For many years IEEE 802.11 developed new Wi-Fi standards, and then the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) worked with IEEE and developed certification programs for these new Wi-Fi generations. Also, the WFA and the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) have historically worked closely together on Passpoint/Hotspot and other topics.

Joint work across Wi-Fi standards groups has recently accelerated, with Broadband Forum standards and Prpl opensource further engaged with multiple interactions and involving WBA and WFA. These efforts accelerate the depth and breadth of the Wi-Fi standards ecosystem.

A recent focus area is operator management toward enabling carrier-grade Wi-Fi, an important area for ASSIA customers. As these Wi-Fi standards become more pervasive, ASSIA is helping to lead these efforts to fruition, and adopting them in ASSIA products to assist operators in this future cooperative standards-based ecosystem.

Broadband Forum (BBF) & Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)

The Broadband Forum (BBF) is instrumental in Connected Home, including cloud or remote management of Wi-Fi, first with the ubiquitous TR-69 standard, and now with the new and better TR-369 User Services Platform (USP) standard. BBF also defines the TR-181 data model used by TR-69 and TR-369 which has an extensive representation of Wi-Fi objects and parameters, TR-124 residential gateway requirements, BBF TR-398 Wi-Fi performance test plan, and now WT-488 on home architecture and WT-492 on smart gateways.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is a leader in Wi-Fi standards, including Passpoint and OpenRoaming, IoT, 5G, Wi-Fi 6/6E, Wi-Fi sensing, Captive Portal, Device ID, in-home Wi-Fi guidelines, and in-home multi-AP trials. The WBA Operator Managed Wi-Fi Reference Architecture is a new project, first gathering use cases toward developing a reference in home Wi-Fi network architecture that will cover both single wireless gateway and multi-AP in home Wi-Fi solutions. New WBA programs also include access networks metrics, and QoS Management trials.

Figure 1. Simplified BBF WT-488 architecture. The EUCD can be a Wi-Fi Access Point, and the EUD can be a Wi-Fi station.

Recent joint BBF and WBA meetings have discussed Wi-Fi reference architectures, Wi-Fi performance testing and other topics. BBF is now writing WT-488, Operator-Managed End User Network Architecture and Requirements, which are composed of a mix of diverse in-home technologies including Wi-Fi and wireline (Ethernet/MoCA/G.hn) communication; this overlaps with the WBA Operator Managed Wi-Fi Reference Architecture project and so these efforts are now actively being aligned in joint meetings.

Joint WBA and BBF discussions also include data modeling for Wi-Fi with BBF TR-181, and BBF.398 which is the industry’s leading Wi-Fi performance testing and certification program. Quality of Service (QoS) is a further area of overlap with the BBF Quality of Experience Delivered (QED) being shared with WBA.

Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) and Broadband Forum (BBF)

The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) defines myriad highly important specifications and certifications for Wi-Fi equipment. WFA Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data ElementsTM defined a standardized set of the most important capabilities and performance parameters for Wi-Fi network management, such as use of bandwidth, signal strength measurements, and free airtime.

Data Elements R2.1 now includes remote configuration, including writable parameters and commands. Due to recent joint work with the BBF, Wi-Fi Data Elements R2.1 with remote config is now completely defined and included in the new BBF TR-181 Device:2.15, the data model for TR-69 and TR-369. Further, certification testing of Wi-Fi Data Elements remote configuration by the WFA is using BBF TR-369/USP. Going forward, Wi-Fi Data Elements are expected to be further included in TR-181, with BBF requirements for Data Elements to be input to WFA.

Another joint area for BBF and WFA is Wi-Fi CERTIFIED QoS ManagementTM as defined by WFA and 5G QoS assignments as defined by the BBF and 3GPP.

Figure 2. Joint Wi-Fi standards.

WBA and WFA

The WBA and WFA have been working together for many years on many projects, particularly on Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint® which is used by WBA in OpenRoaming and Hotspot. Recent joint WFA and WBA meetings have further advanced the technical specifications of Passpoint for OpenRoaming.

WBA has recently written whitepaper Wi-Fi Device Identification – a way Through MAC Randomization, which overlaps with WFA work on device identification. WFA Wi-Fi QoS Management is also of current joint interest to WBA and WFA.

Prpl, WFA and BBF

The Prpl Foundation develops advanced opensource software for Wi-Fi systems. prplOS, formerly named prplWRT, is comprehensive enterprise-grade software framework for Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) devices, including residential deployments. PrplMesh is an open-source, carrier-grade and certifiable implementation of the WFA Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMeshTM specification for multi-AP mesh networks. Prpl is true opensource, with a public development process and no single controlling company.

PrplMesh works with WFA specifications of Wi-Fi EasyMesh, and Wi-Fi EasyMesh certification tests are regularly run on prplMesh to ensure interoperability. PrplMesh also incorporates WFA Wi-Fi Data Elements.

There is extensive joint work between Broadband Forum and Prpl Foundation, particularly on the prplMesh Northbound API. The BBF Open Broadband Multi-AP (OB-MAP) project alternates joint weekly meetings with the prplMesh Northbound API, toward developing the data model for prplMesh. The prplMesh Northbound API incorporates the Wi-Fi data model in BBF TR-181 as well as WFA Wi-Fi Data Elements. PrplMesh is also working with the BBF to define and use the internal services interface definition for communications within a device using BBR TR-369/USP.

ASSIA CloudCheck

ASSIA is directly involved with participating and leading in all these recent joint Wi-Fi efforts in BBF, WFA, WBA, and Prpl described here. These joint efforts synergistically reinforce each other, furthering the reach of the Wi-Fi standards ecosystem. ASSIA is committed to embracing open standards in our products, to ensure future proof interoperability of ASSIA CloudCheck with other software and equipment, for maximal operator benefit in managing carrier-grade Wi-Fi.

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