Wireless networking is experiencing a period of exciting change with the development of new generations - from 5G to 6G, WiFi 6 and 7 - offering new use cases and business cases

Alongside this, broader trends include higher THz frequencies, LiFi and beyond, as well as the increasing role of Artificial Intelligence, small cells and disaggregation of networks, from 5G Service-Based Architectures to Open RAN.

The UK has a strong presence in wireless networking, from large established mobile network operators to exciting organisations taking advantage of the shift towards open networks.

Wireless networking

There are four types of common wireless networks:

  • Local Access Network (LAN): A local-area network is a computer network that exists at a single site, such as a home or office building. It can be used to connect a variety of components, such as computers, printers, mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, and data storage devices. Wi-Fi is the most commonly known wireless LAN, which operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands.
  • Personal-Area Network (PAN): a network centralised around the devices of a single person in a single location, such as computers, phones, game consoles and other peripheral devices.  They are common inside homes and small office buildings, with Bluetooth being the most commonly known wireless PAN.
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): a network that spans a small geographical area, such as a business or college campus.  The key differentiator with a LAN is the size of coverage, with a MAN capable of covering several square miles.  Large organisations may use a MAN if they have a sizeable campus and need to manage key components such as HVAC and electrical systems.
  • Wide-Area Network (WAN): a network covering a very large area, such as an entire city or borough.  Like the internet, a WAN can contain smaller LANs and MANs.  Mobile cellular telecoms services are the most commonly known wireless WANs.

Following a career in wireless technology in industry, academia, regulation and policy I'm well aware of both the world-class potential and the challenges faced today by the UK wireless technology researchers and companies. It's therefore a real privilege to be chairing the UKTIN wireless technology expert working group to build on the strengths and mitigate the challenges to help restore UK wireless technology capability and to reconnect a vibrant and internationally-connected wireless telecoms ecosystem.”


Chair, Wireless Networking Technologies Group

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Our focus areas
  • Trend to higher frequencies 
  • AI and automation
  • 6G and associated themes
  • Spectrum management
  • Standards