By 2025, 1.2 billion people are set to have access to 5G networks, according to the GSMA. Unlike previous upgrades of cellular standards, 5G will not only bring together people, data and applications, but also “things”, transport systems and cities in a smart networked communications environment.
Yet the industry still needs to agree upon the standards for the technology before 2020, when the first networks are predicted to be rolled out. The ‘5G new radio non-stand-alone standards’ were finalised in December 2017, while the ‘5G new radio stand-alone standards’ are expected to follow in June 2018.
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.
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. Take Network Slicing, for example. This is a key feature within the ‘stand-alone’ 5G standard, whereby a single network cell will be capable of providing different levels and types of service to different customers and devices within the cell.
Over the next few months, 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.
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