UK SPF Cluster 1 Workshop: Future demand for Wi-Fi spectrum

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When: 17 September 2024, 11:00 - 13:00

Where: techUK, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD & Online

Cost: Free

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Join the UK SPF Cluster 1 for a special event to discuss the opportunities for the Wi-Fi industry. We will uncover how innovative Wi-Fi allocations and related technologies will enable service development.

The future spectrum needs of Wi-Fi and other local & personal access wireless networking technologies

The future spectrum needs of Wi-Fi and other local and personal access wireless networking technologies are rapidly evolving, driven by the increasing demand for high-speed internet and the proliferation of connected devices.

While Wi-Fi continues to play a pivotal role in delivering fast and reliable connectivity in homes, offices, and public spaces, it is essential to consider the broader landscape of wireless networking technologies. These include Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), New Radio Unlicensed (NRU), Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN), and Zigbee, each of which offers unique advantages and operates within different spectrum bands. As the number of internet-enabled devices grows and applications become more data-intensive, the competition for spectrum resources intensifies, necessitating a strategic approach to spectrum allocation and management to ensure seamless interoperability and optimal performance across various technologies.

In this context, exploring and addressing the spectrum needs of these diverse technologies is crucial for fostering innovation and meeting future connectivity demands. LAA, for instance, leverages licensed spectrum with unlicensed spectrum to enhance capacity, while NRU integrates with 5G to utilize unlicensed bands for improved service delivery. Similarly, LoRaWAN supports long-range, low-power communication suitable for IoT applications, and Zigbee provides low-power, short-range connectivity ideal for smart home devices. Each of these technologies has specific spectrum requirements and challenges that must be addressed to maximize their potential.

By adopting a holistic approach to spectrum management, policymakers and industry stakeholders can create a balanced and efficient wireless ecosystem that accommodates the needs of Wi-Fi alongside other emerging wireless technologies, ultimately enhancing connectivity and supporting the next wave of technological advancements.

WRC-23 outcomes and potential frequency bands

WRC-23 stands as a pivotal milestone in the trajectory of connectivity, wielding significant influence over the landscape of Wi-Fi technology and beyond. This landmark conference convened global administrations in a concerted effort around radio frequency spectrum allocations and to recalibrate the Radio Regulations to suit the evolving needs of our interconnected world.

Among Wi-Fi discussions, the 2.5 GHz band stand as a crucial focal point, having served diverse functions including powering Wi-Fi connectivity. Yet, the journey of this spectrum allocation has been one of evolution, shaped by the dynamic interplay of technological advancements and regulatory imperatives. While WRC-23 set a context for the harmonization of IMT allocated bands, this workshop will understand the impact of these and other decisions made at the international conference to the future of Wi-Fi. 

Steering the discourse towards other suitable bands we will uncover the oppotunities and challenges to the use of frequencies spanning between 7 GHz and 10 GHz, as well as mmWave frequency bands. In this workshop, Cluster 1 intends to explore all pieces of this debate, bringing together industry experts and stakeholders to discuss the path ahead for Wi-Fi. 

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