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    smart mobility summit

    Lisbon, Portugal // 3rd-4th May 2017

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How will Wi-Fi meet the future demands of smart cities and the IoT?

A new report from the Wi-Fi Alliance assesses whether available spectrum resources will be sufficient to support Wi-Fi connectivity in the future, and suggests that by 2020, Wi-Fi networks will need access to significantly more mid-band spectrum than is currently available in the 5 GHz range to satisfy expected growth in Wi-Fi data traffic brought about by new applications, ranging from low-throughput, high-latency IoT to streaming 4K video.

It also indicates that, given it’s been 20 years since the first IEEE 802.11 standard in 1997, there is still plenty of life left in Wi-Fi innovation, and that there is a lot of life left in the technology yet. With 8 billion Wi-Fi devices already connected around the world, that figure is expected to reach nearly 12 billion by 2020, as users become increasingly reliant on Wi-Fi as the primary means for internet access, due to its low cost for users and the fact that its performance is well suited for current and emerging applications.

Wi-Fi Needs
The ‘Wi-Fi Spectrum Needs Study’ is a comprehensive analysis to determine the number of channels required to support Wi-Fi traffic by taking into consideration existing and future Wi-Fi device capabilities and deployment needs for business, residential and public locations.

It evaluates two demand scenarios: the expected traffic growth and the potential unexpected increase that may come from novel applications, and finds that, unsurprisingly, the ever growing number and diversity of Wi-Fi devices along with increased connection speeds and data traffic volumes will exceed the capacity of spectrum currently available in the 5 GHz band by 2020.

The study also finds that between 500 MHz and 1 GHz of additional spectrum in various world regions may be needed to support expected growth in Wi-Fi by 2020, and if demand for Wi-Fi exceeds expected growth, then between 1.3 GHz and 1.8 GHz more spectrum may be required by 2025.

“Over the years, the Wi-Fi industry has developed innovative solutions to overcome bandwidth limitations and regulatory constraints to deliver wireless connectivity to billions of users,” said Alex Roytblat, Senior Director of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at Wi-Fi Alliance. “As demonstrated by the Spectrum Needs Study, we have now reached the point where, simply put, more unlicensed spectrum needs to be available... and soon.”

Less throughput, more capacity?
As new standards under development reach 10–20-plus Gbps, the issues and opportunities surrounding the future of Wi-Fi have less to do with throughput, and more to do with capacity, cost, management, and support for every application, whether low-throughput IoT devices or mission-critical, low latency streaming applications.

It means that whether its the upcoming 802.11ax standard, which seeks to achieve 10Gbps in the 5-GHz bands, but which will also (unlike 802.11ac) be deployable at 2.4 GHz, or other technologies such as 802.11aq (Pre-Association Discovery) and 802.11az (Next-Generation Positioning), there is still much innovation to come from Wi-Fi.

That’s why it’s so important to attend the upcoming Smart Mobility Summit being held in Lisbon on May 3–4, 2017. Our unique event will explore the types of connectivity technologies that will be required to meet the demands of smart cities, the IoT and other new user applications that will be enabled by 5G.

Come and find out how all of these technologies are being deployed around the world to meet the demands of future applications. With dedicated themes ‘Smart Cities and the IoT’ (Day 1) and ‘The Road From 4G to 5G’ (Day 2), can you afford to miss out?

We offer a range of different Day and Event passes, and discounts. Register now at www.smartmobilitysummit.com/register.

How machine learning can solve wireless network issues

speaker ajay malik guest

Ajay Malik

Head Architecture/ Engineering, Worldwide Corporate Networking & Services at Google

Ajay Malik has over 25 years of engineering leadership and entrepreneurial experience in delivering award-winning innovative products in the Software, SAAS, Wi-Fi, RTLS (real time location), IOT (internet of things), and SDN (Software defined networking). He has led multiple turnarounds/successful exits. He has over 70 patents issued/pending and is author of "RTLS for Dummies"; and "Augmented Reality for Dummies". He now works at Google.

Wi-Fi is crucial to the way we work today. Fast, reliable, and consistent wireless coverage in an enterprise is business-critical. Many day-to-day operations in the enterprise depend on it. And yet, most of the time, IT teams are flying blind when it comes to individual experience. This springs from two main challenges.

The first challenge is data collection. We want to know the state of every user at every given time. But these states change constantly as network conditions and user locations change. With tens of thousands of devices being tracked, there is a huge amount of information to be collected. This volume of data simply cannot be handled in an access point or a controller running on an appliance with fixed memory and CPU. The second challenge is data analysis. It takes considerable time and effort to sort through event logs and data dumps to get meaningful insights. And significant Wi-Fi intelligence is required to actually make heads or tails out of the data.

Someday soon, I believe, big data and machine learning will solve the above hurdles. It will allow me to ask my network how it is feeling, it will tell me where it hurts, and it will provide detailed prescriptions for fixing the problem (or will automatically fix it for me). While this seems to be a futuristic vision, the foundation to achieve it is already being laid out through big data tools and machine learning techniques like unsupervised training algorithms.

Using these technologies, we can now continuously update models that measure and enforce the experience for our wireless users. For example, we can ensure specific internet speeds in real time (i.e throughput) with a high level of accuracy. This allows the IT staff to know a wireless user is suffering before they even realize it — and thus before they have to log a call with the help desk.

Once a user problem is detected, machine learning classification algorithms can isolate the root cause of the problem. For example, is the throughput issue due to interference, capacity, or LAN/WAN issues?

After isolating the problem, machine learning can then automatically reconfigure resources to mediate the issue. This minimizes the time and effort IT teams spend on troubleshooting, while delivering the best possible wireless experience.

I’ve written before how artificial intelligence will revolutionize Wi-Fi. I would love to be able to just unleash IT teams on sifting through hordes of data so they can glean meaningful information. But it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Machine learning is key to automating mundane operational tasks like packet captures, event correlation, and root cause analysis. In addition, it can provide predictive recommendations to keep our wireless network out of trouble.

Also key to this vision is the elastic scale and programmability that modern cloud elements bring to the table. The cloud is the only medium suitable for treating Wi-Fi like a big data problem. It has the capacity to store tremendous amounts of data, with a distributed architecture that can analyze this data at tremendous speed.

Wi-Fi isn’t new. But how we use Wi-Fi has evolved. And now more than ever, Wi-Fi needs to perform flawlessly. We are in an era where wireless needs to be managed like a service, with all the flexibility, agility, and reliability of other business-critical platforms. With machine learning, big data, and the cloud, this new paradigm is quickly becoming a reality.

In the connectivity mix

Shipments of wireless multi-protocol ICs and devices will increase nearly 54 per cent between now and 2020, driven by surging Wi-Fi traffic, new use cases, and emerging IoT applications, according to a new forecast by market analysts ABI Research.

It highlights how the connectivity technology used in mobile devices will become largely irrelevant to users, who increasingly demand seamless connection as they move around, regardless of the technologies being used.

“The proliferation of multi-protocol ICs and devices will allow for much simpler product creations and quicker times to market regardless of the deployed technology,” said Andrew Zignani, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

Zignani quotes Qorvo’s recent GP695 SoC product announcement that integrates multiple communication protocols, including IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), as a prime example.

“The technology collaboration reduces complexity for IoT device designers by enabling them to take advantage of a single SKU development platform,” he added.

The report also notes that short-range wireless connectivity market technologies, such as ZigBee, Thread, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and NFC, will continue to evolve to meet new market demands, as evidenced by Bluetooth 5 speed enhancements to benefit wearables and other handheld devices with quicker performance times, quicker data transfers and syncing, and faster firmware updates, while keeping power consumption down.

The report also notes that Wi-Fi’s continued evolution will come in the form of several new protocols, including 802.11ax (for network efficiency improvements), 802.11ad (for 4K streaming, docking, and VR applications) and 802.11ah (low-power IoT applications).

As a result, Wi-Fi chipsets that incorporate 802.11ax, WiGig, or HaLow technologies will make up 60 per cent of all wireless IC shipments by 2021, says the report.

The report highlights how a mix of connectivity technologies will be required to meet demand for consumers, businesses, smart cities and IoT applications, all of which will need to work seamlessly together as required. That’s why SMS welcomes the entire spectrum of communications stakeholders, without banging the drum for a single technology.

SMS Lisbon 2017, to be held 3-4th May 2017, will focus on two of the most important subjects in the communications industry today – Smart cities & IoT, and Next-Generation Mobile Technologies – with a day of presentations, panel debates, and networking, dedicated to each.

We believe that the industry will need to collaborate in an open manner in order to meet demand for seamless connectivity, and profit from the opportunities offered by the transformation currently occurring.

That’s why we are collecting some of the industry’s leading speakers and thinkers for our event, including a keynote from João Vasconcelos, Secretary of State for Industry for the Portuguese Government, and presentations from Charbel Aoun, Board Member of Future Cities Catapult in London, and Antonio Ponzo Pellegrini, Deputy Mayor of Empoli (Italy), to name just a few.

If you want to be a part of the future of the communications industry, then ensure that you’re a part of the conversation. Sign up now at www.smartmobilitysummit.com/registration.

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