OpenWiFi is an industry movement that promotes access to the internet. OpenWiFi is a community developed network, disaggregated Wi-Fi software system, offered as free open-source software, that includes both a cloud controller SDK and an Enterprise-grade Access Point (AP) firmware.
Understanding OpenWiFi stack
The OpenWiFi stack. Source: Telecom Infra Project
The two main layers of the OpenWiFi stack are:
Access Point Firmware: Meet our rapidly growing multi-carrier demand with features like support for multiple topologies and WiFi standards. One of its Network Operating System (NOS) features is embedded captive portals which allow for easy airtime fairness with local provisioning over SSID, SSID rate limiting, inter-AP communication and much more.
Cloud Controller SDK: The SDK supports the features of Zero Touch Provisioning, Firmware Management, RESTful Northbound Interface (NBI), Data Model-Driven API, Template-Based Provisioning with RADIUS profile management, and Advanced RF Control with RRM. It also supports troubleshooting with remote access.
Benefits of OpenWiFi
OpenWiFi provides a base codebase which means that developers don’t need to start from scratch when building their own WiFi products. With a smaller barrier to entry, more providers will be able to offer better WiFi products and services. In simple, OpenWiFi makes it easier for providers to offer WiFi products and services. New providers can easily enter the market without having to spend money on development costs because OpenWiFi handles all of that for them.
As opposed to using their efforts in “WiFi plumbing”, enterprises can focus on product or service innovation. In other words, they can focus on the innovative applications instead of the WiFi stack.
OpenWiFi allows service providers to select a cloud controller and access point that best suits their needs. There’s no vendor lock-in. With OpenWiFi, service providers are able to choose the type of cloud controller and access point they want.
Paired with lower pricing from economies of scale, OpenWiFi is expected to lead to lower CAPEX and OPEX. This leads to a low Total Cost of Ownership for customers. Again, in simple, OpenWiFi is expected to reduce the cost of running a hotspot.
- Lower R&D cost to develop enterprise-grade WiFi solutions
- Accelerated, open innovation
- Favorable economics for Service Providers and Enterprises
- Community Driven Development
- Fully Disaggregated Open Tech Stack, with an advanced feature set
- Commercial-Grade Automated Testing
- Product Compliance Validation
- Globally Secure Zero Touch Provisioning
Players involved in OpenWiFi
In May 2021, OpenWiFi included more than 100 participants including services providers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), system integrators, silicon vendors and industry organizations. These names include Qualcomm, MediaTek, Indio Networks, Facebook and many more.
The TIP project’s Open Converged Wireless team co-operates with other groups in the process of OpenWiFi. An example is the collaboration with other WBA projects OpenRoaming which TIP has adopted.