January 21, 2014
The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) is pleased to announce a partnership with Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience. WAPA and WBA have established a cross-industry working group to facilitate communication and collaboration around open access carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks.
Recent predictions from industry analysts point towards 2014 being a breakthrough year for Wi-Fi in South Africa, as some of the larger telecommunications providers move towards providing connectivity via Wi-Fi or mobile data ‘offload’ in public areas, such as transport hubs and shopping centres.
“WAPA has long highlighted the importance of Wi-Fi to our members and the industry” says WAPA Chairperson Mohammad Patel, “and we are pleased to announce the formation of this partnership with WBA, the unquestioned worldwide expert in guidelines for high-quality Wi-Fi networks.”
WAPA and the WBA share similar aims in that both organisations are dedicated to growing the wireless industry through the dissemination of information around best practices. According to Ton Brand, Senior Director Marketing and Industry Development for WBA, “The similarity of objectives between WBA and WAPA is very prominent. We look forward to engaging with the telecoms industry in South Africa through this partnership and working together to drive the adoption of next generation Wi-Fi in this region that will ultimately secure a seamless Wi-Fi user experience for end users.”
A series of free webinars to be conducted over the next six months will run through the concepts for setting up Wi-Fi networks in line with industry best practices. These are open to the public to raise awareness, however participation in the WAPA-led working group requires WAPA membership. Topics covered will be as follows:
- Interoperability 101: Defining ‘Wi-Fi roaming’ and ‘Wi-Fi offload;’ Next Generation Hotspot (NGH)/Hotspot 2.0
- Carrier Wi-Fi: its building blocks and roadmap; best practices around open access
- Wi-Fi Roaming: WBA roaming framework; understanding WRIX
The first webinar will take place at 10am SAST on Tuesday, 28 January. Any interested parties are requested to contact WAPA for more details by emailing info [at] wapa.org.za.
WAPA Deputy Chair and Wi-Fi champion Ellie Hagopian notes that “Designing and installing a Wi-Fi network that is reliable, interoperable and able to handle the demands placed on it for value-adds such as location-based services requires a nuanced understanding of the capabilities of hardware and software, as well as industry standards.”