Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity

Improving mobility

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity™– a key component of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Vantage™ – is a Wi-Fi Alliance® certification program that improves mobility and allows users to experience more consistent connections while roaming within and across networks by reducing airtime overhead and enabling faster authentication to the selected access point (AP). Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity™ enables users to experience quality connections throughout their roaming experience, as APs and client devices can exchange information to enable the following key benefits:

Optimized network discovery and selection: Mobile devices and APs employ improved channel scanning techniques to quickly identify potential Wi-Fi® networks available for connection

Link quality assessment: Provides metrics to assist client devices in quickly making decisions about the AP that will deliver the best possible connection based on bidirectional link quality estimation and network topology information

Rapid authentication: Utilizing Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS) Authentication, devices work together to reduce airtime overhead and enable faster authentication to the selected AP or network

Efficient transmissions: Significant reduction in transmission of management frames enables devices to spend less time responding to management information and more time moving user data

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity in action

A field test determined that devices using key components of Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity improve performance over devices not certified for these technologies. Using Wi-Fi Vantage™ features for enhanced network discovery and advanced roaming, results showed notably improved performance, decreasing setup times by 76 percent and reducing management frame and beacon congestion an average of 70 percent compared to Wi-Fi devices not certified for Wi-Fi Vantage. The service provider conducting the test was able to efficiently manage network resources, accommodate more devices, and deliver higher customer satisfaction. End users experienced faster connections, and more consistent voice and video calls.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity and Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity features are also key enablers of efficient AP discovery in the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6 APs that simultaneously operate in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band and the 6 GHz band – known as Wi-Fi 6E -  transmit a Reduced Neighbor Report element in 2.4 and/or 5 GHz to enable out-of-band discovery of the 6 GHz basic service sets (BSSs). APs that are only operating in 6 GHz band transmit FILS Discovery frames to enable efficient on-channel scanning. Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity APs can use the same features to enable efficient discovery of BSSs operating in other bands and channels, especially dynamic frequency selection (DFS) channels that have regulatory restrictions on active scanning.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which IEEE standards does Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity leverage to manage spectrum and network resources?

    Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity leverages features from IEEE 802.11ai, IEEE 802.11k, and IEEE 802.11ax to better manage spectrum and network resources, increase mobility, and provide the best possible user experience.

    • Select features from IEEE 802.11ai-2016, known as Fast Initial Link Setup (FILS), together with enhancements introduced in IEEE 802.11ax, introduce mechanisms to aid efficient discovery of APs and fast authentication
    • New features first introduced in IEEE 802.11-2016 and IEEE 802.11ax provide for enhanced metrics for AP and network selection
    • Additional features from IEEE 802.11k focus on informing client devices of channels on which neighboring APs are operating to optimize scanning
  • Which Wi-Fi Alliance technologies does Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity employ?

    Wi-Fi Optimized connectivity relies on several Wi-Fi Alliance features and mechanisms to help optimize network capacity by controlling network access according to received signal strength indication (RSSI), and define a variety of signaling and rules to help ensure consistent, interoperable behavior of devices and APs. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Agile Multiband™ is also a prerequisite for Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity, ensuring efficient management of Wi-Fi network resources in changing network environments.

Wi-Fi Alliance Member Publications
802.11ai Fast Initial Link Setup
7SIGNAL