By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
It is a sign of the times: So many homes are today served by whole-home Wi-Fi mesh systems and more and more Wi-Fi-connected IoT devices are coming online. Hence timely and relevant that the Wi-Fi Alliance this week should choose to update two important standards in support of the evolution of both.
Today the Wi-Fi Alliance announced updates to their well-known and popular Easy Connect™ and EasyMesh™ certification programs (these are essentially interoperability standards). The updates are designed to make onboarding of ‘headless’ IoT devices easier and boost mesh Wi-Fi performance with Wi-Fi 6 as well as to make mesh Wi-Fi more manageable and optimised.
The updated Easy Connect functionality is a slick and user-friendly way of connecting for example household IoT items – like lightbulbs, cameras, doorbells, etc. – to Wi-Fi. Such items of course have no displays or user interfaces and are notoriously tricky to connect. But not any more, says the Wi-Fi Alliance. Easy Connect has always included QR-code onboarding but this update introduces two new methods: Zero-touch NFC (Near Field Communications) and onboarding codes.
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The best way to envision how these work is to check out the video below. No doubt this new technology will be instrumental in boosting the uptake of Wi-Fi-based IoT. The new Easy Connect also supports the new and improved WPA3™ security protocol.
The second certification update released today involves EasyMesh – the standard for management and interoperability of the increasingly popular and ubiquitous whole-home Wi-Fi mesh units. As expected, the update now includes support for Wi-Fi 6. More than that the new version of EasyMesh includes traffic prioritisation, better diagnostics using Wi-Fi Data Elements (for more about those read here), and Easy Connect onboarding of units. Overall a comprehensive update to the performance and utility of ever-present Wi-Fi mesh.
Congratulations to the Wi-Fi Alliance for continuing to develop and push critical usability and optimisation components Wi-Fi technology. With the industry on the cusp of a major 6 GHz breakthrough, this is more important than ever.
Below: Short video explaining Easy Connect functionality.