Network operators around the globe are deploying Wi-Fi® in business models tailored to fit their unique needs. As end users become more demanding and expect faster speeds, more reliable service, and superior experiences, Wi-Fi performance and ubiquity have created an opportunity for operators to utilize Wi-Fi to improve their network offerings in and outside the home, as well as in enterprise environments. Wi-Fi is being used to improve coverage, offload data traffic, increase network density, reach consumers with paid content outside the home, increase loyalty, and reduce roaming costs.

Operators face a number of challenges that they must address. Security and privacy needs have increased and become a must-have. New applications are demanding lower latencies. Poor client roaming has become a significant obstacle, as has the requirement to identify best fit devices and fix inconsistent performance of client devices. Mobile operators are also under pressure to upgrade to 5G to improve access. To support these needs in the face of diverse devices and environments, as well as numerous data sources, operators should deploy Wi-Fi equipment with the latest Wi-Fi certifications. 

The Wi-Fi industry is responding to the breadth of need with a tremendous level of innovation:

  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6® and Wi-Fi 6E enable cutting-edge services like AR/VR/XR to operate without lag or compromised quality by leveraging the latest capacity, efficiency, and performance
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint® enables data offload and allows operators to provide secure authentication of individuals to guest, public, and venue networks while also offering a mechanism for provisioning devices
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Location™ lets operators monetize Wi-Fi networks, as well as support business intelligence, offer location-based services, navigate indoors, and support self-locating access points (APs) for 6 GHz standard power operation 
  • Wi-Fi Device Metrics provides a consistent methodology and framework for characterizing device performance across a diverse set of use cases to help identify best fit devices
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED QoS Management™ provides mechanisms to prioritize traffic streams across networks (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and 5G) and best support applications that require low latency
  • WPA3™ and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Enhanced Open™ provide enhanced security for Wi-Fi networks 
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements™ defines key Wi-Fi performance indicators to enable monitoring and remote management of Wi-Fi networks
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh® extends Wi-Fi coverage in the home 

Wi-Fi brings unique characteristics and a roadmap of advancements that offer many benefits for operators and IT managers, such as better resource management, higher speeds, longer ranges, cost effective management, service differentiation, support for high-end use cases, and the ability to influence client roaming behavior in their managed networks. Already a powerful tool to increase capacity, the roadmap of continued enhancements under development will ensure that Wi-Fi technology continues to drive opportunity, including supporting and enabling new services, providing reliable and secure wireless connectivity, enabling energy efficiency goals with cognitive radio techniques, and supporting quality of experience for emerging services with low latency. .

With strong representation from operators, equipment makers, and consumer electronics makers in the organization, the Wi-Fi Alliance® collaboration forum is uniquely suited to bring about technology innovations that meet operator requirements. To ensure alignment and deliver the most valuable programs across the operator ecosystem, Wi-Fi Alliance has liaison agreements with other operator-focused organizations including CTIA™, GSM Association, Wireless Broadband Alliance, and CableLabs®.

Wi-Fi Device Metrics

As a leader in the innovation of Wi-Fi technologies, Wi-Fi Alliance has developed a framework to provide operators with a testing tool to evaluate the quality of devices on a network. Wi-Fi Device Metrics promotes standardized methodologies and uniform terminology to help characterize and evaluate Wi-Fi access points (APs) and client devices, providing measurement of throughput, latency, and user experience for a range of specific deployment scenarios. The best practices and definitions contained within this framework standardize performance measurement and simplify device evaluation. By enacting this framework, IT managers and network architects can evaluate AP and client devices more thoroughly in order to distinguish high performance devices that can provide a better customer experience for target applications.

Shape the future of Wi-Fi. Join Wi-Fi Alliance today.

Wi-Fi Alliance members continually develop enhancements to Wi-Fi that bring strategic importance to operator networks. Numerous operators from around the world participate in Wi-Fi Alliance to help shape our technologies and certification programs with the unique needs of service providers in mind. Learn more about Wi-Fi Alliance membership or contact us.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Passpoint bring to hospitality?

Hospitality chains may own many brands but a single consolidated rewards program. Without Passpoint, either the rewards program SSID needs to be added at every hotel or users’ phones must be configured with several SSIDs. Passpoint can function with a single profile that identifies the rewards program instead of a hotel SSID. When a user visits an associated property, their device will automatically identify the access point and connect.

Which Wi-Fi Vantage technologies help quickly connect to another AP or another network?

Wi-Fi Agile Multiband: Fast Basic Service Set (BSS) Transition, also known as Fast Transition, is based on IEEE 802.11r. Fast Transition enables devices to reauthenticate quickly with WPA2 security when roaming within the same Wi-Fi network, improving experience with latency sensitive applications such as voice over Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity: Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS) Authentication is a mechanism defined in IEEE 802.11ai to enable fast authentication to APs.

Why should end users purchase Wi-Fi Vantage devices?

Devices that are certified for Wi-Fi Vantage represent the most recent and interoperable Wi-Fi technologies for managed networks. Users will experience fewer connection interruptions during calls or video streaming, even while traversing through a transportation hub like a large airport. These devices, when used in a Wi-Fi Vantage enabled network, bring a more seamless and consistent connection and therefore a better mobile experience.

What is a managed network?

Managed networks are Wi-Fi networks, such as those operated in airports, stadiums, schools, office buildings, retail and hotel locations and other venues, that are “managed” by network administrators to optimize their coverage, performance, and network access. These networks are frequently open to the public or offer access to subscribers.

What features are planned for Wi-Fi Vantage devices in future generations?

Future generations of Wi-Fi Vantage will add enhancements in network access, frequency band and channel management, and reduced connection times, resulting in improved roaming and management of Wi-Fi networks.

How does Passpoint support service provider branding and customer relationships?

Passpoint enabled mobile devices can choose networks based on a list of preferred (direct or partner) providers, specific services and/or the best performance characteristics. For service providers offering a managed experience, seamless authentication is a valuable element, and Passpoint networks also support deployments where a click-through screen is essential for acceptance of terms and conditions or branding.

How does Passpoint equipment support Wi-Fi roaming?

Passpoint devices use industry-agreed uniform mechanisms for discovering and creating secured connections to hotspots. This allows a subscriber to experience seamless Wi-Fi connectivity to a hotspot anywhere in the world a user’s provider has roaming agreements. Passpoint is specified as a requirement for the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s industry work on Wi-Fi roaming.

What standards does Passpoint draw on?

Passpoint makes use of elements of IEEE 802.1X, 802.11u, 802.11i, and WPA3™-Enterprise security, as well as some Wi-Fi Alliance defined mechanisms.

Who created the Passpoint program?

Members of Wi-Fi Alliance created the program. The group which developed Passpoint includes service providers, mobile operators, fixed line operators, and makers of mobile devices and infrastructure equipment.

What does Passpoint mean for end users?

Passpoint provides a better Wi-Fi user experience while mobile. Users with certified Passpoint devices can enjoy the benefits of streamlined network selection and secure connectivity at Passpoint enabled hotspots. Passpoint-enabled devices operate based on user preference.

Can existing equipment be upgraded for Passpoint?

Most of the existing silicon is Passpoint capable. The hardware and software platform of a given device determines whether it can be upgraded in the field. Equipment that has previously undergone certification testing can be updated and resubmitted for Passpoint certification.

Does Passpoint support voice over Wi-Fi?

Passpoint is a key enabler for many applications. The scope of Passpoint testing is to ensure that the mechanisms for seamless discovery and creation of a secured link are implemented correctly. It is application-agnostic.

What is the Converged Wireless Group RF Profile Test?

The Converged Wireless Group RF Profile Test is a test plan that was jointly developed by CTIA® and Wi-Fi Alliance® to provide detailed radio frequency performance profile in a mixed-network (Wi-Fi and Cellular) environment. Manufacturers of converged handsets and Wi-Fi networking infrastructure devices (access points) can participate in this test program to provide carriers with independent evaluations of their equipment, and carriers can use the test reports to compare handsets from different manufacturers. Completion of CWG testing does not result in a Wi-Fi certification.

What is the benefit of the Converged Wireless RF Profile Test to carriers?

This industry-supported program provides detailed information about the RF performance of the Wi-Fi radio in a converged handset, as well as how the cellular and Wi-Fi radios impact one another. It provides a uniform evaluation approach that enables a standard way to contrast and compare converged devices.

What are the tests included in the Converged Wireless RF Profile?

The comprehensive over-the-air testing program provides detailed measurements on key parameters, described in layperson terms below. The measurements are taken in a 360-degree environment in order to create “real-world” conditions:

  • Measurements to provide information about the reach of a Wi-Fi radio signal sent by a converged phone or AP, called transmit power (TRP, or Total Radiated Power)
  • Measurements to provide information about how well the Wi-Fi radio can detect an incoming signal in a converged phone or AP, called receive sensitivity (TIS, or Total Isotropic Sensitivity)

In addition, the program includes:

  • Measurement of the signals ahead of the Wi-Fi antenna, called conducted power and sensitivity
  • Measurement of the reduction in sensitivity (desensitization) of a Wi-Fi receiver caused by the presence of an active cellular transmitter, and to ensure that the performance of the Wi-Fi receiver is within acceptable limits
  • Measurements of the desensitization of a cellular receiver caused by the presence of an active Wi-Fi transmitter, and to ensure that the performance of the cellular receiver is within acceptable limits

To complete the testing a device must also be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ for core Wi-Fi interoperability and WPA2™ security, and CTIA certified for cellular performance.

Are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products protected by security?

As of July 1, 2020, all new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices require WPA3. The only way to be sure that a product meets the latest security standards is to purchase only Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products.