In a joint paper, NGMN Alliance and Wireless Broadband Alliance discuss how Wi-Fi and mobile networks can continue to grow together in the future. The ideas range from pure WLAN devices connected to 5G core networks.
Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) and Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) are currently discussing access networks (RAN) that bring together different wireless technologies. First results have been compiled by the partners in the preliminary RAN Convergence Paper (PDF) .
The document refers to the links of 5G and Wi-Fi already considered by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). 3GPP Release 15 supports unsafe channels via non-3GPP Inter-Working Function (N3IWF) and delivers messages via IKEv2 / IPsec tunnels. Release 16 would include access traffic steering, switching, and splitting.
The convergence of technologies could help to close dead spots in closed buildings. In addition, mobile devices could be better managed than previously based on a common identity. For network operators, a convergence of mobile and WLAN could also open up new business opportunities.
But also possible difficulties and challenges do not ignore the authors in their paper. If, for example, converged infrastructures are to be populated with pure WLAN devices, they would have to have alternative identification options.