Report proposes an interoperable reference architecture for operators’ managed Wi-Fi deployment, operation, remote management and diagnostics of home networks.
London, UK, May 24, 2023: The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) today announced the publication of a technical report outlining a new operator-managed Wi-Fi (OMWi) reference architecture. The proposed framework will combine multiple available standards to streamline Wi-Fi data collection, Wi-Fi management, configuration, and optimization of home networks, simplifying the analysis and decision-making process for carriers. The paper, Operator Managed Wi-Fi: Reference Architecture and Requirements, is available as a free public download here.
Consumers expect reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi networks that enable their Wi-Fi devices to work at home with little to no set-up required. The paper discusses the various deployment challenges this presents for operators, who need to balance the cost of management and deployment with growing consumer requirements.
Currently, there exist several different operator-managed Wi-Fi solutions in the market, each utilizing different proprietary or standard methods for data collection, communication between the Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and the cloud, remote management, mesh formation, etc. Furthermore, each operator-managed Wi-Fi solution tries to solve the same problems in a different way, which yields non-interoperable and non-reusable solutions.
This results in considerable resources operators currently need to employ in order to navigate through the different techniques and standards available when delivering on end-user expectations. It also highlights the difficulties many operators still face when negotiating with vendors to ensure compliance with their own standards and requirements. The main problem put forth by the paper is that a holistic solution for an operator-managed Wi-Fi network, which incorporates the necessary standards into a reference architecture for the operators to use in their deployments, still does not exist.
WBA members led by Airties, British Telecom (BT), Deutsche Telekom and MaxLinear are seeking to simplify this analysis and selection process, leading to better resource optimization, while also allowing them to make more accurate claims when communicating their value proposition with end clients and users.
This paper represents the first phase of that journey, presenting an operator-managed Wi-Fi reference architecture that combines the benefits of all available standards, including Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) Wi-Fi EasyMeshTM, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data ElementsTM, and Broadband Forum (BBF) User Services Platform (USP) Data Models TR-369 and TR-181. Wi-Fi Alliance EasyMeshTM, for instance, can be utilized as the standard interface for Wi-Fi data collection, Wi-Fi management, configuration, and optimization on home networks with a standalone gateway.
WBA defines the building blocks for a reference in-home Wi-Fi network architecture that will cover both single wireless gateway and multi-AP in-home Wi-Fi solutions. This technical industry framework for operators defines how to implement and deploy a managed residential Wi-Fi technology, along with highlighting the reference architecture and explaining its advantages. This first stage will be enhanced downstream with an expansion of the scope of requirements.
Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “Wi-Fi and internet have become interchangeable terms in recent years. A user’s perceived quality of experience is therefore tied to the performance of their in-home Wi-Fi network. This is putting pressure on operators to better manage their residential Wi-Fi services. There are countless operator-managed Wi-Fi solutions currently on the market, all using different proprietary or standard methods for data collection, remote management, mesh formation, etc., making it extremely difficult for operators to provide a consistent level of service for their users. WBA and its members are seeking to change that with a new reference architecture that combines the best standards into one, holistic, cost-effective solution.”
Operator Managed Wi-Fi: Reference Architecture and Requirements, is available as a free public download here.
WBA Member Quotes:
“Thanks to the cross-industry efforts of the WBA, broadband operators around the world can now benefit from a standards-based, reference architecture for residential Wi-Fi,” said Metin Taskin, WBA Board Member and CEO & CTO of Airties. “This new operator-managed Wi-Fi (OMWi) report specifies the industry standards end-to-end to simplify integrations and deployments, enabling operators to focus more of their efforts on the quality of experience. Airties was honored to help lead this working group of industry experts, and we remain committed to supporting the WBA on future strategic initiatives.”
“As an industry we are always trying to get faster internet speeds to our customers,” said Sascha Dech, System Architect & Lead Developer User Interfaces at Deutsche Telekom. While we are making progress in getting it to customers homes, we also see an increasing demand to get proper managed residential Wi-Fi solutions in place. Standardization of components helps us to deliver on our key promises, a great user experience as well as having a reliable and fast connection to the internet.”
“MaxLinear applauds this effort to harmonize a common reference architecture for operator-managed residential Wi-Fi based on open industry standards such as EasyMesh, USP and TR-181,” said Dr. Leonard Dauphinee, VP & CTO of Broadband Products at MaxLinear. “By implementing this common architecture in free open-source software with the prpl Foundation, MaxLinear is able to deliver state-of-the-art Wi-Fi solutions to operators.”
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, BAI Communications, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom, BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom AG, Intel, Reliance Jio, Turk Telekom and Viasat. For the complete list of current WBA members, click here.
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