Wi-Fi 6 'is ready' for carrier deployments

Wi-Fi 6
(Image credit: Netgear)

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has declared Wi-Fi 6 to be ready for carrier network deployment after the successful completion of trials of the technology in a variety of consumer and business settings.

As might be expected, Wi-Fi 6 promises significant improvements in speed, capacity and latency when compared to previous generations of wireless technology. This guarantees a higher degree of performance and reliability, especially in networks where multiple devices are competing for bandwidth.

Wi-Fi 6 will allow broadband providers to improve Wi-Fi speeds in the home, reducing churn, and enable them to differentiate their services with additional offerings such as smart home.

Wi-Fi 6 carrier deployments

However, there is hope that the standard can transform business and industrial connectivity while mobile operators consider Wi-Fi 6 to be a complementary technology to 5G and will enable converged network strategies comprising fixed, wireless and cellular connectivity.

Specifically, convergence will see the lines between wireless and cellular connectivity blurred, allowing operators to seamlessly move traffic between networks while maintaining a high level of control and visibility. The end user should benefit from a superior experience and better connectivity.

The WBA’s trials focused on five key use cases – industrial manufacturing, shopping malls, homes, education in rural areas, and transportation hubs such as airports – to illustrate the key capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 in a live network setting.

The tests found that the wider channels of up to 160MHz enabled data rates of 9.6Gbps – three times faster than Wi-Fi 5 – demonstrating the ability for Wi-Fi 6 to densify network environments, ease congestion, and enable new services.

“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.”

ABI Research predicts that demand for higher speed applications that require lower latency will see sales of wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE) reach 254 million, more than half of which will support Wi-Fi 6.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.