Above: The Wi-Fi Alliance’s video brief on the updated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Vantage™ program
By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
At the end of last month the Wi-Fi Alliance upgraded its ‘Wi-Fi Vantage’ suite of optimization and security features to support Wi-Fi 6. The ‘Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Vantage™’ program includes features critical to enhancing the Wi-Fi user experience in managed networks as well as strong WPA3 security and other benefits including fast network discovery and authentication with Passpoint, improved mobility, better spectrum management, and more.
The name ‘Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Vantage™’ may not be well known even among Wi-Fi stalwarts but given the record-breaking speed of global Wi-Fi 6 deployment, this Wi-Fi Alliance certification program could soon become one of the most consequential – especially for managed Wi-Fi service providers.
That is because Wi-Fi Vantage is all about providing an enhanced and secure connectivity experience in managed networks. In fact, the Wi-Fi Vantage program pulls on all the technological levers that make for an outstanding, always-on Wi-Fi user experience. And as of end of last month, the program now supports Wi-Fi 6 and WPA3, the Wi-Fi Alliance says in their press release here.
Wi-Fi 6 & 6E will drive the case for offload, experts say
Among features critical to the success of Wi-Fi service providers is Passpoint, which is used for network discovery and authentication among others by Google’s new Orion WiFi program (we’ve written about it here). As Wi-Fi 6 (and future Wi-Fi 6E) networks continue to deploy, many industry experts believe that the case for a resurgence in auto-connect Wi-Fi offload (or convergence) will strengthen, which in turn will render Passpoint functionality even more essential.
Add to this a slew of additional Wi-Fi optimization and performance features grouped under the Wi-Fi Alliance’s ‘Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™’ and ‘Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity™’ headers, all components of the Wi-Fi Vantage program. These include intelligent band and/or AP steering, fast roaming transitions, as well as Fast Initial Link Setup, or FILS, for faster network discovery.
The classic use case for many of these features is a service area with a high density and influx of of users, such as a busy train station, an airport, or other transport hub. A field trial of the Wi-Fi Agile Multiband™ and Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity™ features conducted by CableLabs late last year showed a 76% decrease in average connectivity setup time, CableLabs says. Both Broadcom and Intel chipsets – as well as enterprise-grade APs from CommScope (Ruckus) and Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 phones today support the Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity™ feature set, the Wi-Fi Alliance says.
The Vantage program will of course continue to support Wi-Fi 5, the Wi-Fi Alliance points out. For more details on the program also see the video presentation below recorded last week at the Virtual Wi-Fi World Congress 2020.
Below: Watch the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Senior Product Manager Consuelo Ortiz explain more about the Vantage program at the Virtual Wi-Fi World Congress 2020.