Updated: Aug 17
Recently we had the WiFi Day on 20th of June 2020. An event was conducted by the Broadband India Forum to celebrate the WiFi Day 2020. The Event Partners were:
IEEE SA (Standards Association)
Wireless Broadband Alliance
The Knowledge Partner was: CRER
Dr. R.S. Sharma
Mr. Ajit Pai
Sh. Anshu Prakash
Ms. Dorothy Stanley
Prof. Abhay Karandikar
Mr. TV Ramachandran
Mr. Shashi Dharan
Mr. Rajat Mukarji
Mr. Rajat Mukarji
Mr. Rajat Mukarji (Director of BIF) was the Host for the session and welcomed the audience to the 2nd Edition of the Digital Dialogue. He introduced us with the speakers and welcomed Mr. T.V. Ramachandran (President of BIF). He said that we are privileged to have such super eminent panelists with us in the session.
He said that India has tremendous ambition for Digital India. India having a population of 1.3 Billion has a lot of diversity and this creates a lot of challenges there to achieve goals. But India has shown potential to absorb new technology.
In 1992, GSM Communication was there. It was tried and tested in some areas of Europe. It was not launched everywhere.
It was introduced in India in 1995 for the first time. Today India is a world leader in this technology.
In 2012, India made an entry in 4G. It has worked a lot in the field of WiFi and Broadband.
The UPI Payment Service has been a brilliant innovation. In Delhi, Noida and Bangalore, this has been an extremely user friendly service. While India currently is just at Base Level as compared to other countries in terms of Wireless Services. The Broadband India Forum will soon develop newer technologies and lift India in wireless services. Various investments like an investment of US Dollar 15.38 Billion are also in line.
While at the same time, India leads in "STD" in the world.
India's telecommunication network is the second largest in the world by number of telephone users (both fixed and mobile phone) with 1.1724 billion subscribers as on 31 Dec 2019.
The Spectrum Availability is a problem. In the Post Pandemic period, the 6 GHz technological advancement would be very important for India. If this is de - licensed in US, it will be a boon. This will help in the inward penetration of Wi-Fi in India,
Affordability and Quality are very important factors.
BIF would like to rededicate itself in providing value Wi-Fi.
He said that they are very delighted that the CMD of RailTel is present with them in the event as the Chair person. The proposed brand by RailTel is "Janwani" which means "Voice of the people".
They assume the WiFi mission to attain full access.
Further Mr. Rajat Mukarji introduced us with Mr. Abhay Karandikar as an eminent Educator and Engineer.
Mr. Abhay Karandikar
Mr. Karandikar took forward the discussion and discussed over "Role of WiFi in Engineering". He covered the following points:
WiFi and Broadband access in India
Technical Advancement and Spectrum Regulations
Public WiFi Network
WiFi and 5G
WiFi Technical Advancements:
Sub GHz:- IEEE 802.11 ah (WiFi Ha Low) . It works in 900 MHz.
-Unlicensed Band - Relatively Low Range.
- Support for IoT.
2. WiFi 6 GHz - Wi-Fi is expanding into the 6GHz band, giving Wi-Fi 6 devices a new multilane expressway for faster internet traffic.
3. mm Wave Wi-Fi - 60 Hz - 60 GHz mm Waves radios nowadays are considered as a core short-range wireless technology capable to solve the spectrum shortage.
6 GHz -
a) Large Frequency Bandwidth upto 1200 MHz
b) USA - 1200 MHz ( 5925 - 7125 MHz) may be available for unlicensed operations
2. 60 GHz -
802.11ay is a type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set of WLANs. It will have a frequency of 60 GHz, a transmission rate of up to 40 Gbps and an extended transmission distance of 300–500 meters.
Public Wi- Fi Hotspot:
In most of the major economies, upto 70% of the total usage time is through Public Wi- Fi hotspots but in India, it is less than 10%.
Policies in India:
National Digital Communication Policy 2018
2. TRAI Recommendation on Public Wi-Fi
5G Use Cases and Wi-Fi
Support for eMBB Use Cases
Support for IoT Use Cases
Sub GHz Wi-Fi ( 900 MHz )
Emerging Mobile Network Architecture:
Increased Network Densification
Multi RAT Networks - Presence of 3GPP and Non- 3GPP Access ( Eg - Wi - Fi )
Unified 5G Core
Common Interface towards Core for Access network
WiFi an important access
IEEE P 1930.1 - Unified Multi - RAT RAN
SDN Middleware - Abstract Information Model of underlying RAN through virtual network entities
SDN Controller - SDN based RAN Architecture
Rural Broadband Connectivity in India
Internet Broadband Penetration Status: India has approximately 60 million people who don't have Broadband.
In developed countries, majorly fiber and DSL are used
In developing countries, Cellular Technology is the primary broadband access mechanism.
IEEE P2061 - Network Architecture
Large coverage area cells to provide ubiquitous connectivity.
Small cells (WiFi hotspots) are used as high speed access points.
Technology for Rural Areas
Through Optical Fiber, connectivity is provided to Gram Panchayats.
Challenges: The Fiber can reach to the Gram Panchayat office. At GP Office, Wi-Fi hotspots can be established. From the GP Offices, the Internet connectivity can be provided through Point to Point Link or the P2061 network architecture can help.
BharatNet and CSC:
CSC (Citizen Service Centre) is an organ to deliver citizen services.
Maintained by the Government.
WiFi Chaupaals are established.
CSC WiFi Chaupaals:
Maintained by the Village Level Entrepreneurs. For Local Problems, local solutions are found out by local persons.
They also talked further about the WiFi in Urban Areas.
The discussion was further carried forward by Ms. Dorothy Stanley.
Ms. Dorothy Stanley
Her topic of discussion was "The Role of WiFi in Broadband Proliferation: IEEE 802.11 Std s1 Wi-Fi-6 and beyond "
She said that the need for broadband is global and it is an essential requirement for every country.
IEEE 802.11 systems are used extensively today in Broadband solutions.
IEEE 802.11 systems for remote connectivity, disaster management, targeting developing countries.
IEEE 802.11 Standards enable interoperable, low cost Wi-Fi enabled broadband standards for today and in the future:
Leading Edge Technology
Radio Spectrum availability is essential.
Acknowledged recent Indian Ministry and FCC actions - India has high spectrum available in 5 GHz for Wi-Fi as compared to Europe.
Market demands and new technology drive IEEE 802.11 innovation
Demand for throughput -
802.11ax /WiFi 6 - Increased throughput and efficiency in 2.4 , 5 and 6 GHz bands.
802.11ay - Support for 20Gbps rates in 60GHz bands.
Categories of Enhancements in 802.11 ax (Wi-Fi 6)
Spectral Efficiency and Area throughput
Outdoor/ Longer Range
IEEE 802.11 ax meets the MAC / PHY requirements for 5G IMT -2020 Indoor Hotspot Test Environment defined by ITU-R
IEEE 802.11 ay is defining next generation 60 GHz : increased throughput
60 GHz Mesh Backhaul Wireless Use Case: Deploying Today
Vendors are loading the WiFi and Wireless network solutions through Cambium networks
802.11 be is a new amendment that builds on 802.11 ax
Has extremely high throughput (EHT)
Higher Throughput - upto 30 Gbps
New 802.11 Radio technologies are under development to meet expanding market needs and leverage new technologies for broadband deployments:
Random and changing MAC addresses - study group
Sensing - Study group
Wi-Fi / 802.11 technologies continue to be a foundation for innovative solutions
Project Owl : IBM - backed project created Wi-Fi network for Natural Disasters through "Clusterducks" .
Further the moderator introduced us with the Chief Guest for the session, Mr. Ajit Pai who is currently the Chairman at FCC in Washington, USA.
Mr. Ajit Pai
He said that we are connected with our families through WiFi in COVID times. The Power of WiFi is to connect the unconnected.
FCC celebrated it's birthday recently. FCC was created with the intention to make Wire and Radio communication available to US Citizens. A few years later, the U.S. Government created a new agency. Now, even distance learning and gaming are part of it's services. It is an indispensable platform for job creation. Even before the COVID times, WiFi as a technology had a lot of traffic. In a very real sense, WiFi is a fabric which connected devices. It would surely double the economic value which is 3 Trillion Dollars.
Social Distancing had made us all shift to online. Communication services merged with the American Broadband Devices has helped to keep the Americans connected. The steps they took :
1. No paying of Bills
2. No paying of Internet services.
3. They created Wifi Hotspots to help the Americans who did not have WiFi at home.
FCC's plans to get the Next Generation WiFi:
1. WiFi 6 - For connecting the devices and to get other opportunities.
2. 6 GHz Band - For Augmented Reality Classes and for Virtual Reality Games for Engineers and Technologists.
The Indian Government has shown a lot of interest in exploring the possibilities of 6 GHz band.
Broadband PCS dates back to 1989 when the FCC received several petitions for ... technologies, including the spectrum in the 1850 – 1990 MHz range. In 1993, the FCC announced service rules for Broadband PCS.
In 1989, FCC issued 5 guidelines dedicated for Low Short Range. FCC took the initiative for further advancement. In 1993, the FCC announced service rules for Broadband PCS.
In Rural areas, the Service providers provided the faster speed of Internet and expanded the network.
The discussion was further carried forward by Dr. R.S. Sharma who is an IAS and current Chairman of TRAI.
He said that we need to have a robust Digital Connectivity Infrastructure. In it's absence, we can't run applications. Wi-Fi plays a very important role.
Public Policy Perspective
Why Proliferation is required?
In terms of the ICT Development Index ( IDI ) given by ITU with respect to the number of countries, we are not at a great place. We need to progress in terms of Information Infrastructure. While USA has developed the single line fibre, India used to get fixed telephone lines. Today, only 7% data is coming from the fixed lines. 93% data is wireless. This puts a load on the Spectrum and therefore quality gets affected. To cause less loss of data, in US, WiFi hotspots have been established. In India, we are still not able to establish these Wi-Fi hotspots. We need to proliferate Wi-Fi.
India is marked as a peculiar market where we need to give scalar scalable technology. Earlier, in India, the call rates were 40 paisa/minute. Now we have adopted newer technologies and as a result now we have negligible rates.
Three years back, they gave a proposal for WiFi. It was developed over an exercise of 1 year. It's aim was that:
1. There should be an inter-operable WiFi system.
Example, if we go to an airport, an OTP is given and we get 13 minutes free WiFi.
Every time you go to a new WiFi network range, you need to go for authentication.
If free WiFi is available at a place, it is ok else if paid WiFi facility is there, then a person has to pay by NetBanking facility.
2. For security purposes, OTP is important.
Authentication and Accountability are marked as the two important factors.
Emitting Points can be developed:
a) If there is a shop, which would take 2 Rs. and would give you the WiFi for half an hour. That is one of the ways.
b) Create a software infrastructure which will provide digital infrastructure. You don't need to authenticate again and again.
Example, if there is a poor kirana WiFi person, there you need to just plugin and rest is taken care of by the cloud. You don't need to authenticate every time.
For example, there is Aadhar based authentication. It's a third party based authentication. There they are able to develop Aadhar enabled Payment System . We are creating 1 Billion /Month Aadhar authentications
UPI as a platform has enabled payment system which is mobilized. and even 1 Rs. can be transferred from 1 account to another.
This needs to be replicated at various sectors.
Example, at a Kirana store, we can purchase a 2 Rs. sachet and make payment using UPI.
India needs to have low value and, high volume to create sustainability. If a population has 10 billion with 20 dollars or in the other case, there is a population with 2 dollars and 1 billion that makes up to be 2 Billion.
So, the speaker said they gave these recommendations and if it would have been approved then India would have created another record.
The Speaker further discussed about the Pull Model of the Broadband. He said that RailTel has a lot of fibre. There will be lot of demand for fibre.
He said that Mr. Pai talked about delicensing of the 6 GHz which would provide more economic value in many spectrum bands.
He mentioned one study of Satellite Bandwidth where 1 MegaByte Cost of Data coming to Satellite is equal to 384 times that of USA.
These are part of the National Digital Policy.
He mentioned about the Free/ open skies. Open Skies approach allows nationally-authorized service providers to choose any satellite operator or satellite service provider to distribute the specific services to the specific service area(s) required for their end-users (national and international).
He emphasized on the need to put the growth at an accelerated pace where BharatNet hopefully will be able to provide Wi-Fi or communication facility to Rural India. The infrastructure providers need more investment in Wi-Fi space or in Infrastructure space as they are the key players.
Further some questions were put forward by the Moderator for the panelists:
A question was asked by the Host that when can we expect TRAI to start the 6 GHz process ?
For which it was responded that talking about the Licensing and Rates etc. they would require permissions from Department of Telecommunication. They also needed a guided reference which till date of the session, they had not received.
Mr. Shashi Dharan ( MD, Bharat Exhibitions ) gave a special thanks to Chairman, TRAI for sending various recommendations.
The Moderator ended the session giving a thanks to all the eminent panelists. Listening to all the speakers, with this the Moderator ended the session with a promise to change access to Information Technology.
1. Dr. R.S. Sharma
New Delhi, India
A senior IAS Officer who after a meritorious record of Government service including as Head of UIDAI, now leads the renowned telecom regulatory body for orderly growth and consumer protection in both the telecom and broadcasting sectors.
2. Mr. Ajit Pai
A graduate (honors) from Harvard University (1994) and from University of Chicago Law School (1997), he is known for championing modernization. He has previously served in various positions of increasing responsibility at the FCC, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Senate
3. Sh. Anshu Prakash
Chairman Digital Communications Commission and Secretary (T), Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
4. Ms. Dorothy Stanley
Chair 802.11 (WiFi), IEEE
Her work in standards development and Industry interoperability programs continue to enable the WiFi industry to innovate and provide disruptive solutions. Has led and contributed to numerous Wi-Fi Alliance Task Groups and received Outstanding Contribution Awards from the WFA, now serving there.
5. Prof. Abhay Karandikar
Director, IIT Kanpur and former Chairman of TSDSI, IIT Kanpur
Part – Time Member of TRAI, was founding member and former Chairman of TSDSI.
Was also member of High –Level Forum on 5G and Chaired the 5G Spectrum Policy Task Force.
Awarded with IEEE SA’s Standard Medallion in December 2016, he has several patents to his name and contributions to IEEE and 3GPP standards.
6. Mr. TV Ramachandran
President, Broadband India Forum
New Delhi, India
An esteemed industry veteran, TV has been part of the mobile telephony sector in India since, it’s very inception; as the first CEO of Sterling Cellular, Delhi; and having established and led COAI for 12 years. Also Honorary Fellow of IET, London
7. Mr. Shashi Dharan
MD, BE Expositions Pvt. Ltd. (Bharat Exhibitions)
New Delhi, India
8. Mr. Rajat Mukarji
Director General, Broadband India Forum