IEEE recently announced the availability of the IEEE 802.11ai amendment, which provides a framework for ‘Fast Initial Link Set-up (FILS)’ methods, enhancing end-user experience in high-density WLAN environments, and the IEEE 802.11 standard revision that enables multi-gigabit throughput in the 5GHz and 60GHz spectrum bands.
IEEE 802.11ai addresses challenges where a large number of mobile users are continually entering and leaving an existing extended service set (ESS) coverage area. The amendment provides scalability for a high number of users simultaneously entering an ESS, minimises time spent initializing a link, and provides secure authentication. In effect, IEEE 802.11ai significantly improves user connectivity in high-density environments, such as arenas, stadiums, airports, shopping malls, etc., as well as for automotive systems, allowing for a more secure and reliable connection, and enabling more efficient spectrum use by optimizing the protocol overhead in high-density user environments.
The IEEE 802.11 standard is revised to include amendments that enable multi-gigabit throughput in 5GHz and 60GHz spectrum bands, together with MAC enhancements:
- IEEE 802.11ae-2012: Prioritization of Management Frames
- IEEE 802.11aa-2012: MAC Enhancements for Robust Audio Video Streaming
- IEEE 802.11ad-2012: Enhancements for Very High Throughput in the 60 GHz Band
- IEEE 802.11ac-2013: Enhancements for Very High Throughput for Operation in Bands below 6 GHz
- IEEE 802.11af-2013: Television White Spaces (TVWS) Operation
These IEEE 802.11 standard enhancements offer improved physical layer capabilities within the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, as well as a WLAN solution for both the 60 GHz and TVWS bands. At the medium access control layer, enhancements include flow control of management frames, video and audio streaming enhancements, together with the ability for devices to use database control for TVWS band operation. Timing Measurement mechanisms have been extended to support finer precision applications such as ranging and positioning.