Radiating Knowledge for Modern Communications


IMPORTANCE OF WI-FI and Data Offloading

Wi-Fi has been out there for nearly sixteen years. It has an interesting history. Wi-Fi was adopted quickly in late 1990s and early 2000s as a default Wireless LAN option for home networking. Enterprises were skeptical about it until security parameters were made more robust. Until this point, cellular operators didn't see any value or benefits out of Wireless LANs. Why? The technology uses unlicensed frequency bands. Interference was and still is a big challenge.

Two things happened in 2007:

(1) New MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output)-based Wi-Fi technology was introduced: 802.11n which was called High Throughput. MIMO was just one of the few features of 802.11n. Channel aggregation, higher modulation schemes and spatial multiplexing were other key features. It promised throughput of nearly 200 Mbps. Of course, cellular operators noticed this.

(2) Smartphones were introduced along with data-hungry applications. cellular operators needed to cater these data demands and found Wi-Fi very promising. If a cell phone is within Wi-Fi range, the data service can be catered through Wi-Fi and the operators' licensed frequency band will be less burdened.

In the Wi-Fi Fundamentals workshop from RF Academics, we talk everything about Wi-Fi – from technical specifications to efficient deployment strategies, security parameters, latest developments in terms of 802.11ac, and data offloading techniques by cellular operators.

The 802.11ac standard, which was ratified in December 2013, is considered as VERY HIGH THROUGHPUT technology. It is still going to use unlicensed frequencies in the 5 GHz band. The throughput it is trying to achieve is around 1 Gbps – that's really big. To achieve this, it extends the techniques pioneered in 802.11n: more antennas, wider RF channels, higher-level coding, more spatial streams.

We had MIMO in 802.11n; 802.11ac is going to support MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO). We review all these features in this workshop.