Wi-Fi 6 and 5G crucial for digital transformation

(Image credit: Netgear)

The fifth generation of cellular technology (5G) and the sixth generation of Wi-Fi networking technology (Wi-Fi 6) will complement each other and will be game changers for digital transformation, according to an industry expert.

Speaking to TechRadar Middle East, Alaa ElShimy, Managing Director and Vice President for Enterprise Business at Huawei Middle East, said that the biggest limitation for digital transformation is connectivity.

However, he said that with better technological capabilities, Wi-Fi 6 will have a great impact on the digital transformation across multiple industries. He also said that Wi-Fi 6 is injecting new momentum into the market applications and service innovations which will be a “new growth engine” in the next three years and will become equal to or more than the sales of Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2.  ElShimy believes that that everyone in the UAE would have migrated to Wi-Fi 6 in the next two to three years

Pushing the standards

In 2015, the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard was released to push beamforming and MU-MIMO to the mainstream, improving the system access capacity. However, 802.11ac supports only 5GHz terminals, which degrades user experience on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Huawei is one of the key contributors to the 802.11 group and to Wi-Fi 6 in particular.

Wireless standards evolve once every three to four years and Wi-Fi 6 brings additional advantages of supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, thus making it more compatible with older standards than Wi-Fi 5.

“We are entering into an era of the fully connected and intelligent world; old ways of connectivity do not serve us in terms of user density, bandwidth requirements and latency. While 5G brings a revolution to cellular networks, Wi-Fi 6 will help us push WLAN capabilities to new limits.

“Wireless networks are becoming capable of handling critical user services like 4K/8K, AR & VR, connected robotics, [supporting]  higher number of users per access point, better application awareness and experience,”  ElShimy said.

ElShimy thinks that current wireless access points and 4G networks aren’t equipped to handle the number of devices trying to simultaneously connect to the network and he believes that Wi-Fi 6 is the ideal solution. He states that Wi-Fi 6 is four times faster than Wi-Fi 5 and has four times the capacity. 

“The speed [for] Wi-Fi 5 is between 1Gbps and 2.5Gbps while [Wi-Fi 6] can go up to 10GBps. Wireless networks are becoming capable of handling critical user services like 4K/8K, AR & VR, connected robotics, [supporting]  higher number of users per access point, better application awareness and experience,”  ElShimy said.