Wi-Fi Agile Multiband

Better resource management for
Wi-Fi® networks

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Agile Multiband™ facilitates better management of Wi-Fi network environments and enables Wi-Fi devices to better respond to changing Wi-Fi network conditions. Improved resource utilization helps balance Wi-Fi network load, increase capacity, and provide end users the best possible Wi-Fi experience. Client devices, such as mobile phones, smart TVs, and tablets, can exchange information with infrastructure devices to:

  • Apply intelligent access point (AP), band, and channel selection decisions
  • Avoid competition for resources within congested bands or APs
  • Minimize service interruption, even for demanding voice and video applications
  • Deliver a high-quality service regardless of changing Wi-Fi environment

Wi-Fi Agile Multiband uses several mechanisms to better manage spectrum and network resources, balance network load, increase mobility, and provide the best possible user experience:

Dynamic network monitoring: APs and client devices continually exchange information about the current Wi-Fi network environment

Intelligent steering: APs suggest another AP, frequency band, or channel to client devices when the Wi-Fi environment becomes congested

Fast network transitions: Once a client device decides to roam to a different AP, band, or channel, the association and connection happen quickly and seamlessly

Standards-based technologies bring an intelligent approach and interoperability

Wi-Fi Agile Multiband is a standards-based technology that brings improved network management to devices across a variety of vendors.

  • IEEE 802.11k: enables APs and clients to exchange information about the Wi-Fi environment
  • IEEE 802.11v: uses network information to influence client roaming decisions and facilitate overall improvement of the network
  • IEEE 802.11u: allows client devices to gather information prior to connection to other networks
  • IEEE 802.11r: brings fast transition between APs within a Wi-Fi network (optional)
  • Wi-Fi Alliance-defined technologies: supplement information exchanged, identifies preferred channels, bands or APs to increase intelligent Wi-Fi network management
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Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does a Wi-Fi Agile Multiband device help the user experience?

    Wi-Fi Agile Multiband devices enable the exchange of information. This exchange enables access points (APs) to guide client devices toward the best Wi-Fi environment for that device. In addition to steering client devices to another AP that is underutilized, APs can steer clients to other, less congested frequency bands or channels. The result is a more balanced network which in turn improves performance and user experience.

  • Don’t devices already do this?

    Many device makers and operating systems vendors do employ some of these capabilities. However, Wi-Fi Agile Multiband is standards-based, ensuring interoperability across vendors.

  • How do 802.11k and 802.11r contribute to reduced latency in Wi-Fi Agile Multiband enabled networks?

    Both technologies reduce the time it takes a client to roam between APs in the same network.

    • 802.11k reduces roaming time by allowing the client to rapidly determine which AP it should roam to next so when the client is ready to roam, it has a better idea of where to roam.
    • 802.11r also enables faster roaming by allowing encryption keys to be stored on network APs so the client does not need to perform the complete authentication process every time it roams to a new AP within the network.
  • What is the difference between fast transitioning offered by Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity and that offered by Wi-Fi Agile Multiband?

    Both enable faster roaming. Wi-Fi Agile Multiband uses Fast Basic Service Set (BSS) Transition Management (also known as FT). FT functions within the same Wi-Fi network (Extended Service Set, ESS), while Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity utilizes Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS) Authentication to enable fast authentication within the same network, or two different networks.

  • What are some consumer applications for Wi-Fi Agile Multiband?

    Wi-Fi Agile Multiband is for any Wi-Fi device because it enables more intelligent use of Wi-Fi network resources to help the device maintain the best connection – whether the device is moving throughout a Wi-Fi network or resides in a specific location. Tablet users walking through an office environment or home with multiple access points (APs) will connect to the APs that provide the best connection. Smart TVs can ensure that HD video streaming works seamlessly by moving to 5 GHz if the 2.4 GHz band becomes congested. Smart appliances, gaming systems, and more can benefit from the ability to monitor the Wi-Fi environment and move to new APs or frequencies when interference or congestion occurs.