What Wi-Fi 6 technology is - and why it matters

What Wi-Fi 6 technology is - and why it matters
Published: 15 July 2019 - 8:50 p.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer
Wi-Fi 6 could have a big impact on society.

In preparation for the impending release of next-generation Wi-Fi technology later this year, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has released a new white paper that provides deployment guidelines for a number of possible scenarios utilising Wi-Fi 6 technology. With the white paper release, operators, enterprises and cities now have the tools needed to embrace and deploy Wi-Fi 6 when it’s released later this year.

Globally, dependence upon Wi-Fi continues to grow exponentially, driven by a number of factors:
• The number of Wi-Fi devices in the world – 9 billion – now outnumbers the 7.6 billion people on the planet.
• Global enterprises this year will generate more than 33 billion exabytes of IP traffic. By 2022, that number will grow to more than 63 billion exabytes of IP traffic, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%.
• Wi-Fi is the primary access technology in most broadband households, with 76% of US households using Wi-Fi as the primary broadband connection.

As this newest white paper from WBA illustrates, savvy deployment of Wi-Fi 6 can mitigate some of the growing pains that Wi-Fi is experiencing, while ensuring that operators, enterprises and vendors meet important service-level agreements (SLAs). As such, the work released today proposes guidelines to ensure SLAs around bandwidth, throughput, latency, traffic prioritisation and numerous other factors.

The paper also provides guidelines for RF planning and design, with consideration given to factors like band steering, MU-MIMO and adjusting for high-density deployments that demand increased capacity. Additionally, today’s release addresses ways that Wi-Fi 6 deployments can provide seamless mobility and backward compatibility with previous Wi-Fi generation technology.

“Since its inception 20 years ago, Wi-Fi has become a fundamental expectation for consumers and enterprises alike,” said Tiago Rodrigues, general manager of the WBA.

“This latest white paper comes at a crucial time; not only is global demand for Wi-Fi continuing unabated, but operators worldwide are ramping up 5G networks, and governmental authorities around the world are preparing to open 6GHz spectrum to Wi-Fi traffic. Today’s announcement illustrates the dedication of the WBA and its member companies to providing timely, expert direction to ensure that Wi-Fi deployments successfully accommodate all of these global factors.”

To that end, the paper provides a number of deployment scenarios for Wi-Fi 6, including public venues, stadiums, residential and multi-dwelling units, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise WLANs.

The release was developed in conjunction with WBA’s Next Gen Wi-Fi Work Group develop, including operator representatives from Boingo Wireless, BT and Charter Communications, as well as vendor representatives from Broadcom, Cisco and CommScope.

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