Quality of Service award winner: Thomas Derham, Broadcom
July 15, 2020 by Thomas Derham
Wi-Fi Alliance® welcomes 2020 honorees into our Wi-Fi Alliance Hall of Fame. This series highlights the companies and individuals who have brought invaluable contributions to the Wi-Fi® industry, and have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to advancing the Wi-Fi Alliance mission to “connect everyone and everything, everywhere.” Wi-Fi Alliance recognizes Hall of Fame honorees in the following categories: Industry Impact, Mission Specialist, and Quality of Service. Read more on this year’s winners.
The Quality of Service award recognizes impactful leadership and exemplary service in the Wi-Fi industry by individuals who have, over a period of at least five years, contributed to our mission and made a difference in the Wi-Fi industry through leadership or active involvement in three or more Wi-Fi Alliance programs. Individuals receiving this award have contributed their expertise to a multitude of Wi-Fi Alliance programs.
What do you consider to be your proudest Wi-Fi accomplishment?
Participating in the efforts to evolve Wi-Fi from a simple wireless link into a sophisticated mobile network technology. The last few years have seen huge improvements in roaming and band steering, network discovery, security, differentiated QoS support, mesh networks and extenders, remote management capabilities and diagnostics, and access to new spectrum especially in 6 GHz band. It has been a fantastic experience to actively work on these technologies - across domains including engineering design, standards, implementation and regulatory - with colleagues both within Broadcom and across the industry.
What drives you to help proliferate Wi-Fi around the world?
Wi-Fi is such a fundamental part of how people around the world communicate with each other, learn, collaborate, stay safe, and consume entertainment. It is gratifying to know that my work on Wi-Fi will result in a meaningful impact on people’s lives around the world.
In your eyes, what is Wi-Fi’s biggest impact on the world?
Wi-Fi has had such a big impact because it just works and it scales well across so many use cases. Even as we add advanced features that help maximize network capacity in the largest stadiums and airports, or help handle all the new IoT and smart devices in homes and enterprises, the fundamental premise that anyone can use Wi-Fi to create a low-cost wireless network anyway, anytime - remains. This “permission-less innovation” - leveraging unlicensed spectrum, without the need for a subscription or expensive equipment - means Wi-Fi is the technology of choice to address the vast majority of emerging services and applications.
What is one Wi-Fi technology that you think will transform the Wi-Fi experience?
There are many Wi-Fi Alliance technologies that symbiotically enhance the user experience and the range of use cases that Wi-Fi can address. But if I were to name one particular technology, it would be Wi-Fi 6E - which is taking the major technology improvements introduced with Wi-Fi 6 (based on IEEE 802.11ax), and adding in support and optimizations for the 6 GHz band, which is starting to be made available for unlicensed operation in many countries around the world. Reliable and robust multigigabit throughput, super-low latency and the availability of a huge amount of spectrum to avoid slowdowns due to congestion, is a winning combination that will be the real basis for emerging services (sometimes called “5G services”) such as AR/VR, next generation cloud computing, etc.
Thomas is a Senior Principal Scientist in the Wi-Fi standards team at Broadcom. He has been working in the Wi-Fi industry for 10 years and holds several patents. He is an active contributor to several Wi-Fi Alliance specifications and programs including Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, WPA3 and EasyMesh, and holds multiple task group leadership positions including Chair of Optimized Connectivity marketing, Optimized Connectivity Technical Editor, Vice Chair of Passpoint marketing, Vice Chair of Multiband Operations technical, 6 GHz AFC Technical Editor, and Americas lead of Regulatory. He is also an active participant in IEEE 802.11, contributing in particular to the 802.11ax and 802.11be amendments.