Communications service providers (CSPs) used to rest easy knowing they were equipped to meet their customers’ needs. Want a cable package? They’ve got it. Ready to bundle your phone and internet services? Easy. Eager to record your favorite shows? There’s a device for that.
Today, customer behaviors—and needs—have changed in ways only a few imagined just a decade ago. As people connect more devices to their home networks and rely on those networks more often for remote work and study, customers are demanding higher quality from their digital, in-home experiences. As a result, CSPs are under increased pressure to provide more value and keep up with an ever-changing market. Meaning, they’re facing some sleepless nights with few sheep in sight. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. In a recent interview with Intelligent Briefings about how smart home experiences have evolved, Plume CCO Tyson Marian broke down some of toughest challenges CSPs are facing and the solutions they need to future-proof their businesses—no matter how often customer expectations may shift.
Lack of agility
One of the toughest challenges facing many legacy CSPs is their inability to adapt quickly to changing customer preferences. They spend so much effort making the sale and getting hardware into people’s homes, but once they do, updating that hardware is a chore—or, worse, not even an option. So when customers inevitably want to expand or upgrade their services, their CSP isn’t equipped to meet their needs and those customers go elsewhere.
Cloud-based networks that automatically adapt
Enter: the cloud. By setting up cloud-based networks, CSPs can easily update their customers’ software and adapt to meet expectations. This way, they don’t have to waste precious time and resources switching out the hardware or building new services from scratch. “The cloud services that we deliver allow the CSP to immediately turn on new services at the snap of their fingers, so they can get to more people at a very fast pace,” Marian said. “Our belief is that it will no longer be about the speed of the network but about the speed at which you can deliver new services. And that can only happen if you’re delivering those services from the cloud.”
“Our belief is that it will no longer be about the speed of the network but about the speed at which you can deliver new services.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO
Frustrated customers who need support
No customer wants to spend hours on hold, jumping between customer- and tech-support representatives just to find out why they don’t have service. Unfortunately, that’s still the reality for many subscribers.
Systems that predict issues before they happen
CSPs can prevent these frustrations by using data and technology to anticipate—and address—issues before they occur. Take, for example, Signal by Plume, which uses AI to monitor WiFi speed and connection across devices in customers’ homes. Once it spots a potential issue, Signal alerts CSP support teams before the customer is affected. From there, the CSP can proactively reach out to the customer with a ready-made solution or use their software to solve the issue remotely. During the pandemic, Plume saw that many customers were using more WiFi to take calls on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The system immediately sent targeted emails to those customers that said, “Working from home? Upgrade now from 50 to 75Mbps speeds for an extra $10 a month.”
“That’s how you can turn what was a symptom and a problem into incremental revenue. All of that is 100% data-driven.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO
Decreasing market share
Due to the obstacles above, CSPs are losing market share to more agile competitors. Just look at big tech companies like Amazon that are swooping in to deliver advanced broadband and video services. If CSPs want a chance at competing and surviving, they need to adapt not just to win new customers but to retain the customers they already have.
Partners to help boost customer retention
When Plume is delivered through a single access point in customers’ homes, CSPs have seen customer churn decrease by as much as 30%. When those CSPs add Plume coverage options like WiFi pods and extenders, churn can drop by another 30%. That amounts to major increased revenue. As Marian pointed out, a lost customer can cost CSPs more than $1,000. And then acquiring a new customer to replace them can cost another $400.
“If you can keep a subscriber in our industry for an additional two years, about $1,700 goes to your bottom line. Those are pretty big savings for our CSP customers.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO
LitePoint’s Rex Chen is the author of this blog, which is based on his presentation at the RCR Wireless News Editorial Webinar titled Minding the mid-band: C Band and CBRS efforts.
Wireless spectrum has become one of the most important resources to stay connected because spectrum is the utility for all wireless communication. Mid-band spectrum, specifically in the 2 GHz – 4 GHz range, is playing an important role in 5G, both globally and in the U.S which include:
In 2020, the U.S. C Band spectrum auction raised more than $81 billion, demonstrating the immense value and potential of mid-band spectrum for wireless communication. Each mobile network operator has a different mid-band strategy based on spectrum holdings – both in terms of how much spectrum they own and whether they need more low or high band frequencies.
Mid-band spectrum has the advantage of known transmission characteristics that is similar to existing 4G frequency bands. Mid-band frequencies are considered “goldilocks spectrum” because they have characteristics of good coverage (similar to low band frequencies), and fast data rates (similar to high-band frequencies). But there are challenges to these RF bands due to how the band has been divided for its incumbent users. MNOs then need to devise spectrum sharing and spectrum usage strategies.
Smartphone design using mid-band spectrum can support world phones that have global cellular coverage capabilities. In many instances, it has a contiguous spectrum, and the short wavelength allows innovations like MIMO between 8 and 16 spatial streams. This enables an ideal degree of spatial multiplexing, where operators can use beam forming techniques to target users spatially – increasing the capacity.
Why Mid-Band is so Valuable
Deployments for 5G mid-band is occurring across multiple countries including the U.S., Europe, Korea and China starting in the past year and a half. This trend will continue as MNOs start to work with higher frequency ranges of the spectrum.
Mid-band spectrum provides the opportunity for a contiguous spectrum with the potential for channels that are 200 to 400 MHz wide. This requirement presents new challenges for filters and other RF components and requirements that must be met by both mobile devices and base stations. LitePoint is seeing instance where in actual deployments, carriers aren’t using an entire capability because they’re still testing to make sure it works for across-the-board deployments.
Increase in remote work, video conferencing and other high bandwidth applications means that uplink capacity is becoming more important than ever. This in turn is leading carriers and chipset makers to re-think how they mix and match spectrum resources. There are inherently many use cases for 5G that may result in making deployment challenging – but the variety of device requirements has made mobile network carriers understand that mid-band is necessary as part of 5G growth moving forward.
To gain more insights on 5G mid-band status and wireless test challenges in this spectrum, as well as hear what other industry leaders have to say, watch this editorial webinar. You can access it on the LitePoint webinar page.
WCI provides comprehensive solutions for senior living staff and residents. Today, there is a new demand for senior living technology systems. Here’s how we’re helping advance technology systems for senior communities.
Encouraging exceptional care experiences
ImpruviX provides high-performance networks for a seamless technology experience. ImpruviX ensures residents and staff are constantly connected through reliable connectivity and smart room technology. Furthermore, we focus not only on resident comfort but staff supplementation as well. Our software features a technology monitoring system so senior living staff can assist residents remotely, reducing the time spent in individual rooms.
Ease of accessibility
Technologies create a safe space for your residents. ImpruviX creates a smart space for seniors, combining ease of access with improved security. ImpruviX Surveillance, powered by Eagle Eye Networks, monitors restricted areas with best-in-class access control integrations and is fully HIPAA compliant. The VMS is a simple, scalable, and cost-effective way to monitor for property patient care, protect valuable assets, and ensure staff is meeting all health and safety standards.
Smart technology is essential for resident safety and security
ImpruviX enables senior living staff to provide superior service with remote monitoring systems. Our monitoring system can alert staff when a resident goes beyond a set boundary or moves about the room during a fall-risk situation. Additionally, the ImpruviX security system can alert staff if an approaching visitor is running a fever and can provide analytics for how many people are in and out of the building.
Furthermore, the increased accessibility also provides superior legal security. Our monitoring system is HIPPA compliant and can save video content for a customizable set of time, ranging from days to years. Our monitoring system ensures your staff is protected.
At WCI, we provide comprehensive care solutions for our customers and clients.
For more information on our senior living capabilities, visit https://wcitv.com/impruvix-networx/.
The following article was authored by our Head of Marketing, Susan Gallotti, about how she used WiFi Motion to help her mother age in place.
My mom has always been set in her ways. She was a woman of routine who would do the groceries every Saturday at 8 A.M like clockwork and vacuum the main floor every afternoon at 3 P.M. just before us kids and our dad would come home. It was hard for me to have that picture of my mom in my head change as she got older. I always knew the day would come when I had to take care of my mom, but I didn’t realize exactly how hard that would be. While being a caretaker can be extremely rewarding, it is also exhausting and draining to manage alongside other conflicting priorities, and for me personally, my own stress and anxieties. Working for Cognitive at the time, I was lucky to have access to WiFi Motion, which helped reduce the stress of becoming a caretaker for my mom.
As a true product of her 1950s upbringing, being the perfect housewife for my mom meant being the caretaker of the family and home. Her top concerns were always organizing the home, her sanctuary, and keeping her family healthy, happy, and well fed. So naturally, everything in our home had its right place. When I was younger, I can remember being constantly trapped in a cycle of grabbing a new water glass, placing it down somewhere, and coming back only to find it missing because my mom put it back in the sink. Rinse and repeat. And dinner was always sacred for her. Never having worked a day in her life, my mom loved being able to have a delicious, warm meal ready when the family came home at the end of the day. If I was lucky, it would be my favorite: spaghetti and meatballs.
As my mom got older, much of this reality changed for her. Her children had grown up and moved away to start families of their own and her husband, my father, unfortunately passed away. Suddenly, my mom, who thrived off of being a homemaker, now faced the reality of aging alone in her home without others to tend to. For someone like my mom, who was a bit of an introvert and a homebody, being left to one’s own devices for the majority of her days left her feeling without purpose. The woman who had always seen herself as the caretaker of the family no longer had family at home to take care of. She was the kind of person that was great at taking care of others, but not so great about caring for herself. So, she never complained or voiced any concerns about her comfort or health to me or my siblings. You see, my mom never wanted to be a burden. Admitting she needed help was the last thing she wanted to do. This would result in her refusing to call a repairman or a family member if the plumping or appliances in her house needed work. Instead, she’d just let the problem sit for months until the next time it happened to conveniently come up on one of our visits from out of town.
Taking Stress Out of the Equation
And for a time, that’s how things were in our family. More and more, my sister and I found ourselves pulled in a million directions, attempting to juggle demanding careers and raising children. I developed the worrying realization that my mom was quickly approaching the age where she would need a more watchful eye and I wasn’t sure how I was going to make add taking care of her to my already overwhelming list of responsibilities. Also knowing my mom, I wasn’t even sure that she would accept the help.
Since my mom was living alone, my sister and I were constantly worried about her. We weren’t sure if she was getting enough exercise, if she was safe, or even if she was eating right. However, since we were managing our own busy jobs, all we could do was regularly check-in with her through phone calls. My mom has always been bad with technology though. Being used to rotary phones and fearful about telemarketing calls, she had the frustrating habit of leaving the phone off the hook, no matter how many times we reminded her not to. My sister and I would spend hours, sometimes days, trying to reach her by phone, trying to juggle our work and family commitments to figure out who had the time to drive to check on her.
One time, we had been unable to reach my mom all night, but my sister and I had busy work days with looming deadlines, so both of us spent the day stressed and anxious, trying to re-organize commitments so that one of us could drive over to check in on her. Imagine how frustrated we were when we showed up only to see our mom absolutely fine at home, with the phone off the hook again. Annoyed that we had to reschedule meetings or fall behind on projects, we’d let out our irritation on our mom, even though she didn’t know better. When all that emotion finally boiled over and our mom was left looking guilty over yet another innocent mistake, we knew we couldn’t keep barging in on her, putting our lives on hold, and having everyone feel so frustrated. The guilt-ridden exchanges lessened once we got WiFi Motion set up in her home. It would be as simple as my sister texting me to say “I can’t reach mom.” I would open up the Live Motion view on the WiFi Motion app and immediately be able to relay back to her that there was movement near the kitchen less than an hour ago. That would prevent the emotional tsunami from even getting underway. It freed us to continue about our days without all the stress of letting our imaginations get the best of us.
Fearful of change, my mother’s worst-case scenario was to move out of the house that she had helped build and lived in for almost five decades. As well, my mom has always been a bit fearful about going out into the normal everyday world. As she aged, she wanted less and less to go grocery shopping or even to the hairdresser. But on the flip side, mom was scared of living alone. She would obsessively check that the garage door was closed or that the windows and doors were locked.
We needed something that would allow her to age in place confidently and comfortably while providing my sister and I with peace of mind. We wanted to take a proactive approach to keeping her safe, happy, and healthy that would ultimately break the vicious cycle of anger, guilt, and frustration. Parents shouldn’t have to be accountable to their kids, after all.
This emotional turmoil I experienced was only made worse by how busy my life was at the time, and how stressed that made me about being a caregiver. I was working a full-time job, commuting over an hour and a half each day, juggling the shifting schedules of my kids’ extracurriculars and my husband’s shift work, keeping my dog happy and healthy, and all while having to remember to check in on my mom regularly for mundane things such as taking out the garbage or buying groceries. A simple phone call from my mom saying “the fridge died again” would be enough to send me into a panic attack in the corner. It forces you to feel angry at the responsibilities thrust upon you, but then guilty for feeling that way.
I never expected to be taking care of a parent while I was still raising my own children. This is the part of being a caregiver that no one wants to talk about. When you’re overwhelmed in your personal or professional life, you don’t want to have to deal with a parent’s demands on your time but then that leaves you feeling guilty about not being a better child or losing your temper at your parent. The anxieties with caring for an aging parent inevitably bleed into other relationships in your life such as your spouse, children, or siblings as you have to keep more and more plates spinning at the same time. Simply put, being a caretaker is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s rarely convenient, often fraught with awkward conversations, frays on your last nerves, and pulls on your deepest heartstrings. Those feelings can take a serious toll on your own health.
Luckily, at the time I was working with Cognitive and was immersed in their WiFi Motion technology. Dealing with all of this in my personal life made me that much more passionate about the possibilities behind our technology. While its eldercare applications were yet to be explored, I could see the potential for a simple system that would allow my sister and I to remotely check on my mom and gain insights into her daily life. No more frantic check ins. No more anxieties about her safety. We wanted to be able to catch problems before they became too serious. Especially since we knew that mom could be obstinate when it came to asking for help or being truthful about her daily life.
Bringing WiFi Sensing into the Home
I would describe my mom as having been technologically inept. Before bringing WiFi Motion into her home, she didn’t even have an internet connection. In a way, setting up the router and pods for the monitoring system was a soft onboarding for her into the world of technology. Sure, she didn’t fully understand everything you could do with a connected device but she knew it was active in her home. After all, there was no device she had to manage or wear. She didn’t even need to understand the technology for it to work. She could go about her day and my sister and I could look into her well-being with Live Motion.
While this setup was great for quick check ins, it also helped us learn things about my mom that we would never have thought to ask about. For example, we noticed that she wasn’t leaving the house very often – even though during our visits she would tell us that she took regular walks. Or, we noticed less movement in the kitchen. Cooking had always been such an important thing for my mother, especially as a mom and wife. Now living alone, she had lost that sense of purpose when it came to cooking. A simple thing like knowing that she was not spending as much time in the kitchen was enough to prompt me to buy my mom some new frozen dinners that she would have never purchased for herself, helping her discover some new meals that were interesting to her and easy to make so she’d be more likely to eat a regular and balanced diet. It was these tiny insights about her behaviour that provided us with information to make small changes that supported her living at home but weren’t confrontational or would threaten her independence.
Giving Mom Space to be Herself
We wanted to make sure our mom was still living the way she wanted without feeling like a burden. After all, she saw herself as the caretaker, not the other way around. With WiFi Motion, we could get back to what mattered to my mom – being the rock of the family and home. Visiting my mom was no longer this big emotional tsunami that would leave people more hurt than before. We could focus on just spending time with our mom and enjoying her company now that we had a bit of visibility into her health and activity. We were finally able to get back to spaghetti and meatballs and leaving glasses where they shouldn’t be; the latter trait being one that I recently discovered is perhaps inheritable. After being chastised by one of my own kids for twice putting his water glass into the dishwasher when he wanted to use it as a hydration reminder, I couldn’t help but think of my mom and smile. It’s those happy moments that I am glad dominate my memory of her in her old age. Miss you, mom.
If there’s one place we should all feel safe and relaxed, it’s in our own home. But ironically, because the security of our home is so important to us, it’s also a major point of anxiety. The contentment we’re all looking for often eludes us because of one thing: the unknown.
“Did that noise come from downstairs?” “Did the repairman arrive and leave at the appropriate time?” “Is the baby sleeping through the night?” “Have the kids been in the TV room all day?”
When we don’t know, concern sets in. Enter WiFi Motion – a motion intelligence system that can be used for home monitoring. It gives you the information you need to put your mind at ease, providing solutions to inherently personal problems. It does all of this simply by using your existing WiFi ecosystem. From a single-family home to multi-unit building, from a big family to a person living alone, these everyday insights can alleviate some of the nagging stresses of daily life.
To learn more about the ways in which individuals and families alike are benefitting from this convenient technology, we interviewed two users with very different home environments. What we discovered is despite their differences, WiFi Motion enabled them both to go about their day with an extra layer of security for themselves and/or their loved ones.
Ease concerns about living alone
For Amanda, living alone doesn’t mean she’s losing sleep over personal security – the information she needs to feel safe and sound is right at her finger tips.
Amanda has always looked forward to living on her own, but as someone who tends to fixate on small sounds or oddities, she was seeking a solution that could help her get excited at the idea. Today, she lives in a large condo building and uses WiFi Motion to put her mind at ease and confirm there was no unusual activity in her apartment.
“I knew moving into such a large building with multiple residents, I was bound to hear the odd sound every now and then. Normally they are easy enough to ignore, but there was one night in particular I kept hearing this sporadic noise while trying to sleep and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Every time I thought it had stopped and was about to fall asleep, it would start again. The unease of not knowing where it was coming from was enough to keep me up most of the night. Having the ability to quickly check my phone and confirm there was no activity in my unit or see when motion was last detected has certainly helped my sleep schedule.” she says.
Motion detection insights also help when she gets home at the end of the day. She can easily check her app as she’s entering the building to reassure herself that there was no motion inside while she was away. “When I’m leaving my place early in the morning and not arriving home until late at night, knowing that I can easily confirm that nothing went on in my unit while I was away is comforting.”
She can also make sure building maintenance workers are acting with integrity in her home and confirm that they didn’t linger, especially in private rooms they don’t need to be in. Ultimately, Amanda enjoys the freedoms of living alone while feeling comfortable and protected in her own personal haven.
Families gain a clear conscience
Geordie who lives with his wife and young son, appreciates that he can monitor not only the security of his property, but the activity and sleeping patterns of the whole family.
On top of typical home security concerns, families have the added stress for the safety of their spouse and kids – and Geordie’s family is no different. Often on the go, he can have a clear conscience that his properties are secure, his children are where they’re supposed to be, and can understand the activity and sleeping patterns of the whole household. With today’s busy family lifestyles, having WiFi Motion within the home is like a third set of non-intrusive eyes when parents are occupied or away.
“With young kids, you wish you could have eyes everywhere, all the time,” Geordie explains. “My wife is a teacher and has recently gone back to working in the classroom. We both like having the ability to see the activity patterns in our home and see how our son and his caretaker are spending their day without the caretaker feeling uneasy that she is being watched.” He appreciates that he can receive notifications while at work about the activity in his home right from his apple watch. WiFi Motion can let him know that his son and caretaker are home from the park, that there is activity in the playroom downstairs, or that his son is getting ready to take a nap in his bedroom.
Geordie’s family also has a cottage, and he has added peace of mind there too. WiFi Motion works together with the existing security system to provide further insights they did not get with just the security system alone. “When we’re at the cottage, we can check to make sure there’s no unusual motion at home. And when we’re at home, we can also keep tabs on the cottage. We have the ability to monitor both at our fingertips.”
He also uses WiFi Motion to learn more about his family’s health-related habits. He can conveniently make sure his son is getting a full night’s rest or check in to see household activity throughout the day. “There are so many things to consider when ensuring your child’s development is on track and having access to these insights is just one more tool in my parenting toolbelt.”
Home Security made simple
WiFi Motion is, for anyone who wants a little extra peace of mind. While Amanda and Geordie live very different home lives, the one thing they share, as we all do, is a desire to feel comfortable, safe, and happy in our homes. These reassuring insights make this a reality—without having to install any cameras, motion sensors, or other hardware. WiFi Motion is layered onto an existing router, without compromising their original functions, network speed or privacy. It’s home security made simple. Turns out, security is as much a feeling as a tool and WiFi Motion is the perfect way to get both.
Latest achievement demonstrates Calix’s commitment to support industry standards to ensure that broadband service providers can leverage solutions that meet the latest industry standards while maintaining the flexibility to adopt the broadest possible array of technology in the future
SAN JOSE, CA – November 16, 2021 – Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) today announced that its GigaSpire® BLAST systems have achieved BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi industry benchmark recognition from the Broadband Forum. The BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi industry benchmark is included in the Broadband Forum’s (BBF) Issue 2 TR-398 standard. To ensure impartiality, the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Laboratory (IOL) conducted a rigorous and vendor impartial new performance test plan. The test measures Wi-Fi performance against a set of absolute requirements, which GigaSpire BLAST systems far exceeded. These achievements demonstrate the longstanding Calix commitment to meet broadband industry standards across its entire portfolio. The industry-leading GigaSpire BLAST systems are part of the fully integrated Revenue Edge Solution, which enables Broadband Service Providers (BSPs) to adopt and deploy new systems and innovative services in days or weeks rather than the typical months and years with a traditional premises model. By pairing the GigaSpire Blast systems with the Calix Cloud and Revenue Edge Suites, BSPs can simplify their operations, excite their subscribers, and grow their value.
Beyond this most recent certification, all Calix GigaSpire BLAST systems can also be managed by any BBF TR-069 compliant Automatic Configuration Server (ACS) to automate remote provisioning and link a subscriber’s device to a BSP’s network and support teams. Calix recently surpassed the milestone of full compatibility with 90 non-Calix gateways and CPE devices with Calix Support Cloud—and further extended its commitment to industry standards by adding support for technical specifications such as Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements™ to its software stack, with plans to add Broadband Forum’s TR-369 standard in an upcoming release. Calix champions industry standards in many ways including:
“Calix is helping to accelerate innovation in the broadband industry by adopting industry standards and benchmarks like TR-398 and BBF.398,” said Lincoln Lavoie, Broadband Forum technical chair. “With new critical performance indicators (KPIs), the standard provides a sharper overview of overall device performance to help operators select the most appropriate business and home solutions to meet subscriber Wi-Fi connectivity demands.”
BBF Issue 2 TR-398 seamlessly validates the devices used in broadband deployments—and sets industry benchmarks to optimize their performance while addressing and identifying potential operational issues before they hit the market. It also updates multiple performance test cases.
“We are proud that the Calix GigaSpire BLAST family are pioneering the deployment of next generation Wi-Fi systems that are first to achieve BBF.398 Grade Wi-Fi industry benchmark validation. This certification marks the latest milestone in our longstanding and continued commitment to open industry standards and organizations,” said Michel Langlois, chief technology officer at Calix. “Without industry standards, products are more expensive to acquire and operate or substitute. Standards help create competition, accelerate innovation, and drive differentiation. Differentiation is how Calix enables BSPs to win, stand out above the rest, and create amazing experiences for their subscribers.”
Register today for the virtual ConneXions Learning Experience for in-depth live and on-demand sessions offering valuable insights for simplifying operations, exciting subscribers with value-added services, and growing value for communities.
Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) – Calix cloud and software platforms enable service providers of all types and sizes to innovate and transform. Our customers utilize the real-time data and insights from Calix platforms to simplify their businesses and deliver experiences that excite their subscribers. The resulting growth in subscriber acquisition, loyalty, and revenue creates more value for their businesses and communities. This is the Calix mission; to enable broadband service providers of all sizes to simplify, excite, and grow.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements that are based upon management’s current expectations and are inherently uncertain. Forward-looking statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this release, and we assume no obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking statement to reflect any event or circumstance after the date of this release, except as required by law. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from current expectations based on risks and uncertainties affecting Calix’s business. The reader is cautioned not to rely on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Additional information on potential factors that could affect Calix’s results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed in its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC and available at www.sec.gov.
High-performance use cases such as Work From Home, industrial IoT, telehealth and 4K streaming video are driving adoption of a new generation of Wi-Fi connectivity. These use cases come with high expectations even as the complexity of Wi-Fi networks and the interoperability challenges surge. How can service providers and vendors ensure Wi-Fi 6/6E and beyond deliver the performance their customers demand? They must thoroughly test new Wi-Fi products and services in controlled, repeatable conditions that mimic the real-world.
LitePoint’s Eve Danel is the author of this blog. In this post, you’ll learn about updates to the Bluetooth, Ultra-Wideband and Wi-Fi specifications that improve location capabilities.
Recent standards updates to Bluetooth, Ultra-Wideband and Wi-Fi have introduced new and more accurate location capabilities that allow wireless device designers to use these technologies to support new indoor location applications. In this blog post we will review these methods and see how they compare to provide improved capabilities.
These location capabilities can be used to find people or objects with high accuracy where GPS and other satellite technologies – which are primarily for outdoor applications – lack precision or are blocked by buildings or other obstructions. While other indoor positioning systems can detect the location of an object, their accuracy can be on the order of several meters – which means that they cannot be used in many applications where more precision is required.
Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have already been used in many deployments for indoor location. Previous versions of these technologies had location capabilities that were based primarily on receive signal strength indicator (RSSI). This method can determine the distance between the transmitter and the receiving point by measuring the received signal strength, and then perform positioning calculations based on the corresponding signal attenuation. The accuracy of the RSSI method is limited by several factors, primarily if there are obstacles between the transmitter and the receiver causing attenuation, the accuracy of measurements will be reduced. The signal strength measurements can also be degraded if they are not calibrated, making the location calculation inaccurate by a few dBs.
The RSSI method is also inherently not very secure. It can be subjected to a “man-in-the-middle” (MITM) attack. This happens when attackers amplify the transmission to make the transmitter appear closer than it really is.
The next generation of positioning technology aims to unlock an even higher level of security as well as accuracy down to the tens of centimeters. Micro-location opens up a new generation of use cases allowing users to interact very precisely with their environment and the objects around them.
Bluetooth Low Energy 5.1
The recent addition of the Bluetooth 5.1 standard adds several direction-finding enhancements, providing angle information to the incoming signal. The standard specifies two methods: angle of arrival (AOA) and angle of departure (AOD).
For direction finding, the Bluetooth 5.1 devices transmit specially formatted packets and Bluetooth 5.1 receivers use an antenna array with at least 2 antennas to compute the angle of incidence based on the phase difference between the antennas, the signal’s wavelength and the distance between the antennas.
Combining RSSI information with either AOA or AOD provides the ability to determine the device location with better accuracy.
Ultra-Wideband, or UWB, based on the IEEE 802.15.4z-2020 HRP ERDEV (Enhanced Ranging Devices) amendment provides high accuracy and secure positioning.
UWB doesn’t use signal strength to evaluate distance. Instead, it uses time of flight (ToF).
ToF measures the propagation time that it takes for the signal to go from the transmitter to the receiver. Signals travel at the speed of light, regardless of environment. Distance estimation based on timing is more robust and is not affected as much by the environment as the RSSI methods that were described earlier.
UWB is more robust to the man-in-the-middle attack described earlier because a signal cannot be intercepted and retransmitted without adding latency, in addition frames containing an STS (Scramble Timestamp Sequence) with AES-128 encryption provide an added layer of security.
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11az
The IEEE 802.11az Next Generation Positioning (NGP) standard is nearing completion and it is building upon the fine timing measurement (FTM) feature that was part of the IEEE 802.11mc standard release. Unlike the RSSI method using signal strength to evaluate distance, FTM uses round trip time information to estimate distance between Wi-Fi enabled stations and access points.
The 802.11az standard is designed to improve upon the FTM legacy with NGP which uses several enhancements that are aligned with the 802.11ax/ Wi-Fi 6 standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance is also working on the next generation Wi-Fi location R2 program based on NGP.
Figure 3: Wi-Fi Timing Measurement Round Trip Time
FTM uses Time-of-Flight to measure distance. The mechanism is very similar to UWB’s ToF described earlier. Wi-Fi client stations and access points exchange a series of messages with Time of Departure and Time of Arrival timestamps that allow to derive round-trip time. Round trip time mechanism doesn’t require the clocks on the devices to be synchronized.
802.11az is designed to improve upon the legacy FTM by utilizing the latest features in the 802.11ax standard.
What’s true of all these wireless location technologies is that careful design validation testing is required to ensure the best performance. LitePoint’s wireless test product portfolio has the right solution to enable these technologies.
The IQgig-UWB™ tester is a fully integrated, one-box test solution for physical-layer testing of UWB-enabled devices. It supports all the required transmitter receiver testing, but it also has specific mechanism to test UWB ranging with a precision trigger and response mechanism that allows calibration and verification of ToF and AoA measurements.
To listen to my entire webinar on this topic, please go to the LitePoint webinar page.
GoZone WiFi, a U.S. marketing, analytics, and advertising platform, has released new Smart WiFi outcomes to help restaurants gather information, increase loyalty, and advertise to customers in a time when many businesses are still reeling from COVID.
Given the fact that 84% of restaurant-goers base their decision to patronize a restaurant upon the presence and quality of its WiFi, it’s never been more important to integrate Smart WiFi.
GoZone WiFi solutions provide restaurants with various tools needed to succeed at getting customers to patronize their businesses.
Each option provides different outcomes to bolster a specific part of a restaurant’s plan to offer a unique customer experience that keeps people coming back while increasing revenue pathways.
Marketing4Wifi simplifies the marketing experience, empowering restaurants to:
With this setup, everyone gets what they want. Customers get WiFi to use while they dine, and the business obtains valuable data that it can use to increase return visits, learn about customer demographics, and attract new patrons.
A hallmark of successful restaurants in the post-COVID world will be the opportunity to regain customer loyalty. The past year has been a trying time for all businesses, and restaurants continue to face difficulties. Fortunately, Smart WiFi can rise to the challenge to help restaurants overcome many of the most significant problems.
For starters, analyzing WiFi login data can help a business determine its busiest times and then use that data to aid with traffic flow and seating in a building. This can promote overcrowding and promote feelings of safety among patrons.
Smart WiFi is also a valuable tool for creating a customer loyalty program. The SMS numbers and emails gathered during WiFi logins can be directly integrated into a business’s CRM software, providing businesses with a direct link to customers’ information.
That data can be used to incentivize customers to return at opportune times by sending direct messages while also providing them with individualized offers that are most likely to get them into the restaurant. Birthdays, anniversaries, or other regular interactions can each be added to the CRM and utilized to promote sales.
Furthermore, a business gains the ability to directly request customer reviews which have greater potential to be positive, thereby increasing the likelihood that more people will come to the restaurant.
Utilizing GoZone’s WiFi for restaurants will promote safety and sales side by side while also generating a significant ROI, minimizing the relative cost of engaging GoZone WiFi’s Smart system.
GoZone’s Smart WiFi framework is already established; restaurants can start setting up their WiFi systems right now to gain customers, actionable data, and an edge in their market.
About GoZone WiFi
GoZone WiFi is a SaaS company providing guest engagement and advertising solutions to businesses large and small. GoZone’s Smart WiFi Suite helps companies innovate as they reach out to their customers and advertising partners. You can contact GoZone WiFi at (877) 554-WiFi or [email protected]
Wi-Fi 6E: Efficiently maneuvers between Wireless Bands, provides Gigabit speeds and extremely low latency. Opening of the 6 GHz, essentially, quadruples the amount of airwaves (14 additional 80MHz channels, and 7 additional 160MHz channels) available for routers and smart devices which translates to greater capacity, improved performance & use for diverse next-generation technology applications. Download our Infographic to know more. This infographic is authored by Anand Kumar, GM, sales, HFCL Ltd.