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Wifi 6 ready for carrier network deployment

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Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has declared Wifi 6 as being ready for carrier network deployment following the successful completion of five trial deployments.

The trials covered several different verticals and deployment scenarios to demonstrate the key capabilities of Wifi 6 in live networks and establish its readiness for carrier Wifi deployments around the world, including in enterprises, homes, schools and transportation hubs as well as in IoT technology.

The trials involved WBA members including Boingo Wireless, Cisco and Intel Corp, among others. They confirmed that Wifi 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.

“These successful deployments prove the strength of Wifi 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 Wifi 6 for carrier deployments, and the WBA continues to develop and expand new trials that support Wifi 6 and 6E expansion into new areas in different geographies around the world,” Rodrigues added.

Concluding the trials, WBA said Wifi 6 was proven to deliver better reliability, lower latency, more deterministic behaviour, and better network efficiency, especially in environments with many connected devices. Further, it will help with congestion problems, increase densification of the network – helping to connect more devices – and enable new use cases.

“At Intel, we are committed to driving adoption of Wifi 6 across industries, localities and public spaces,” said Eric McLaughlin, VP client computing group and GM wireless solutions group, at Intel Corporation. “The WBA trials demonstrate how Wifi 6 addresses connectivity challenges in real-world deployments. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with the industry to enable the best connectivity solutions for today and in the future,” McLaughlin added.

In a recent WBA survey, 65% said they will have deployed Wifi 6 by the end of 2021 and, for many WBA Members, the technology is now moving rapidly to commercial deployment.

Derek Peterson, CTO for Boingo Wireless, commented: “Wifi 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. Wifi 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.”

Trials entered the first phase back in March and, at the time, WBA said the development would “remove pain points” currently caused by overcrowding on Wifi networks. It also said the new band will provide “more capacity than all the other Wifi bands put together and deliver connections with speeds equivalent to the new advanced 5G mobile networks”.

By the time WBA’s annual Wireless Global Congress came round in October, the association was ready to declare the world to be “on the verge of becoming one giant Wifi network”. Updating delegates on its OpenRoaming initiative, WBA made a series of announcements during the congress, including the creation of a secure and seamless global Wifi network that could enable business users and consumers to switch to, and pick up, a Wifi signal almost anywhere in the world.