In next generation telecom networks era, LTE is the first technology to step in, and in its advance form recognized with 4G tag. 4G, being the complete data centric networks and has started an era of data dependent information and communication systems. DATA has become now days a utility for the end users to run its day to day business. LTE started with 10X faster than its early days technologies, to now a days 100X faster in form of Gigabit LTE.
Despite of continuous improvement in data services with high data rates and more spectrum utilization the networks are not escapable from the congestion. The tremendous growth of video traffic and smart devices has resulted in heavy pressure on data networks resources. As a result of this continuous thrust for data capacity 3GPP has come up in its recent releases with idea of incorporating more spectrum bands including unlicensed and shared spectrum.
WiFi has been of interest since the early days and being there in the radar of 3GPP since release 8 but has been incorporated in the propensity of RAN in release 13 onwards. LTE-U, LAA and LWA are some of the 3GPP networking features focusing on unlicensed spectrum.
WiFi is a mature technology in itself has been in continuous growth and pace with the next generation networks. IEEE 802.11 standards has been evolving and have improved much from the days of 802.11n to 802.11ac & 802.11ad (in 60GHz) and recent one, taken to be efficient for highly dense environment, 802.11ax.
802.11ax, also called High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), looking beyond the raw link speeds of 802.11ac. It implements several mechanisms to serve more users consistent and reliable data throughput in highly dense wireless environments. High-Efficiency Wireless includes the following key features:
· Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
· Increase 4X the average throughput per user in high-density scenarios, such as train stations, airports and stadiums. -Data rates and channel widths similar to 802.11ac, with the exception of new Modulation and Coding Sets (MCS 10 and 11) with 1024-QAM.
· Specified for downlink and uplink multi-user operation by means of MU-MIMO and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology.
· Larger OFDM FFT sizes (4x larger), narrower subcarrier spacing (4X closer), and longer symbol time (4X) for improved robustness and performance in multipath fading environments and outdoors.
· Improved traffic flow and channel access.
· Better power management for longer battery life.
In fact 802.11ax going to be a distributed data rates for fare distribution of overall capacity to each user's, making an efficient system with larger spectrum band.
With above facts, 802.11ax becomes a good partner with LTE for a better convergence and provide a combination of licensed and unlicensed for a larger capacity to end users.
This also opens the gate for Wifi entry to 5G system as an associative data network with LTE as a control plane. So it's not going to be only NR with LTE but WiFi too, much in NSA mode of 5G.