WBA issues guidelines for wifi sensing

  • May 17, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has issued residential wifi sensing deployment guidelines for smart homes and in-home applications.

The guidelines should help wifi service providers expand into home-based applications using motion detection, gesture recognition and biometric measurement for healthcare, security, smart homes and more.

The “Wifi Sensing Deployment Guidelines” is the latest in a series of deployment guidelines designed to help the industry, WBA members and a wide range of enterprises in different vertical industries understand the technology, its use cases, market opportunities and more.

Wifi sensing is a new and rapidly developing technology that aims to change how people use wifi networks around the world. Wifi sensing leverages existing wifi signals to sense motion, enabling a suite of applications and revenue streams in markets such as home security, caregiving, enterprise, small business and hospitality. Sensing enables wifi networks to become more interactive, apply new levels of automation, and unearth user benefits from broadband services, such as convenience, peace of mind, health insights and privacy.

Wifi is a previously untapped source of artificial intelligence for preventative and analytics-driven products that could redefine the concept of the smart home.

The guidelines focus on residential applications in single-family homes and multi-dwelling units. The paper covers key topics such as:

  • Technological benefits, relevant communication guidelines and constraints
  • Environmental and device factors that can impact sensing, such as how different types of construction materials affect signal strength and propagation in each wifi band
  • Experiments that provide insights into factors such as access point locations, interference, floor plans and more
  • General deployment guidelines including access point placement, network topology, floorplan considerations and sensitivity settings

“Wifi sensing lays the foundation for wifi service providers to expand into a wide variety of exciting new markets, including health care, home security, building automation and more,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA. “This is the latest example of the WBA’s commitment to providing the marketplace with guidance for developing and deploying innovative sensing.”

Taj Manku, CEO at Cognitive Systems, added: “The discussions and the testing facilitated through the WBA wifi sensing group not only bring awareness to wifi sensing but also improve the technology itself. The next major enhancement to wifi is sensing. We hope our work serves as an initial starting point for more stakeholders to get involved in shaping this future as the community continues working towards enhancing sensing applications and capabilities.”

And Rajkumar Upadhyay, executive director of C-Dot, said: “Wifi technology allows frugal innovations by solving various urban and rural connectivity challenges at low cost. The wifi sensing technology enables new and evolving use cases which will find immediate application in developed countries. It is interesting to map these technologies to Indian households when the government is pushing to connect every Indian home, urban and rural, with high-speed broadband connectivity.”

Sandeep Agrawal, wifi sensing project co-lead, added: “The wifi sensing project group has worked over last three years to bring comprehensive whitepapers around wifi sensing technology including its testing, measurement and deployment aspect of this technology. The papers will supplement the broader community of standardisation activities, technology and product development.”