The newly re-elected leaders of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) believe the world is on the verge of becoming one giant global Wi-Fi network, and will outline a powerful and ambitious vision for the future of Wi-Fi at the Alliance’s 37th annual Wireless Global Congress, October 28th. 

Setting the scene ahead of the event—this year taking place entirely online—Chairman JR Wilson of AT&T and co-chair Dr. Derek Peterson of Boingo Wireless confirmed the WBA’s commitment to driving the creation of a secure and seamless global Wi-Fi network that could enable business users and consumers to switch to, and pick up, a Wi-Fi signal almost anywhere in the world. 

“The vision is that billions of people and their devices could automatically and securely connect to many millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world without the need for login, registration, or passwords,” said Wilson. “Roam from a coffee house Wi-Fi to a subway station network automatically, no need to re-login to maintain coverage. The world as a giant Wi-Fi hotspot with easy, secure, and seamless access and coverage for everyone.”

The vision encompasses new revenue streams for existing network providers, the creation of new and innovative business models for companies opening their networks, as well as new marketing, promotional and sponsorship opportunities. 

These changes will be made possible because of a series of developments led by the WBA and its member companies that are aiming to exponentially increase the power, speed, capacity, strength and roaming capabilities of Wi-Fi networks. Firstly, the WBA’s drive towards its OpenRoaming™ approach is facilitating and enabling the seamless transition between networks without the need to constantly re-register.

Secondly, the successful trials of the Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards are demonstrating significant improvements in reliability, efficiency and performance even in challenging environments for wireless signals.  And lastly, the moves by regulators around the world to release the 6GHz spectrum for use by Wi-Fi networks delivers radical improvements in service speed, latency and—most importantly—capacity for Wi-Fi networks.

“The WBA is leading the charge with technical and business model developments that can revolutionise the way we use Wi-Fi all around the world,” said Dr. Peterson. “Our vision is to create Wi-Fi networks that operate seamlessly and speedily, adding capacity for the tens of billions of devices looking to connect to fast wireless networks.”

The leaders will tell members and delegates at the Congress that these advanced Wi-Fi networks will have an increasingly important role to play alongside 5G and even 6G cellular services.  

“The economic argument for greater use of advanced Wi-Fi networks is really very compelling,” Wilson added. “Our vision for Wi-Fi sees it used to augment and accelerate the roll-out of advanced high-speed wireless coverage. The goal is to do this at a fraction of the cost by leveraging a potential host of private and public independent network providers.”