Guest Blog: A Sneak Peek Into the Opening Presentation

Guest Blog: A Sneak Peek Into the Opening Presentation

By CWNP On 06/27/2014 - 16 Comments

A sneak peek to Ganesh's presentation on the past and future of wireless at CWNP's Annual Conference. Full schedule here.

By: Ganesh Venkatesan

In the last 25 years, IEEE 802.11 has made incredible progress in wireless networking that has positively impacted the lifestyle of most people. The progression from desktop/laptop to handheld computing was possible only due to the advancements made in IEEE 802.11. The convenience of not being tethered to a wired network connection has enabled Use Cases that were only possible in the realm of Science Fiction. While IEEE 802.11 is a wonderful standard specification, the success of the technology is primarily due to interoperability and backward compatibility of implementations. That was made possible by Wi-Fi Alliance which made Wi-Fi synonymous with wireless connectivity.

In my presentation, we will briefly go over the history of IEEE 802.11, challenges the technology had to overcome, the role played by vendors and WFA in overcoming the challenges and making Wi-Fi ubiquitous. The synergy between IEEE 802.11 and WFA has made the technology real and usable in our day-to-day activities. WFA certifications were critical to ensure that independent implementations work seamlessly with each other and provide expected performance. While we take Wi-Fi performance for granted (it simply works), it was not easy getting there.

While there are several wireless technologies, IEEE 802.11 is unique in the sense that it can scale to meet the requirements of low-power low-range low throughput time-insensitive applications to real time, high throughput applications. With multi-band radios, applications can trigger modes of operation that best fits the application needs, adapt performance to match resource constraints and still preserve quality of experience. Some of these are facilitated by the IEEE 802.11 MAC and PHY features but also require significant advancement in application layers to become real.

In some cases, Wi-Fi complements other wireless technologies. Working together the technologies enable better user experience while overcoming inherent limitations. An example of this is Passpoint where cellular data is off-loaded to Wi-Fi where possible transparently without the user involved in the management of the network connection to the cellular and the Wi-Fi networks.

The success of Wi-Fi has also sparked new interest in regulatory bodies that are considering regulations that extend Wi-Fi operation to spectrum where Wi-Fi is not the primary user of the spectrum. As new spectrum becomes available and Wi-Fi's ability to co-exist with the primary users of the spectrum becomes robust, Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive in our daily lives.

We will then look at what is going on in IEEE 802.11 and the potential areas where Wi-Fi will play a major role in the near and long-term future. With advancements in the IEEE 802.11 specifications, corresponding certification programs from WFA and interoperable implementations from a variety of vendors, 802.11 will be exemplify IEEE's motto "Advancing Technology for Humanity".

Tagged with: Wifi, Wireless, IEEE, Conference, Presentation, Technologies

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