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December 8, 2020

Wi-Fi Roaming Survey Finds Support for WBA Standard

Seventy-nine percent of service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises have or plan to adopt the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s OpenRoaming Wi-Fi standard, according to a Wi-Fi roaming survey from WBA.

The organization describes the standard as initiative to make “the world [into] a single, giant Wi-Fi network, allowing billions of people and their devices to connect automatically and securely to millions of Wi-Fi networks.”

Wi-Fi Roaming Survey

Other findings in the report:

  • 95% of respondents in the communications industry said that Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E will be important to their business and 65% say that they have deployed or will deploy Wi-Fi 6/6E by the end of 2021.
  • 67% said that the convergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G would be very important or critical to their future business plans.
  • Roaming is the top monetization strategy for 2021 and 45% put it in their top three. It is followed by offload (38%) and analytics (32%).
  • Fifty-seven percent believe that multi-access edge computing (MEC) will lead to new use cases for Wi-Fi.
  • Fifty-six percent say the smart cities sector is the top target as a primary vertical use case for Wi-Fi. This is followed by retail (39%) and education or campus networks (39%)

The technology has moved into the spotlight, according to the organization. “There was a time, not so long ago, that when we discussed the potential for Wi-Fi roaming or the convergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, we were met with blank stares,” WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues said in a press release. “Now, it’s the complete opposite. Across the comms industry, we’re seeing excitement building around these trends. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and this reinforces the role of Wi-Fi during the pandemic to keep everyone connected.”

It’s easily possible to guess what Rodrigues meant by 2020 being a difficult year. He also more directly addressed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have shifted traffic from offices to homes and many cellular and broadband providers are experiencing “massive, sustained” increases in residential traffic. He credits Wi-Fi in these areas with keeping the situation from becoming bleaker for businesses and people.

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