022: Wi-Fi 7 is emerging as one of the most important areas of investment in new connectivity technologies. That is one key finding from the latest cross-industry survey of service providers, technology vendors and enterprises by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the global industry body dedicated to improving Wi-Fi standards and services.
The findings, released by the WBA as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2023, reveal more than a third (33%) of service providers, technology vendors and enterprises already have plans to deploy Wi-Fi 7 by the end of 2023. Wi-Fi 7 will supercharge current Wi-Fi capabilities with new technologies, such as multilink operation and time sensitive networking – ideal for Industry 4.0 applications – while leveraging the 6GHz spectrum dynamically with automatic frequency coordination.
The report also revealed that Wi-Fi 6E has now become the de facto industry standard, with 53% having already deployed the technology and a further 44% already working on plans to adopt Wi-Fi 6E in the next 12-18 months.
Immersive Tech and Quality of Experience Driving Adoption
Uptake of Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 is being driven by a growing appetite for data-intensive, low-latency applications and use cases, from smart cities and immersive technologies such as the future metaverse to Industry 4.0. Newer Wi-Fi technologies offer better scheduling and greater interference management, which respondents to the survey now see as essential in supporting high-quality video, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other advanced consumer experiences.
The report detailed a renewed focus on the quality of experience (QoE) delivered to end-users, with 90% of service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises now ranking it as a key differentiator in monetizing their Wi-Fi services. Sixty-one percent of respondents identified services such as high-definition video streaming, AR, VR and potential metaverse applications as key revenue opportunities.
Momentum for WBA OpenRoaming Gathers Pace
Global momentum for WBA OpenRoaming™, which reached a milestone of one million hotspots in early 2022, was also underlined by the report. OpenRoaming enables users to connect automatically and securely to millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world without the need for logins, registrations, or passwords, facilitating “always on” connectivity. Passpoint technology removes the friction usually associated with onboarding and offboarding between hotspots. Sixty-two percent of service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide will have already deployed Passpoint/OpenRoaming technology or are planning to do so by the end of 2023. A further 25% are expected to deploy the technology by 2025.
Among those adopting OpenRoaming, 51% said the key driver was improving the overall customer experience.
Convergence is Critical
Other key findings from the report reinforce the need for convergence between Wi-Fi and cellular technologies in the interests of creating a seamless user experience:
- In enterprise markets, 70% said Wi-Fi and 5G will coexist, with 61% claiming convergence would support enhanced flexibility for enterprise services
- 53% said that convergence between licensed and unlicensed technologies was critical or important for the current commercial strategy
Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “What we’re seeing here is the industry at large identifying increasing value in Wi-Fi technology in the wake of highly anticipated new use cases. What’s more, service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises around the world know that those use cases are best served in a converged environment, where Wi-Fi and 5G complement each other. Therefore, we’re seeing the industry advance at breakneck pace toward Wi-Fi 7, with mobile operators leveraging Wi-Fi as part of their 5G strategies to maximize coverage and optimize capacity – it’s all about the user experience. This includes how people and things connect to the networks – automatically, securely and with privacy assured and that is where OpenRoaming provides the essential ingredient.”
Adlane Fellah, Senior Analyst Maravedis, said: “Ensuring a predictable quality Wi-Fi experience has become the main driver of innovation and collaboration in the industry. In a post-pandemic world, consumers and businesses expect more from Wi-Fi and rely on it more than ever. Immersive experiences, low latency applications and seamless roaming will drive the Wi-Fi industry for the foreseeable future.”
About the Annual Industry Report
The 60-page 2023 Wi-Fi Market Report, written by Analysts, Maravedis and Rethink, and published by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, is available for download at https://wballiance.com/resource/wba-annual-industry-report-2023/. As well as reviewing 2022, the report addresses emerging trends and business models in key vertical markets such as Retail, Aviation, Hospitality, Smart transportation, healthcare and general industry.
In addition, it charts the progress of technology trends and developments including standards evolution, OpenRoaming, Mesh Wi-Fi, and Mobile Edge Computing.
About the Wireless Broadband Alliance
Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is the global organization that connects people with the latest Wi-Fi initiatives. Founded in 2003, the vision of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to drive seamless, interoperable service experiences via Wi-Fi within the global wireless ecosystem. WBA’s mission is to enable collaboration between service providers, technology companies, cities, regulators and organizations to achieve that vision. WBA’s membership is comprised of major operators, identity providers and leading technology companies across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision.
WBA undertakes programs and activities to address business and technical issues, as well as opportunities, for member companies. WBA work areas include standards development, industry guidelines, trials, certification and advocacy. Its key programs include NextGen Wi-Fi, OpenRoaming, 5G, IoT, Testing & Interoperability and Policy & Regulatory Affairs, with member-led Work Groups dedicated to resolving standards and technical issues to promote end-to-end services and accelerate business opportunities.
The WBA Board includes Airties, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom, BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom, Intel, Reliance Jio, Turk Telekom and Viasat. For the complete list of current WBA members, click here: https://wballiance.com/join-us/current-members/
Maravedis is a boutique wireless infrastructure analyst firm founded in 2002. Maravedis focuses on broadband wireless technologies with a particular focus on Wi-Fi, cellular and IoT as well as industry spectrum regulations and operator trends. Its mission is to research, analyze, and provide guidance on the role of unlicensed technologies in the overall connectivity space. For more information, visit www.maravedis-bwa.com
Rethink Technology Research is a research and strategic advisory company focused on operator networks and business models in telecoms and digital video markets. Its forecasts and analysis are based on foundational intellectual property that has been developed and refined over 20 years, including a unique opt-in research panel of senior executives within Tier 1 and 2 telcos worldwide. Particular areas of expertise in wireless include 5G, Wi-Fi, network virtualization and monetization models.