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Wi-Fi Alliance improves quality of service for real-time Wi-Fi applications

New certification programme for wireless broadband quality-of-service management is claimed to be able to bring robust service delivery and high-quality Wi-Fi experiences

In the latest evolution of the wireless connectivity standard, the Wi-Fi Alliance has introduced Wi-Fi QoS Management, a certification programme designed to deliver a standardised approach to traffic prioritisation that improves the Wi-Fi experience with real-time applications.

The new standard builds on the Wi-Fi Certified WMM format to deliver what the wireless industry trade organisation says is a consistent, end-to-end approach to quality of service (QoS) treatment in Wi-Fi networks.

It introduces two new technologies designed to allow Wi-Fi devices, applications and network managers to prioritise traffic flows by establishing a standards-based approach to QoS mirroring, and by aligning with IETF recommendations for QoS mapping between internet protocol (IP) and IEEE 802.11.

Wi-Fi Certified QoS Management is also written to provide standardised mechanisms that allow client applications to request QoS treatment, and for network managers to implement QoS policies. These mechanisms can allow user devices and access points to select differentiated prioritisation, depending on the application.

Wi-Fi QoS Management features two key technologies: mirrored stream classification service (MSCS) and differentiated service code point (DSCP) mapping.

Based on the concept of “mirrored” QoS, MSCS is designed to provide a simple means for applications on user devices to request traffic be assigned the desired priority level. This bidirectional QoS treatment is said to ensure consistent, reduced latency for the device application and delivers positive Wi-Fi experiences even when the Wi-Fi channel is congested.

DSCP mapping allows the network manager to map traffic from both access points and client devices to a particular QoS priority across the network.

The result is what the Wi-Fi Alliance said will be “robust” service delivery and higher-quality Wi-Fi, including better experiences with real-time and immersive applications, and reduced latency and jitter when online gaming or accessing interactive cloud and edge services. 

It added that residential, enterprise and public networks will be able to benefit, particularly when using applications requiring low latency and low jitter, including video conferencing, interactive gaming, augmented and virtual reality, industrial internet of things and healthcare monitoring.

In enterprise networks, DSCP mapping could see a network manager able to configure video-conferencing traffic as high priority and configure a mapping table that can be updated to ensure that the requirements of mission-critical services are met.  

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“Today’s Wi-Fi networks carry a demanding amount of real-time data applications that require discerning treatment to deliver high-quality experiences,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “The Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi QoS Management as a new way to manage Wi-Fi traffic and ensure end-user expectations for superior performance continue to be met.”

Member companies providing interoperability test-bed devices that are among the first Wi-Fi Certified QoS Management products include Airties, Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm Technologies, CommScope, ASSIA and ON Semiconductor.

“We commend the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new efforts in Wi-Fi QoS Management aimed at enhancing the performance of real-time applications,” said Airties CTO Metin Taskin. “This feature can certainly serve to complement the kind of advanced smart Wi-Fi software and cloud management solutions provided by Airties to service providers around the globe.”

Thomas Derham, principal scientist, wireless communications and connectivity division at Broadcom, added: “Wi-Fi QoS Management provides the tools to empower application developers and vendors of mobile and gaming devices to manage bidirectional traffic flows on home and enterprise Wi-Fi networks to enable the required quality of service for all applications. 

“It also provides essential tools to enable network administrators to manage QoS at a system level. Wi-Fi QoS Management combined with Wi-Fi 6E will enable enterprises, operators and users to enjoy latency- sensitive applications such as live video streaming, gaming, augmented and virtual reality, even in spectrally congested and challenging environments.”

The launch follows an announcement by the Wi-Fi Alliance in January 2021 that it had enhanced what will be the key wireless standard in the 6GHz frequency band to boost innovation and foster ecosystem growth for Wi-Fi 6E. The organisation said the new specification would enable members to develop an array of Wi-Fi 6E products that will operate under AFC control, ensuring the worldwide adoption, interoperability, security and reliability expected of Wi-Fi.

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