Wi-Fi 6 ready for carrier network deployment

Wireless standards body reveals successful trial for next-generation Wi-Fi, proven to deliver nearly three times faster than its predecessor and with significantly higher throughput and lower latency

The worldwide industry body dedicated to improving Wi-Fi services and standards, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), has announced the conclusion of five trial deployments of Wi-Fi 6 across diverse markets.

The trials, covering a range of verticals and deployment scenarios, demonstrated the key capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 in live networks, establishing its readiness for carrier Wi-Fi deployments around the world. This lays the foundation for deployment of Wi-Fi 6 in enterprises, homes, schools, transportation hubs, for travellers and the internet of things (IoT).

The WBA says the deployments show that Wi-Fi 6, with wider channels up to 160MHz, and capacity up to 9.6Gbps (compared with 3.5Gbps in Wi-Fi 5), can enable nearly three times faster gigabit data rates and that the standard is now proven to deliver better reliability, lower latency, more deterministic behaviour and better network efficiency, especially in environments with many connected devices.

Wi-Fi 6 is also designed to help with congestion problems, increase densification of the network with the aim of helping to connect more devices, and enable new use cases.

For many WBA members, Wi-Fi 6 is now moving rapidly to commercial deployment. A recent WBA survey found that more than 65% will have deployed Wi-Fi 6 by the end of 2021.

The WBA members setting up the trial environments and executing the test cases in end-to-end, real-life networks included network providers, infrastructure suppliers and device suppliers. The trials addressed these deployments in key vertical markets: industrial manufacturing, high-density malls, single-family and multi-dwelling units, education in rural areas, and transportation hubs.

In industrial, 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 had not performed well. The Wi-Fi 6 trial was said to have demonstrated much improved reliability, coverage, throughput and lower latency for supporting mission-critical applications.

For shopping, Korean telco SK Telecom deployed Wi-Fi 6 to improve connectivity for consumers, increase quality of experience for densely populated areas and provide high throughput for immersive media services. Wi-Fi 6 was said to have reduced latency by 80%, reduced throughput fluctuation and improved service reliability to customers throughout the mall. 

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As regards transport, in the US, Boingo, Cisco and Samsung worked together to launch Wi-Fi 6 at John Wayne Airport to power a next-generation connectivity experience and support airport operations. Following this deployment, Boingo has moved its Wi-Fi 6 technologies from trials to commercial operations, and most recently announced an airport-wide commercial deployment of Wi-Fi 6 at São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport.

“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 WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues. “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.”

Boingo Wireless chief technology officer Derek Peterson added: “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. 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.”

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