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Wi-Fi Advanced

802.11ai

The 802.11ai project addresses a few common concerns users had about legacy Wi-Fi.

While Wi-Fi is widely used for traffic offload, the long initial acquisition time means a moving user can be served by a Wi-Fi AP only for a limited duration. By simplifying the authentication, association & IP address assignment procedures and introducing short beacons, the initial set-up time can be reduced by 2-3 seconds. This will benefit mobile users as the time they are served by the Wi-Fi AP will increase.

Popularity of Wi-Fi leads to denser deployment, which causes more frequent AP-to-AP handovers. Another improvement in 802.11ai is to improve AP-to-AP handover by reducing the interruption time as well as assisting STAs to choose the right AP.

For users already connected to a Wi-Fi AP, the arrival of a large number of users can cause what is known as “probe storm” and consequently temporary service outage. This is a common problem noticed in large train and subway stations due to the frequency of trains arriving on multiple platforms. By reducing the number and size of probe responses and the number of messages for association, the user experience can be preserved even as hundreds of users try to access the Wi-Fi AP.