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What is band steering, and is it worth the hype?

Nowadays, smart home tech is reigning in every household. Can you imagine a place without a single smart-device today? The increasing number of connected IoT and smart devices undoubtedly raises a problem: with all devices connected to a single 2.4 GHz band, how can we ensure a smooth online experience while streaming, gaming, and video-calling all under the same roof?

The wireless industry’s answer was the introduction the new, 5 GHz band in dual-band routers. Dual-band routers benefit client devices by allowing them to connect to either the 2.4 GHz band with a wider range, or the 5 GHz band for faster throughput and higher performance, alleviating congestion on a single band.

In the early days, the practice was to manually connect devices to either the 2.4 or 5 GHz band based on the requirements of the device, which can be very frustrating to optimize and do on a regular basis. Qualcomm noticed this problem and introduced a solution that would automate this process for the user – Band Steering.

Band steering technology encourages dual-band client devices, such as most modern smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, to generally use the less-congested band.

 

 

Why not connect to the 5 GHz band in the first place?

Some of you may wonder why can’t those client devices just connect to the 5 GHz band from the start? To answer this, let’s examine how the “normal wireless operation” works and how the “band steering operation” works.

 

Steering mechanism

Source: https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/Radio_Settings/Band_Steering_Overview

 

As the illustration demonstrates, both the client devices and the routers are exchanging probes. In a normal wireless operation without band steering, the client device sees wireless probes from both bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and chooses to connect to the strongest one. However, which band is identified as stronger one by the client device depends on another piece of the puzzle.

The 2.4 GHz frequency was adopted for mass wireless use much earlier than the 5 GHz band. To put it simply, the 2.4GHz band is geared more towards wireless signal coverage due to its longer wavelength, while the 5GHz band benefits from faster speeds with its much shorter wavelength. As a result, the 2.4 GHz band can cover larger distances, and most client devices connect to it regardless of how fast or congested it is. What’s more is that once this connection is made, the client device will stay on the same band even if it’s within range of the 5 GHz band and requires a faster network.

So, where does this band steering mechanism come into play? Band steering allows the access point to disable the 2.4 GHz band from probing the client device, so it responds only to the 5 GHz band, reducing the congestion on the 2.4 GHz band while taking advantage of the faster 5GHz band to improve user’s network experience. This way, band steering ensures that end-user devices get faster speeds and less network interference whenever it is possible.

Is Enabling Band Steering worth it?

So far, it sounds like having band steering has no downsides – but then how come we’re asking whether it’s worth enabling? Let us explain.

As the steering mechanism demonstrates, both the access points and client devices can send probes. However, band steering is operated by the access point, and it cannot control how the client device interprets or sends the probes, leaving many client devices unable to be steered to the 5 GHz band.

Moreover, client devices previously associated with the 2.4 GHz band might not be steered even with band steering enabling – they first have to be un-associated from the 2.4GHz band manually. As a result, only idle or new client devices may be band-steered.

Lastly, band-steering technology does not consider the unique traffic conditions. For instance, band steering will not consider the users’ habits of gaming, video streaming, or merely browsing web pages. Therefore, they cannot provide solutions tailored to the need for speed on the client devices.

Ultimately, band steering is a convenient way to prioritize which band the client devices use, and at the end of the day, the control to toggle it On or Off is yours.

Curious about the new and upcoming 6 GHz band? Learn more here

For more information about Mercku’s Connectivity Suite, our hardware and how you can partner with Mercku, please reach out to the team at [email protected]

Thank you for reading our blog! Mercku Blogs covers the latest in wireless technology – subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss our newest releases!

Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. – March 30, 2021 – Wi-Fi Alliance® commends Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) on the decisionto expand Wi-Fi® operations to the 5.925-7.125 GHz frequency band. With this momentous decision, CITC empowers tremendous connectivity benefits of the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology in Saudi Arabia and affirms its leadership in enabling the next generation of wireless services. Wi-Fi Alliance members are ready to follow through on the CITC’s decision by delivering a wave of new Wi-Fi 6E products and services to Saudi Arabia’s consumers, enterprises, and economy.

 

About Wi-Fi Alliance®  |  www.wi-fi.org
Wi-Fi Alliance® is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience. Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 65,000 Wi-Fi certifications. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, backward compatibility, and the highest industry-standard security protections in place. Today, Wi-Fi carries more than half of the internet’s traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi, which billions of people rely on every day.

Follow Wi-Fi Alliance:
wi-fi.org/beacon
facebook.com/wificertified
twitter.com/wifialliance
linkedin.com/company/wi-fi-alliance

Media Contact:
Stephanie Burke
Highwire PR for Wi-Fi Alliance
[email protected]highwirepr.com

Aptilo IoT Connectivity Control Service™ (IoT CCS) is part of a global IoT Service, where it adds a flexible layer of policy control and security features. The cloud-native solution from Enea incorporates IoT security from Fortinet to protect IoT devices, data traffic, and enterprise applications. This allows mobile operators to offer managed IoT security with the flexibility to steer selected traffic through virtual private connections or directly to the Internet, while protected by FortiGate Firewalls.

As an additional benefit of the solution, operators no longer need to set up individual virtual private connections for each enterprise customer, a complex task that can take weeks. With the new solution in place, enterprises can easily create their own virtual private connections in a matter of minutes.

“The award-winning Aptilo IoT CCS is a perfect illustration of how we innovate in close partnership with our customers,” says Paul Mikkelsen, Head of the Aptilo Business Unit at Enea.

Aptilo IoT CCS is one of the important components in the newly launched IoT offering Telia Global IoT Connectivity.

Aptilo IoT CCS won four different awards during 2020 (see link below).

References

• Aptilo Connectivity Control Service
https://www.aptilo.com/cloud/cellular-iot-connectivity-management-and-policy-control/ 
• Telia Global IoT Connectivity
https://business.teliacompany.com/internet-of-things/iot-connectivity/global-iot-connectivity
• Aptilo awards
https://www.aptilo.com/company/awards/

Contact

Erik Larsson, Senior Vice President Marketing
E-mail: [email protected]

About Aptilo Networks

Aptilo Networks, an Enea company, is one of the world’s leading providers of Wi-Fi service management solutions and cloud-based IoT connectivity control services. The company has delivered software and services to more than 100 operators that serve tens of thousands of enterprise customers, and hundreds of millions of end-users and devices.

About Enea

Enea is one of the world’s leading suppliers of innovative software for telecommunication and cybersecurity. Focus areas are cloud-native, 5G-ready products for data management, mobile video traffic optimization, edge virtualization, and traffic intelligence. More than 3 billion people rely on Enea technologies in their daily lives.

Enea is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.

For more information: www.enea.com

On the off chance that you live in a jam-packed spot, you may have seen times when your Wi-Fi unexpectedly drops off out of the blue. The Wi-Fi routers and neighbours’ devices could be using the same radio channels that meddle with your internet connection. It’s ideal to discover and utilize a Wi-Fi channel that offers less interference and a smoother connection to improve the Wi-Fi speeds and connectivity.

Choosing the optimal Wi-Fi channel can improve your Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength, giving you an overall boost in performance.

Most Wi-Fi routers nowadays are utilizing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands, while some of the latest routers now equipped with  using the 6 GHz band. Each band is split into channels used by your devices to send and receive information over the network.

Much like cars on a road, information sent across the network via data channels slow down in areas with higher traffic and congestions. The time it takes for a device to send and receive information from the router is increased on the congested channel, and you might be left waiting for your turn to access the web.

Depending on the router you use, you may have some channels that don’t overlap:

  • 4 GHz: 3 non-overlapping channels available
  • 5 GHz: 24 non-overlapping channels available
  • 6 GHz: 14 non-overlapping 80 MHz channels or 7 non-overlapping 160 MHz channels

WI-FI INTERFERENCE:

The reason why some channels aren’t ideal for you to use might be caused by channel interference.
There are a couple of different types of channel interference:

 

Co-Channel interference occurs when many wireless devices are accessing the same channel, causing congestion on that channel.

Non-Wi-Fi interference occurs when other devices that work on non-Wi-Fi 802.11 radio frequencies compete for the same frequency band.

Adjacent-channel interference occurs when information sent is on an adjacent or partly overlapping channel. The channel bleeds over on an overlapping channel, which adds interference.

Luckily for the users, there are ways to mitigate network interference with several types of channel switching.

TYPES OF CHANNEL SWITCHING:

Channel switching and channel width selection enable users to optimize their Wi-Fi performance in 3 ways:

 

Manual Channel Switching:

With manual channel switching, the access point uses the default channel set by the manufacturer. The user is then able to manually change the selected channel based on:

  1. Signal strength
  2. Wireless networks in the neighbourhood and inside their home
  3. Level on interference caused by non-Wi-Fi devices over the radio channels

Today, consumers can find various third-party “wireless network analyzer” apps and software online, giving them an overview of  network performance, signal strength, and channel congestion. The user then is able to determine the optimal channel based on this analysis for maximum speed and stability.

Auto-channel Switching:

Many routers feature auto-channel switching (ACS) feature by default,  and with this enabled, the router will  automatically select the least congested channel for you each time the system boots up. Since auto-channel switching relies on scanning the air once (when it powers on) the change in the wireless environment in the future could cause channel interference, and prompt sluggish Wi-Fi performance.

Dynamic Channel Switching (DCS):

Dynamic channel switching helps the user avoid highly congested channels and lets routers and access points (AP) automatically switch to the least crowded channel without any manual input from the user.

With DCS, the router continuously scans the air for the best available channel and switches to it automatically.

There are several available methods for dynamic channel switching:

  1. Scheduled DCS
    Scheduled DCS mode allows the user to set a desirable time of the day (e.g. every day at 01:00 AM) to scan the environment and perform automatic channel switching to avoid potential network interruptions.
  1. Start-up Mode
    Like regular Automatic Channel Switching, DCS’ Start-up mode works when an AP starts up for the first time and chooses a channel from the available non-congested, non-overlapping channels.
  1. Steady State Mode
    All modern DCS-enabled access points have Steady State Mode set by default. With Steady State Mode, the AP scans different channels at a set time interval (e.g every 15 minutes of every day) and chooses the channel with the least interference. The user is typically able to select the desired time interval for performing the network scan and channel switching themselves.

For more information about Mercku’s Connectivity Suite, our hardware and how you can partner with Mercku, please reach out to the team at [email protected]

Thank you for reading our blog! Mercku Blogs covers the latest in wireless technology – subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss our newest releases!

Enables easy and quick deployment of new test scripts and development of customized test automation

LITTLETON, MA, MARCH 18, 2021 – octoScope, the leader in accurate, repeatable and automated wireless personal testbeds, announces the introduction of the scriptMachine, a console for controlling one or more octoBox testbeds. The scriptMachine also includes a development environment for test automation and runs scripts supplied by octoScope or third parties.New Wi-Fi functionality, such as mesh, roaming, steering and load balancing, require automation of complex test sequences. Similarly, new Wi-Fi industry testing standards such as TR-398 from the Broadband Forum demand lengthy test automation suites and call for the use of multiple testbeds to accelerate execution of complex testing programs.

This increasing complexity in test management drives the need for an easier way to deploy test scripts across testbeds. Instead of installing scripts on each server, scriptMachine allows running these scripts on any testbed or on multiple testbeds at once. The scriptMachine comes with Python libraries and script examples, making it easy for customers to develop their own customized test automation sequences.

“The scriptMachine makes our octoBox testbeds easier to use and easier to automate,” said Fanny Mlinarsky, President of octoScope.

Stackable and configurable, octoBox personal testbeds are completely isolated from external interference and can be used at an engineer’s office or lab bench.

Each octoBox testbed is controlled by a dedicated Node.js web server accessible via a browser UI for manual control, or via REST API for test automation. The server provides the time base for the testbed and controls the built-in instruments, DUT configuration, traffic, and test flow. Test results are saved in a MongoDB database, enabling multiple teams to easily collaborate by sharing the test automation scripts and test results.

octoScope is a Spirent company.

WiFi Motion™ enables service providers to create next-gen customer experiences

WATERLOO, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cognitive Systems Corp. announced today an integration with Airties to offer its patented WiFi Motion technology across Airties’ portfolio of WiFi 6 solutions. Cognitive’s WiFi Motion will make it easier than ever for service providers to access this revolutionary sensing technology.

“As a pioneer and leader in Wi-Fi sensing, we are pleased to be working with Cognitive Systems on new Wi-Fi 6 solutions” Tweet this

Over the past six years, Cognitive Systems has designed, developed, and implemented the first and most sophisticated WiFi-enabled motion sensing software on the market. WiFi Motion leverages connected IoT devices to turn the entire home into a motion-sensing network, introducing an innovative way to use WiFi. With 37 ISPs currently offering WiFi Motion around the globe, millions of homes already have access to this new service and its growing number of applications.

“Service providers are looking for new ways to differentiate from competitors and retain customers. Our priority is providing smart WiFi solutions that offer value beyond connectivity,” said Taj Manku, Co-Founder and CEO of Cognitive Systems. “Like us, Airties aims to shape the next generation of wireless solutions and see the possibilities for motion sensing, from smarter home monitoring to a higher standard of eldercare. We’re doing the legwork with their Wi-Fi 6 portfolio to get WiFi Motion ready for some forward-thinking Airties service providers who want to offer these benefits to their customers as soon as possible.”

Cognitive Systems and Airties share a commitment to staying ahead of the market, both by being active members of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and closely following emerging trends. In addition to the current home monitoring capabilities, WiFi Motion’s highly anticipated eldercare solution will bring peace of mind to caregivers by providing discreet wellness monitoring without the need for cameras or wearable devices. The market for remote wellness monitoring products is growing rapidly. Soon customers will be able to receive notifications and gain valuable insights into not only their homes but also the homes of loved ones.

“As a pioneer and leader in Wi-Fi sensing, we are pleased to be working with Cognitive Systems on new Wi-Fi 6 solutions,” said Metin Taskin, Co-Founder and CTO of Airties. “Cognitive’s product roadmap has a realistic game plan for both implementation and longevity. The integration of WiFi Motion and Airties can enable service providers to offer innovative value-add Wi-Fi services to their customers.”

About Cognitive Systems
Cognitive Systems Corp. is on a mission to transform the way WiFi networks are used. Its flagship technology, WiFi Motion™, uses wireless signals to sense motion in the home. WiFi Motion harnesses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to reliably identify and localize motion for the smart home, home monitoring, and wellness monitoring markets. This patented technology is layered onto existing WiFi networks without additional hardware to enhance service provider and router manufacturer offerings.
www.cognitivesystems.com
https://www.linkedin.com/company/cognitive-systems-corp-/

About Airties
Founded in 2004, Airties is the most widely deployed provider of managed in-home Wi-Fi solutions to operators around the globe. The company offers Smart Wi-Fi software, a cloud-based management platform, and Mesh extenders. Service providers turn to Airties for the design, implementation, and ongoing optimization of their customers’ broadband experience. With an installed base of over 30 million homes, Airties’ customers include: Altice USA, AT&T, Singtel, Sky, Telia, Telstra, and many others. More information is available at www.Airties.com.

By Eve Danel
March 10th, 2021

EVM (Error Vector Magnitude) is the key metric used to evaluate RF transmitter performance, because it provides a consistent “yardstick” to characterize the transmitter regardless of the receiver implementation and it encapsulates a wide range of possible impairments on the transmitter chain into a single measurement. New Wi-Fi generations have increased the modulation constellation size with 1024-QAM and 4096-QAM, placing an even higher requirement into transmitter accuracy. In this blog, we will look at what EVM measures in Wi-Fi and how it is measured.

Quick Facts about QAM Constellation

With each new Wi-Fi generation, higher data rates are achieved by encoding more data bits per symbol. Higher-order QAM enables to transmit more data bits while maintaining the same spectrum footprint and therefore achieve better efficiency.

  • 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) supports up to 256-QAM where 8 bits of data are encoded per symbol
  • 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) supports up to 1024-QAM, where 10 bits of data are encoded per symbol
  • 802.11be introduces 4096-QAM modulation with 12 bits of data per symbol

With a higher-order modulation, the constellation points are closer together and are therefore more susceptible to noise and non-linearities.  The digital communication channel requires a better Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) to operate error free compared to using lower modulation rates, because the separation between constellation points is reduced and so is the decision distance in the receiver. The transmitter also needs to perform with significantly better accuracy, the Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) is the metric used to quantify the accuracy.

What is EVM?

Error Vector Magnitude is the most commonly used modulation quality metric in digital communications, it is a measure of the deviation of the actual constellation points from their ideal locations in the constellation diagram. The Root-Mean-Square (RMS) error is averaged over subcarriers, frequency segments, OFDM frames and spatial streams and measured at the symbol clock transitions. It is expressed in %Root-Mean-Square or dB.

EVM is a comprehensive measure of the transmit quality because it reflectssignal defects that affect the magnitude or phase of the transmitted symbol. It captures the sum of imperfections in the device implementation that impact the transmit symbol’s accuracy. Possible impairments can arise at the baseband, IF or RF elements of the transmit chain.

Some common types of corruption are:

  • I/Q gain and phase mismatch: gain mismatch originates from the two baseband modulation input signals (I and Q) having an amplitude difference at the upconverter. Phase (or Quadrature) mismatch occurs when the two modulated baseband signals are not 100% in quadrature (90°) when being up converted by the upconverter.
  • Symbol clock error: originating at the encoder, the symbol clock controls the frequency and timing of the transmission of the individual symbols
  • Phase noise: originating at the LO (RF or IF)
  • PA compression and non-linearity: originating in the power amplifier being operated in its compression region or showing non-linearity

IEEE EVM Requirements

The IEEE defines the maximum allowed transmitter constellation error as part of the standard. The maximum allowed depends on the data rate i.e. constellation size, since higher-order constellation requires a tighter modulation accuracy.

  • For 1024-QAM, the EVM requirement is ≤ -35 dB with amplitude drift compensation disabled in test equipment.  If amplitude drift compensation is enabled in test equipment, the EVM requirement is ≤ -35 dB, and ≤ -32 dB with amplitude drift compensation disabled.
  • For 4096-QAM, EVM requirements as defined in IEEE 802.11be Draft 0.2

How is EVM Measured?

The test is performed over at least 20 frames. For 802.11ax HE-MU PPDU and HE-TB PPDU, if the occupied RU has 26 tones, the PPDUs under test shall be at least 32 data OFDM symbols long. For occupied RUs that have more than 26 tones, the PPDUs under test shall be at least 16 data OFDM symbols long. The frames should contain random data.

For an HE-TB PPDU with an RU smaller than a 2×996-tone RU, the test shall also include transmit modulation accuracy for the unoccupied subcarriers of the PPDU.

Because Wi-Fi operates on 3 frequency bands (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz) the transmitter EVM performance should be verified at all transmit power levels and frequencies where the transmitter will operate.

Test equipment used for EVM measurements should support converting the transmitted signals into a stream of complex samples at 160 MHz or more, with sufficient accuracy in terms of I/Q amplitude and phase balance, dc offsets, phase noise, and analog-to- digital quantization noise to ensure low error margin in the measurements.

EVM Correction Items

EVM shows a dependency on the analysis options in the test equipment (such as Phase Tracking, Channel Estimate, Symbol Timing Tracking, Frequency Sync, and Amplitude Tracking). Because analysis parameters can improve EVM, they should be chosen carefully. Addition of non-standard EVM correction methods can artificially improve the DUT’s EVM measurement and hide defects that would have otherwise been detected. It is recommended to only apply IEEE standard defined EVM analysis methods to ensure an objective characterization of the DUT’s transmitter performance.

The following lists the EVM measurement and correction methods:

IEEE defined EVM analysis:

  • Frequency correction: Because the receiver and transmitters have separate clocks, this correction removes the frequency error of the transmitter from the receiver.
  • Phase correction: Because the receiver and transmitters have separate clocks, devices must correct for clock misalignment.
  • Preamble channel estimate: The channel between the tester and DUT is calculated and corrected based on Pilot tones.

IEEE optional EVM analysis:

  • Amplitude Drift Compensation: The 802.11ax standard places a different target EVM whether amplitude drift compensation is enabled in the test equipment. Amplitude drift compensation, also called amplitude tracking,removes variations due to amplitude changes between symbols. When EVM is measured with the minimum IEEE required PPDU size of 16 data OFDM symbols, the effects of amplitude drift may not be noticeable. However, when longer PPDUs are used (e.g. A-MPDU), amplitude drift may have a more pronounced effect and result in degraded EVM. If amplitude drift causing defects are present, enabling amplitude tracking in the test equipment will hide these defects resulting in a better EVM measurement. While most modern DUT Wi-Fi receivers are able to compensate for amplitude drift, defects causing amplitude drift like PA thermal performance could get masked by the use of amplitude tracking. During design evaluation and troubleshooting, EVM should be measured with and without amplitude drift compensation. A large delta between the 2 measurements will indicate an underlying condition.

Non-standard EVM corrections:

  • Full Packet Channel Estimate: With this correction, the channel between tester and DUT is calculated using all the data packets. When the channel model is estimated based upon the full packet, the EVM improves because the channel model more closely fits the full packet. However, within a real-world receiver application, the packets are processed in real-time, and the channel is estimated based on the header only. This correction artificially improves EVM measurement and could hide possible phase noise, analog flatness or IQ mismatch issues (bad VCO, XTAL, compression, thermal issues, power supply)
  • Channel estimate equalization: This correction removes phase noise and amplitude response from the channel, it assumes flat channel response.  This correction could hide possible phase noise and analog flatness issues (bad PA, matching).

Using non-standard EVM correction can artificially improve measurements and hide underlying EVM impairments, therefore care should be taken in the selection of these parameters.

Test Equipment and Error Margin

As the requirements for the transmitter modulation accuracy rise, so do the requirements of the equipment necessary to test it. The DUT transmitter’s EVM measurement requires the test equipment’s own EVM floor to perform even better in order to provide a small measurement error.

For measuring the same DUT performance, a larger margin between DUT performance and the tester’s EVM floor will result in a smaller measurement error.

As shown in the chart above:

  • 16dB margin between DUT’s EVM and tester’s EVM floor results in a 0.1dB error uncertainty to the measurement
  • 6dB margin between DUT’s EVM and tester’s EVM floor results in a 1dB error uncertainty to the measurement
  • 0dB margin between DUT’s EVM and tester’s EVM floor results in 3dB error uncertainty to the measurement

For high order modulations 1024-QAM or 4096-QAM, that require stringent transmitter accuracy, selecting test equipment with low EVM floor is critical, otherwise the error uncertainty contributed by the test equipment reduces the confidence in the final measurement. In extreme cases, where the tester’s EVM floor equals that of the DUT, the measurement error is too large to determine if DUT meets the IEEE EVM requirements.

Key Takeaways

EVM provides a concise “one number” summary of the transmitter quality as it encapsulates a wide range of possible impairments on the transmitter chain. EVM is used during the design phase to characterize devices and uncover underlying sources of distortions. Because of its simplicity, it is also used in manufacturing to guarantee that transmitters will operate properly in real-world environments. However, it is important to understand that EVM is a calculated metric and numerous correction terms are possible that modify the measurement. The test equipment’s EVM floor is an equally important factor that affects the accuracy of the measurement. LitePoint’s IQxel family of testers provide best-in-class EVM performance to ensure high confidence in EVM measurements for the latest Wi-Fi generation.

To learn more about EVM: Read our Application Note.

For a fresh new brand in the extended stay hotel industry, the requirement of security and scalability couldn’t come at the sacrifice of cost effectiveness or user experience. The client called in World Cinema (WCI), known for executive beautifully in environments just like this.

Case Study: Extended Stay Hotel Brand with an “All Things Connected” Feel

A brand new extended stay hotel brand needed a turnkey partner to create an “All Things Connected” feel across multiple Southeastern US locations – and entrusted World Cinema with Sonora Network Solutions, powered by Cambium Networks, to pull it off.

A link to the full case study can be found here.

The Project and Its Unique Challenges

While not so much a problem to solve as a challenge to address, WCI still had a unique host of requirements to meet when it came time to outfit the networks for a series of new locations for an emerging extended stay hotel client in the Southeastern and Southern US market.

Enter World Cinema, known in the hotel industry, student housing senior living, master-planned community, healthcare, and other multifamily facilities for the complete connectivity solution, ImpruviX. With a winning concept in hand and the backing of Sonora Network Solutions and Cambium Networks, WCI set out to create plans for implementing a total solution.

The Solution

For this extended stay hotel chain, across multiple locations opening throughout 2020, WCI devised a layered solution standardized around Cambium Networks and offering property-to-property consistency and value that is unheard of in the affordable suites segment. With Sonora involved to utilize the RXG Gateway device, this added ease of use through authentication and branding standardization, with customizations that added further value for the client. This included managed video services, using the gateway to manage the CASB solution.

WCI’s ImpruviX solution offers unparalleled security segmentation and instant onboarding, making it a clear choice for clients like this. With tangible ROI and monetization opportunities built into the solution, as well as the business value of lower cost of ownership (without sacrificing quality or security), ImpruviX delivers industry-leading service and features into new verticals that have never had access to this level of solution in previous competitors price points.

Affordable Suites, Boutique User Connectivity

After installation and go-live, this extended stay hotel chain is enjoying affordable and sophisticated connectivity at a greatly reduced cost of ownership. This is creating an uncommonly high-end experience for their guests and has made the brand’s senior leadership and executive team very happy with WCI’s installation.

What’s more, the level of connectedness and automation guests of the chain are experiencing has allowed them to travel freely, social distance readily while the pandemic is still a factor, and still have a number of concierge-level amenities virtually available to them via the hotel network and app.

Acquisition of octoScope, Inc.

Combination that firmly establishes Spirent as the Wi-Fi test leader

London, UK – 5 March 2021 – Spirent Communications plc (LSE:SPT), the leading provider of test, assurance, and analytics solutions for next-generation devices and networks, today announces that it has acquired octoScope, Inc (octoScope) from the founder Fanny Mlinarsky, management and other investors, for an initial cash consideration of $55 million on a debt and cash free basis, with an additional consideration capped at $18 million based on annual revenue growth targets for 2021 and 2022 and retention of key staff. The acquisition will be funded from existing cash resources.

Founded in 2006, octoScope is a US-based technology company that provides market-leading accurate, repeatable and automated wireless test solutions and methodologies to the wireless industry. Its test solutions leverage patented technology to provide automated Wi-Fi and 5G testing in emulated real-world environments, including the latest Wi-Fi 6 and 6E technologies. octoScope’s products are used by a blue-chip roster of leading global communication service providers, chipset, device, network infrastructure and Wi-Fi equipment vendors including: Google, Facebook, Verizon, Qualcomm, Nokia, Amazon, Philips and Sony.

This complementary acquisition is in line with Spirent’s targeted investment and M&A plans outlined at its Capital Markets Day in October 2020, securing a broader assurance opportunity and expanding our diversified customer base. octoScope will be incorporated into our Lifecycle Service Assurance operating segment along with our emerging Wi-Fi revenue stream currently residing in our high-speed Ethernet business within the Networks & Security operating segment.

The gross assets of octoScope at 31 December 2019 were $11.6 million. Revenue in the year to 31 December 2019 was $17.4 million and profit before tax was $4.5 million. Revenue grew to around $20 million for 2020, subject to audit. The business has a history of delivering robust growth and we expect that to continue.

Wi-Fi sits alongside 5G as a critical next-generation wireless access technology. With the explosive growth in the Internet of Things, the emergence of new mission-critical use cases in sectors such as healthcare and industry, and expansion of applications including fixed wireless access and Wi-Fi offload, the importance of reliable and secure Wi-Fi is greater than ever. Wi-Fi applications continue to grow on the back of a robust technology roadmap (Wi-Fi 6/6E/7), the rise in remote working and expansion into new frequency bands around the world.

Spirent already has a strong position in the Wi-Fi and 5G test markets and the combination of octoScope with our existing portfolio firmly establishes Spirent as the Wi-Fi test leader. It also provides opportunities to extend the capabilities of our 5G solutions and offer new and differentiated services to our customers through our global channels.

Commenting on the acquisition, Eric Updyke, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Having firmly outlined our M&A intentions at our Capital Markets Day in October, I am delighted to welcome octoScope to the Spirent family. The need for reliable and secure Wi-Fi is greater than ever and our teams look forward to working together to address an increasing range of complex Wi-Fi challenges for our customers.”

“This acquisition supports our strategy of sustainable, profitable growth by establishing Spirent as the firm market leader in the expanding Wi-Fi space, adding to our 5G solution portfolio. octoScope brings to us an impressive and well-known customer base, providing us with the opportunity to further leverage our established global routes to market and trusted relationships with our key accounts.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity ensures users are always best connected

Austin, Texas – March 3, 2021 – Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity improves mobility and allows users to experience more consistent connections while roaming within and across Wi-Fi®networks, and between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The Wi-Fi Alliance® certification program ensures users a best-connected experience by optimizing the process of discovering Wi-Fi networks, selecting access points (APs), and reducing airtime overhead to enable faster authentication. New features now available for Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity™ deliver new metrics that further improve access point and network selection, and provide consistent discovery mechanisms for the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz bands. Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity enhancements address new use cases and performance expectations, helping optimize the connectivity experience for a variety of real-time and interactive applications and allowing seamless service continuity with network transitions to and from cellular.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity enables APs and user devices to exchange information, enabling 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
  • Improved AP selection: APs advertise metrics to assist client devices to accurately estimate link quality for network selection and roaming decisions
  • Rapid authentication: Using 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 enables users to experience quality connections throughout their entire roaming experience and ensures users are always best connected,” said Kevin Robinson, SVP of Marketing, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi users expect greater mobility with their devices and this core program brings a more seamless connectivity experience across networks, while opening new opportunities for service providers to increase network coverage while providing high-level service.”

Metrics now available in Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity further improve a client’s ability to determine when and to which AP or network it should roam to ensure the device is always best connected. Additionally, Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity features are key enablers of efficient access point discovery in the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E APs that simultaneously operate in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band and the 6 GHz band 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 the 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.

Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity is a key component of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Vantage™, providing core capabilities that allow the program to deliver an elevated experience in managed Wi-Fi networks. For more information on Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity, please visit: https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-optimized-connectivity.

Industry support for Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity:

“Airties is proud to support Wi-Fi Alliance’s new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity program, which is aimed at improving user experience while moving in managed Wi-Fi networks. Home Wi-Fi conditions are constantly changing throughout the day, requiring dynamic, real-time optimization to ensure excellent performance on every device. As such, we advise our service providers’ customers to adopt hybrid cloud-edge architectures that leverage both the embedded intelligence in CPE and cloud-based analytics to maximize responsiveness and performance.” – Metin Taskin, CTO of Airties

“Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity has been built on the coordinated use of 802.11k/v/r/ai capabilities for environments with many overlapping wireless networks. This helps deliver a smooth and stable Wi-Fi connectivity experience when selecting, authenticating, and roaming across different wireless access points.” – Tuncay Cil, Chief Strategy Officer, ASSIA

“The advancements of Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity create a more fluid exchange of necessary data, allowing for an uninterrupted wireless mobile experience fast enough to meet the demands of today’s active users. As a Wi-Fi Alliance partner pioneering fast, secure, seamless Wi-Fi for enterprise, business, and consumers, we at Boingo view this as a true win for all,” – Dr. Derek Peterson, CTO, Boingo Wireless

“Seamless roaming enables a hassle-free experience for consumers as they increasingly depend on Wi-Fi for their wireless data needs. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity program gives smartphones the ability to pick the router with the best connection and allows users to roam freely across wireless networks. The updated program incorporates new network discovery enhancements and, together with Wi-Fi 6E, offers a glimpse into future Wi-Fi usage models. Broadcom is excited to obtain certification for this updated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity program and be selected as a testbed device.” – Christopher Szymanski, Director of Product Marketing, Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division, Broadcom Inc.

“Intel is focused on enabling great PC platform Wi-Fi experiences for people. Wi-Fi Alliance’s new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity program will help the industry deliver seamless roaming with faster and more efficient network discovery, selection, and connections. We applaud Wi-Fi Alliance on its continued progress for delivering another great interoperability solution. We’re delighted Intel had the opportunity to help lead the task group’s efforts and that our products are among the first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Optimized Connectivity devices.” – Eric McLaughlin, VP Client Computing Group, GM Wireless Solutions Group, Intel Corporation

“The Wi-Fi Alliance Optimized Connectivity certification program is an exceptionally important and impactful approach to deliver standards-based innovation across the industry, ensuring maximum performance, stability, and interoperability. Qualcomm Technologies continues to support these efforts through our participation across these programs, innovation contribution, and implementation across our Wi-Fi product portfolios.” – VK Jones, VP of Technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

 

About Wi-Fi Alliance®  |  www.wi-fi.org
Wi-Fi Alliance® is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience. Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 65,000 Wi-Fi certifications. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, backward compatibility, and the highest industry-standard security protections in place. Today, Wi-Fi carries more than half of the internet’s traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi, which billions of people rely on every day.