Wi-Fi 6 Is ready for carrier network deployment after the successful completion of five trials across diverse markets, according to Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
The deployments show that Wi-Fi 6, with wider channels up to 160 MHz, and capacity up to 9.6 Gbps (compared to 3.5 Gbps in Wi-Fi 5), can enable nearly three times faster gigabit data rates. They also now proves that Wi-Fi 6 delivers better reliability, lower latency, more deterministic behaviour, and better network efficiency, especially in environments with many connected devices.
Furthermore, Wi-Fi 6 will help with congestion problems, increase densification of the network – helping to connect more devices, and enable new use cases.
“These successful deployments prove the strength of Wi-Fi 6 technology to achieve better throughput, lower latency, enhanced reliability, improved network efficiency and better user experience,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO, WBA. “Ultimately, they prove the readiness of Wi-Fi 6 for carrier deployments, and the WBA continues to develop and expand new trials that support Wi-Fi 6 and 6E expansion into new areas in different geographies around the world.”
WBA is the global industry body dedicated to improving Wi-Fi services and standards. Established in 2003, it seeks to drive seamless, interoperable service experiences via Wi-Fi within the global wireless ecosystem.
Besides its advocacy role – as well as setting industry guidelines and conducting trials and certification, WBA works on key programs including NextGen Wi-Fi, 5G, IoT, Testing & Interoperability and Roaming, with member-led Work Groups dedicated to resolving standards and technical issues to promote end-to-end services and accelerate business opportunities.
The alliance enables collaboration between service providers, technology companies and organisations, with its membership include major industry players such as BSNL, Orange, Facebook, Google, HPE Aruba, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Shaw, Swisscom, Softbank, Rogers, Telstra, Telus and T-Mobile US.
The WBA Board includes AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom, BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom AG, GlobalReach Technology, Google, Intel, KT Corporation, Reliance Jio and SK Telecom.
Trials focused on key verticals
For many WBA Members, Wi-Fi 6 is now moving rapidly to commercial deployment. In a recent WBA survey, it was found that more than 65% will have deployed Wi-Fi 6 by the end of 2021.
“Wi-Fi 6 is one of the fastest-adopted technologies across numerous device categories and has amassed more than 500 million chipsets shipped. Its success across a wide range of environments is why it has become an essential feature in new smartphones and access points,” said Gabriel Desjardins, director of product marketing at Broadcom.
For the Wi-Fi 6 deployments, WBA members had set up the trial environments and executed the test cases in end-to-end real-life networks. These trials spanned key vertical markets, such as:
- Industrial manufacturing: Mettis Aerospace worked with Broadcom, Cisco, iBwave and Intel to deploy Wi-Fi 6 in a dense industrial environment with heavy metal, high temperatures and moving machinery, where previous generations of Wi-Fi did not perform well. The Wi-Fi 6 trial demonstrated much improved reliability, coverage, throughput and lower latency for supporting mission critical applications.
- High-density malls: SK Telecom deployed Wi-Fi 6 to improve connectivity for consumers, increase quality of experience (QoE) for densely populated areas and provide high throughput for immersive media services. Wi-Fi 6 reduced latency by 80%, reduced throughput fluctuation, and improved service reliability to customers anywhere, anytime, throughout the mall.
- Single-family and multi-dwelling units: CableLabs, Intel and Kyrio deployed Wi-Fi 6 in a mixed-use residential area to increase the user experience in a Wi-Fi loaded network. In this trial, Wi-Fi 6 delivered a significant increase in throughput, enabling the delivery of multiple 4K video with higher quality.
- Education in rural areas: C-DOT and Intel deployed Wi-Fi 6 in a rural school trial in India to enhance new learning technologies, and improve signal coverage and streaming performance. Wi-Fi 6 improved throughput by more than 50% throughout the network.
- Transportation hubs like John Wayne Airport: In the U.S, Boingo, Cisco and Samsung worked together to launch Wi-Fi 6 at John Wayne Airport (SNA) to power a next generation connectivity experience and support airport operations. Following the SNA deployment, Boingo has moved its Wi-Fi 6 technologies from trials to commercial operations and most recently, Boingo has announced an airport-wide commercial deployment of Wi-Fi 6 at São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), delivering incredibly fast speeds and low latency to passengers.
Ready for commercial deployments
Indeed, the recently-concluded establishes Wi-Fi 6 readiness for carrier Wi-Fi deployments around the world, as the trials show the key capabilities of the technology in live networks. This lays the foundation for deployment of Wi-Fi 6 in enterprises, homes, schools, transportation hubs, travellers and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Wi-Fi 6 is a strategic pillar of Boingo’s technology roadmap to elevate wireless performance and equip airports and other large venues with connectivity solutions for the 5G world. Wi-Fi 6 meets key 5G requirements to power a broad range of connected use cases in dense environments with greater capacity, speed and scalability,” said Dr. Derek Peterson, chief technology officer at Boingo Wireless.
“We are pleased to be among the first to put Wi-Fi 6 in action and move the technology from lab to real-world launch,” he added.
Eric McLaughlin, vice president of the Client Computing Group and general manager of the Wireless Solutions Group at Intel noted that the WBA trials demonstrate how Wi-Fi 6 addresses connectivity challenges in real-world deployments
“We are committed to driving adoption of Wi-Fi 6 across industries, localities and public spaces. And we look forward to ongoing collaboration with the industry to enable the best connectivity solutions for today and in the future.”
Matthew MacPherson, chief technology officer of wireless at Cisco said that manufacturing and other industrial organisations should be so excited by the results of the Wi-Fi 6 trials.
"Mettis is a great example of a ‘challenging’ Wi-Fi environment. Using Cisco wireless technology, Mettis was able to reliably use Wi-Fi for truly game-changing applications,” he said.
He pointed out that this is a testament to the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 for industrial use cases, as well as the innovation of the WBA, Cisco and partners.
“The lessons we learned as part of this trial will help so many other companies as they look to digitise,” he added.