TIP OpenWiFi to Aid with Seamless, Integrated, Always-On Wi-Fi Connectivity

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2Q 2021 | IN-6170

A new Wi-Fi system is currently being tested in order to provide a wider range of connectivity and collaboration.

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OpenWiFi Launch Brings Together Companies to Provide a Converged Wi-Fi System


Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Open Converged Wireless (OCW) project group has announced the launch of the Release 1.0 of OpenWiFi, which is community-developed, converged Wi-Fi system. It brings together compatible indoor and outdoor access points (APs) at a range of tiers, a free open-source AP network operating system (NOS), and an enterprise and service provider cloud native Wi-Fi controller software, SDK. It is designed to provide the industry with the ability to deliver innovative, collaborative, and efficient carrier and enterprise Wi-Fi solutions. These solutions are designed to provide connectivity to all areas, including those in rural and urban areas, at an affordable cost. It also provides a complete automated suite of network management, making connectivity easy for users as they move around and improves the onboarding process.

Compatible products have the OpenWiFi logo to signal that they have been tested and are compliant and interoperable with the OpenWiFi system. It is designed to provide benefits such as low enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution barriers, faster innovation, easier adaptation for different use cases, reduction in development costs, multi-vendor interoperability, and more choice. By utilizing work from others in the industry, companies do not have to invest their resources, time, and money into what others are doing, allowing all of the community to save, as well as reduce costs for customers and increase profits. TIP OpenWiFi provides 90% of what is needed for Wi-Fi networks, enabling companies to focus on the final 10% of innovation. Over 100 service providers, OEMs, ODMs, software ISVs, system integrators, silicon vendors, and industry organizations, including Facebook, Qualcomm, TP-Link, and MediaTek, are currently part of the OpenWiFi community, all of which have access to everything, encouraging rapid development and customizable features in a plug and play architecture.

OpenWiFi Testing Phase and OpenRoaming Services


Laboratory and field trials of indoor and outdoor hardware and software products based on TIP OpenWiFi have now begun by a number of worldwide Wi-Fi and cellular service providers, as well as industry organizations and operators. For example, in Europe, Deutsche Telekom have started OpenWiFi laboratory trials in Berlin, Germany, and will be running field trials in Darmstadt, Germany. The multi-vendor OpenWiFi network is giving companies like Deutsche Telekom access to a variety of software and hardware specialists to enable it to offer a competitive and cost efficient residential and enterprise Wi-Fi network, which can be complementary to cellular network. Other trials include Vodacom in South Africa testing interoperable enterprise-grade networking; MTN Group in Africa evaluating OpenWiFi’s cost effectivity for multiple enterprise use cases; CableLabs in the US testing interoperability; CPqD, along with Edgecore Networks and NetExperience, in Brazil validating OpenWiFi for various use cases; and ITRI in Asia testing multi-vendor enterprise-grade networks.

TIP OpenWiFi supports a variety of enterprise and carrier features, such as standard application program interfaces (APIs), scalability, mesh networking, management, configuration, analytics, and OpenRoaming. OpenRoaming is a key feature of OpenWiFi, enabling Wi-Fi to be used complimentarily and seamlessly with cellular connectivity. Users can automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks, providing secure, seamless, private roaming between worldwide hotspots, such as in shops, hotels, and airports, without the need for passwords or manual intervention. A number of OpenRoaming trials have been undertaken, including Boingo and NetExperience collaborating with the Wireless Broadband Alliance in the US, American Broadband collaborating with Edgecore Networks and two Tier-One US operators, and Google’s Orion OpenRoaming service which has validated OpenWiFi.

COVID-19 and Increasing Device Numbers Highlight Need for Improved Connectivity


It is clear that major players within the Wi-Fi market understand the need for new innovations within Wi-Fi and the need to support integrated, converged, open solutions that will offer high quality connectivity across a range of locations and devices. Throughout 2021 and 2022, OpenWiFi trials are expected to continue, including testing Wi-Fi 6E open-source hardware. Into 2022, it is also expected that OpenWiFi will be officially released. The community will continue to grow over the next 18 months, with new companies and products expected to join.

It is recommended that companies within the Wi-Fi market should look to develop, deploy, and contribute to OpenWiFi’s progress, accessing the free open-source software for evaluation, solution building, and community participation and progress. This will allow new scalable, customizable Wi-Fi solutions, software, and hardware to be developed for a variety of use cases, which will be tested and validated to ensure they can leverage and are compatible with the OpenWiFi platform.

Wi-Fi is developing quickly, with a substantial number of new devices that require a strong, wireless connectivity at all times. ABI Research forecasts that Wi-Fi device shipments will increase from 3.1 billion in 2020 to 4.6 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 8%. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of strong, stable Wi-Fi connectivity, with people requiring connectivity in various locations for multiple simultaneous devices. TIP’s OpenWiFi is designed to aid with this increasing need for always on connectivity, ensuring the consumer and enterprise users have the ability to connect to a stable, integrated network where and when required.