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.
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.