1. According to Dell’Oro Group’s Wireless LAN Quarterly Report, the Wireless LAN market reached a new high in the second quarter, eclipsing $2 Billion, with HPE Aruba and Juniper Mist overcoming supply constraints to contribute over two thirds of the shipment growth outside China. Enterprises saw a 10 percent increase in average prices compared to last year, boosting manufacturers’ revenues and helping to defray additional costs.
“HPE and Juniper really pulled rabbits out of their hats this quarter ̶ Aruba and Mist represent the majority of the growth in units shipped outside China,” says Siân Morgan, Wireless LAN Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole for the manufacturers. They’ll get their hands on one particular access point component and then another shortage will pop up. We’re expecting shipments to be lumpy through the next few quarters.”
Cisco has promised shipments ‘en masse’ for enterprises, and all of the manufacturers are busy finding creative solutions: redesigning products, using brokerage firms, or bypassing component distributors.
“Wireless LAN solutions have also become more expensive for enterprises. It’s very rare to see such a long stretch of quarters with year-over-year price increases. It’s a combination of higher-end products being available, including the new Wi-Fi 6E technology, as well as a general move by the manufacturers to cover their escalating costs. Looking ahead we have to ask ourselves how long the market will bear these higher prices,” added Morgan.
Additional highlights from the 2Q 2022 Wireless LAN Quarterly Report:
- The Wireless LAN market saw two distinct phenomena driving the growth: one in China, and another one in the markets outside China.
- In light of the China lockdowns, the Wireless LAN market in China showed surprising strength with both Huawei and H3C pulling in strong quarters.
- Wi-Fi 6E shipments accelerated this quarter, as another half dozen vendors started shipping products supporting the new 6 GHz band. However, now in its fourth quarter of product availability, Wi-Fi 6E is lagging the adoption rate of the prior two generations of Wi-Fi.
- Revenue from public cloud-managed APs has outpaced the market. The cloud-managed AP business is still dominated by Cisco – although this quarter, Juniper grabbed an outsized market share in cloud-managed Wireless LAN.
Sian wrote in an email to this author, “It is difficult to judge changes in market share based on one or two quarters, given that supply constraints are making shipment volumes choppy. To understand how the market is unfolding it is useful to look at market share based on trailing four-quarter averages, which are shown in the chart below.
Dell’Oro note earlier this year that supply chain issues increased vendor backlogs by up to 15-times normal levels. “Many enterprises have planned network upgrades and the popular connection is Wi-Fi. The trouble is getting it. Several manufacturers announced that components from second and third-tier suppliers became the bottleneck in 1Q22,” said Tam Dell’Oro, Founder, CEO and Wireless LAN Analyst. “Supply constraints have resulted in highly volatile quarterly performance vendor-to-vendor depending on whether or not they have all the components. For example, sales may be up 20 percent in one quarter and down 20 percent the next. Another item, which could potentially cause delays, that we are keeping our eye on are the contract negotiations between the west coast dockworkers union and the Maritime Association,” added Dell’Oro.
The Dell’Oro Group Wireless LAN Quarterly Report offers complete, in-depth coverage of the Enterprise Outdoor and Indoor markets, Wireless LAN Controllers with tables containing manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and unit shipments by the following wireless standards: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6 and 6E [6 GHz]), 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) Wave 1 vs. Wave 2, and historic IEEE 802.11 standards. The Enterprise market is portrayed by Public Cloud vs. Premises and Private Cloud deployments, as well as by ten Vertical markets and by Customer Size. To purchase these reports, please contact us by email at [email protected].
2. IDC reports that the enterprise segment of the worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market continued its strong growth in the second quarter of 2022 (2Q22), increasing 20.4% year over year to $2.1 billion. That’s according to the IDC report: “Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker.”
The 20.4% annualized growth builds on the enterprise WLAN market growing 17.1% year over year in the first quarter of 2022. In the first half of 2022, the enterprise WLAN market has grown 18.4% compared to the first half of 2021. Growth in the enterprise WLAN market continues to be driven by the latest Wi-Fi standard, known as Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax. Wi-Fi 6 access points (AP) made up 76.5% of the revenues in the Dependent AP segment and accounted for 62.7% of unit shipments within the segment. Wi-Fi 5 products, also known as 802.11ac, made up the remaining balance of Dependent AP sales.
The consumer segment of the WLAN market declined 3.5% year over year in 2Q22, with the quarter’s unit shipments remaining relatively flat at 0.6% growth compared to the first quarter of 2022. Adoption of Wi-Fi 6 continues in the consumer segment of the WLAN market too: In 2Q22, Wi-Fi 6 made up 33.5% of the market’s revenues.
“The enterprise WLAN market continues to grow at a rapid clip, emphasizing the importance of wireless technology in the network and digital transformation goals of organizations across the globe,” said Brandon Butler, research manager, Enterprise Networks at IDC. “The enterprise WLAN market is not immune to challenges however, with the supply chain disruptions and component shortages being notable examples. But strong demand for wireless refreshes to Wi-Fi 6 – and increasingly to Wi-Fi 6E – is buoying the market and leading to strong growth rates.”
The enterprise WLAN market had mixed results across the globe. In the United States, the market increased 15.7% annually, while in Latin America the market grew 47.7% from a year earlier. In Canada the market declined 1.6%. In Western Europe, the market increased 45.4%, but in Central and Eastern Europe, the market declined 20.6%. Within Central and Eastern Europe, Russia’s market declined 73.2% as the Russia-Ukraine war rages on. In the Middle East & Africa, the market rose 23.2%. In the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan and China, the market rose 26.5%, while in the People’s Republic of China the market increased 8.7% year over year. In Japan the market rose 6.2%.
Vendor highlights (note that Juniper Mist is NOT mentioned by IDC as a leading wireless LAN vendor):
- Cisco’s enterprise WLAN revenues increased 19.3% year over year in 2Q22 to $792.0 million, giving the company market share of 37.7%, compared to market share of 41.5% in the previous quarter, 1Q22.
- HPE-Aruba revenues rose 48.6% year over year in 2Q22, giving the company market share of 14.9%, down from 16.5% in the first quarter.
- Ubiquiti enterprise WLAN revenues increased 10.5% year over year in 2Q22, giving the company 7.9% market share in the quarter, up from 7.1% in 1Q22.
- Huawei enterprise WLAN revenues rose 20.0% year over year in 2Q22, giving the company 8.5% market share, up from 4.6% market share in the previous quarter.
- H3C revenues increased 16.4% year over year in 2Q22, giving the company market share of 4.6%, up from 4.3% in 1Q22.
The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker provides total market size and vendor share data in an easy-to-use Excel Pivot Table format. The geographic coverage includes nine major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, People’s Republic of China, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan & China), Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Middle East and Africa) and 60 countries. The WLAN market is further segmented by product class, product type, product, standard, and location. Measurement for the WLAN market is provided in vendor revenue, value, and unit shipments.
About IDC Trackers:
IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly Excel deliverables and on-line query tools.
According to a new research report “Wi-Fi 6 Market Global Forecast to 2027,” published by MarketsandMarkets™, the global Wi-Fi 6 market size is expected to grow from $11.5 billion in 2022 to $26.2 billion by 2027, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.9% during the forecast period.
Wi-Fi 6 is an acronym for the IEEE 802.11ax standard. Prior to the release of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi standards were identified by version numbers ranging from 802.11b to 802.11ac.
The managed services Wi-Fi 6 market segment is expected to grow at a higher CAGR than enterprise or consumer Wi-Fi 6 during the forecast period. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer are third–party IT service providers that remotely manage the IT infrastructure and systems of clients for backup and recovery of business–critical data. These service providers carry out 24/7 remote monitoring of Wi–Fi 6 networks for their commercial clients. Enterprises opt for managed services to overcome the challenges of budget constraints and technical expertise as managed service providers have skilled human resources, infrastructure, and industry certifications. They offer services to monitor and manage hardware devices and manage the availability and the performance of networks. They also ensure smooth operations and security of networks. The growth of the Wi–Fi 6 market is being driven by the increasing reliance by businesses on the use of IT to improve business productivity, coupled with a continuing rise in demand for specialized MSPs and cloud–based managed Wi–Fi 6 services.
Asia Pacific (APAC) region to record the highest growing region in the Wi-Fi 6 Market. Important countries include Australia, Japan, Singapore, India, China, and New Zealand. The region is expected to witness the fast-paced adoption of Wi-Fi 6 software. The Asia Pacific region is estimated to be the fastest-growing Wi-Fi 6 Market owing to the rise in the adoption of new technologies, high investments for digital transformation, the rapid expansion of domestic enterprises, extensive development of infrastructures, and increasing GDP of various countries. Rapidly growing economies, such as China, Japan, Singapore, and India, are implementing Wi-Fi 6 solutions across multiple business processes to provide effective solutions.
Key and innovative vendors in the Wi-Fi 6 market are:
Cisco Systems (US), Intel Corporation (US), Huawei Technologies (China), NETGEAR (US), Juniper Networks (US), Broadcom (US), Qualcomm Inc. (US), Extreme Networks (US), Ubiquiti Networks (US), Fortinet Inc. (US), Aruba Networks (US), NXP Semiconductors (Netherlands), AT&T (US), Cambium Networks (US), D-Link Corporation (China), Alcatel-Lucent (US), TP-Link (China), MediaTek (China), Telstra (Australia), Murata (Japan), Sterlite Technologies Limited (India), Celeno (Israel), H3C (China), Senscomm Semiconductor (China), XUNISON (Ireland), Redway Networks (UK), VSORA (France), NEWRACOM (US), WILUS Group (South Korea), Federated Wireless (US).
Taiwan based MediaTek (one of only two 5G merchant silicon vendors) unveiled its new Filogic connectivity chip sets with the introduction of the Filogic 830 Wi-Fi 6/6E system-on-chip (SoC) and Filogic 630 Wi-Fi 6E network interface card (NIC) products. MediaTek said its new Filogic series of Wi-Fi 6/6E chipsets provide reliable connectivity, high computation functionalities and a rich set of features in highly integrated, power-efficient designs.
MediaTek Filogic Wi-Fi 6/6E products are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance and deliver unbeatable performance in a wide range of applications.
- Home, business or enterprise router and repeater devices
- Service provider broadband equipment or retail devices
- Wi-Fi Alliance EasyMeshTM certified
- Home automation bridges and IoT
- Consumer devices and applications such as laptops, TVs, IP cameras, wireless storage, audio and more
MediaTek Filogic 830
Filogic 830 packs a wide variety of features into a compact, ultra-low power 12nm SoC, allowing customers to design differentiated solutions for routers, access points and mesh systems. The SoC integrates four Arm Cortex-A53 processors operating at up to 2GHz per core for up to +18,000 DMIPs processing power, dual 4×4 Wi-Fi 6/6E for up to 6Gbps connectivity, two 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and a host of peripheral interfaces. Filogic 830’s built-in hardware acceleration engines for Wi-Fi offloading and networking enable faster and more reliable connectivity. In addition, the chipset also supports MediaTek FastPath™ technology for low latency applications such as gaming and AR/VR.
MediaTek Filogic 630
Filogic 630 is a Wi-Fi 6/6E NIC solution that supports dual-band, dual-concurrent 2×2 2.4GHz and 3×3 5GHz or 6GHz for up to 3Gbps. The chipset supports a unique 3T3R 5/6GHz system with internal front-end modules (FEMs) which provide equivalent or better range than competing 2T2R solutions with external FEMs. This highly integrated design helps lower bill of materials (BOM) cost, while allowing for sleeker designs with its small RF frontend area. Filogic’s 630’s third antenna enables superior transmit beamforming capability as well as diversity gains. Filogic 630 supports interfaces such as PCIe, which allows it to be combined with Filogic 830 for tri-band connectivity solutions for broadband gateways, enterprise access points and retail routers with even higher speeds and bandwidth capacity.
“The MediaTek Filogic series ushers in a new era of smart Wi-Fi solutions with extreme speeds, low latency and superb power efficiency for seamless, always connected experiences,” said Alan Hsu, Corporate Vice President & General Manager, Intelligent Connectivity at MediaTek. “These new chipsets provide best-in-class features with highly integrated designs for the next generation of premium broadband, enterprise and retail Wi-Fi solutions.”
MediaTek has the broadest Wi-Fi portfolio and is the No. 1 Wi-Fi supplier across broadband, retail routers, consumer electronics devices and gaming. MediaTek’s Wi-Fi portfolio powers hundreds of millions of devices every year. Over the years, MediaTek has worked closely with the Wi-Fi Alliance to ensure MediaTek’s connectivity portfolio supports the latest Wi-Fi features. In January 2021, MediaTek was selected to be on the test bed for Wi-Fi 6E, the latest certification from Wi-Fi Alliance® for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ devices with 6GHz support.
Wi-Fi 6E offers a number of advantages over previous Wi-Fi generations, including lower latency and additional capacity and speed. Devices using Wi-Fi 6 connections in 6GHz are designed to make use of wide 160 MHz channels and uncongested bandwidth in 6GHz to deliver multi-gigabit, low latency Wi-
About MediaTek Inc.
MediaTek Incorporated (TWSE: 2454) is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables nearly 2 billion connected devices a year. We are a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile device, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products. Our dedication to innovation has positioned us as a driving market force in several key technology areas, including highly power-efficient mobile technologies, automotive solutions and a broad range of advanced multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables. MediaTek empowers and inspires people to expand their horizons and achieve their goals through smart technology, more easily and efficiently than ever before. We work with the brands you love to make great technology accessible to everyone, and it drives everything we do. Visit www.mediatek.com for more information.
The purpose of this new TIP project group is to develop a common reference open source software for an AFC system. The AFC will be used by unlicensed devices in the newly available 6 GHz band to operate outdoor and increased range indoor while ensuring incumbent services are protected.
The US, EU, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have approved or are finalizing the approval of 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum use, opening up a huge bandwidth for Wi-Fi services.
By 2025, the Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that the 6 GHz Wi-Fi will deliver USD 527.5 billion in incremental economic benefits to the global economy . Standard outdoor power operations will be a key part of the value proposition of 6 GHz Wi-Fi and is critical for enabling more affordable wireless broadband for consumer access.
The FCC is the first regulator to enable its use under an AFC, ISED Canada authorized standard power with AFC in May 2021, with others expected to follow. The AFC will enhance Wi-Fi to provide a consistent wireless broadband user experience in stadiums, homes, enterprises, schools, and hospitals.
“The 6 GHz Wi-Fi momentum is unmistakable. In the year following the historic FCC ruling to open up the band for unlicensed access, we already have an entire ecosystem of Wi-Fi 6E devices delivering gigabit speeds indoors. As we work towards closing the digital divide and further realizing the value of the 6 GHz band, AFC-enabled standard power Wi-Fi operation becomes critical. As Wi-Fi 7 comes along, AFC will turbocharge the user experience by enabling over 60 times more power for reliable, low latency, and multi-gigabit wireless broadband both indoors and outdoors. With this vision in mind, Broadcom is excited to join hands with Cisco and Facebook to create the TIP Open AFC Software Group aimed at enabling a cost effective and scalable AFC system,” said Vijay Nagarajan, Vice President of Marketing, Wireless Communications & Connectivity Division, Broadcom.
“The creation of the TIP Open AFC Software Group represents the immense momentum behind unlicensed spectrum and the potential it holds to deliver innovation,” said Rakesh Thaker, VP of Wireless Engineering, Cisco. “Many of the applications and use cases we’re just beginning to dream up with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 and the 6 GHz spectrum will rely on standard power, greater range and reliability. This software group will play an important role in ensuring those applications can become reality, while also protecting important incumbent services. We’re thrilled to join Broadcom and Facebook on this effort, and to share a vision with TIP of providing high-quality, reliable connectivity for all.”
Facebook developed a proof of concept Open AFC system, which will protect 6 GHz incumbent operations and enable faster adoption of standard power operations in the 6 GHz band. This prototype system will be contributed to the TIP community through today’s launch of the Open AFC Software Group, with the goal of enabling the proliferation of standard power devices in the United States to start, with other markets to follow.
Broadcom and Cisco have committed to driving the industry forward in developing Open AFC to ensure that the code continues to be developed to meet the needs of the industry and regulators, such that an AFC operator could take the code and build upon it for rapid certification.
The vast majority of Wi-Fi use is indoors, but there are situations where people will want to use Wi-Fi outdoors. The use of AFC provides the flexibility for outdoor deployments in open air stadiums and similar venues.
“Bringing AFC technology to the TIP Open AFC Software Group is a huge milestone for the unlicensed spectrum community,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president for Facebook Connectivity. “We are excited to see the contributions and innovations by Open AFC and we look forward to celebrating the widespread adoption of the 6 GHz band, which will rapidly accelerate the performance and bandwidth of Wi-Fi networks around the world”.
David Hutton, Chief Engineer of TIP, said: “The industry is coming together to support 6 GHz for unlicensed use for Wi-Fi and TIP will be providing the forum to contribute to make this happen, supporting regulatory efforts by ensuring that AFC systems are developed under a common code base that is available to all industry stakeholders.”
We wonder why this new WiFi 6GHz group is in TIP rather than the WiFi Alliance. From the WiFi Alliance Certified 6:
“Wi-Fi Alliance is leading the development of specifications and test plans that can help ensure that standard power Wi-Fi devices operate in 6 GHz spectrum under favorable conditions, avoiding interference with incumbent devices.”
In this author’s opinion, there are way too many alliances/ fora/ consortiums that produce specifications that are to be used with existing standards. In this case (IEEE 802.11ax) there is potential overlap amongst amongst groups, which leads to inconsistent implementations that inhibit interoperability.
HPE subsidiary Aruba today announced the first commercially available, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E [1.] solution set – the 630 Series of campus access points (APs), starting with the AP-635.
Note 1. Wi-Fi 6E refers to IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) products that support 6GHz wireless spectrum. Wi-Fi 6E enables faster speeds and lower latencies than Wi-Fi 6 and earlier iterations of WiFi (IEEE 802.11). WiFi 6 products are starting to appear in routers [2.] and silicon. Cisco has been selling a WiFi AP for enterprises since 2019.
Note 2. List of best WiFi 6 routers:
- Asus RT-AX86U. The best Wi-Fi 6 router overall. …
- Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500. The Wi-Fi 6e speed demon. …
- Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6 (RBK852) Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router. …
- Netgear Nighthawk XR1000. …
- Eero Pro 6. …
- Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) …
- TP-Link Deco X20. …
- Linksys Max Stream MR9600
In April 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed WiFi use. That was the largest swath of spectrum approved for WiFi since 1989. Opening the 6 GHz band more than doubles the amount of RF spectrum available for Wi-Fi use, allowing for less congested airwaves, broader channels, and higher-speed connections and enabling a range of innovations across industries. Since the FCC decision to open the 6 GHz band, 39 additional countries that are home to over 1.3 billion people have opened the 6 GHz unlicensed band for Wi-Fi 6E. (Source: Wi-Fi Alliance)
The industry’s first enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E solution, the new Aruba 630 Series delivers greater performance, lower latency, and faster data rates to support high-bandwidth applications and use cases. The new Aruba 630 Series APs will be available in calendar third quarter 2021.
Currently, as organizations increase their use of bandwidth-hungry video, cope with increasing numbers of client and IoT devices connecting to their networks, and speed up their transition to cloud, the demand for Wi-Fi continues to rise. As a result, wireless networks are becoming oversubscribed, throttling application performance. This frustrates all network users by negatively impacting the user experience, reduces productivity, puts digital initiatives at risk, and stifles innovation.
“The Aruba 630 Series campus access points are the first enterprise-grade WiFi 6E access points to be introduced by any of the main enterprise networking providers,” Gayle Levin, marketing manager at Aruba, wrote in response to questions. “We’re seeing the most interest from large public venues, such as airports, stadiums, and lecture halls, as well as healthy interest from health care and higher education,” she added.
“With connectivity demands growing exponentially, Wi-Fi 6E can take advantage of up to seven, super wide 160 MHz channels and uncongested bandwidth in the 6 GHz band to deliver unprecedented multi-gigabit and low latency connectivity,” said Kevin Robinson, SVP of Marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi 6E will spur enhanced innovations and exciting new services. Wi-Fi Alliance is pleased to see longtime member Aruba bringing Wi-Fi 6E solutions to market that will help organizations better support critical activities like videoconferencing, telemedicine, and distance learning.”
According to leading market intelligence research firm 650 Group, Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption in the next couple of years, with over 350M devices entering the market in 2022 that support 6 GHz. 650 Group expects over 200% unit growth of Wi-Fi 6E enterprise APs in 2022.
The new Aruba Wi-Fi 6E solutions are part of Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), the industry’s first AI-powered, cloud-native platform designed to unify, automate, and secure the Edge. Able to predict and resolve problems at the network edge before they happen, Aruba ESP’s foundation is built on AIOps, Zero trust network security, and a unified campus to branch infrastructure to deliver an automated, all-in-one platform that continuously analyzes data across domains, tracks SLAs, identifies anomalies, and self-optimizes, while seeing and securing unknown devices on the network.
With Aruba’s new Wi-Fi 6E offerings, organizations can take advantage of the increased capacity, wider channels in 6 GHz, and significantly reduced signal interference with 3.9 Gbps maximum aggregate throughput to support high bandwidth, low latency services and applications such as high definition video, next-generation unified communications, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), IoT, and cloud. Additionally, with a new ultra tri-band filtering capability, which minimizes interference between the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, organizations can truly maximize use of the new spectrum.
“As we progress in our digital transformation, we are continually adding an increasing number of IoT devices to our network and transitioning to Wi-Fi as our primary network connection rather than Ethernet. We are being asked to support an expanded array of mission-critical, high bandwidth applications that support research as well as hyflex learning and entertainment, like streaming video, video communications, and AR/VR for our students, professors, and staff,” said Mike Ferguson, network manager and enterprise architect at Chapman University.
“With Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6E APs, we’re confident that we’ll be able to not just support our short-term needs, but we’ll have room to grow as well, which will keep all of our users happy, increase our competitiveness, and allow us to extend the lifecycle of this network deployment by 50%,” he added.
Aruba 630 Series Access Point Key Features:
- Comprehensive tri-band coverage across 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz with 3.9 Gbps maximum aggregate data rate and ultra-triband filtering to minimize interference
- Up to seven 160 MHz channels in 6 GHz to better support low-latency, high bandwidth applications like high-definition video and AR/VR
- Operates on existing IEEE 802.3at standards for PoE power so there is no need to rip and replace existing power supplies
- Advanced security with WPA3 and Enhanced Open to better protect passwords and data
- Flexible failover with two HPE Smart Rate Ethernet ports for 1-2.5 Gbps, offering true hitless failover from one port to another for both data and power
- Application assurance to guarantee stringent application performance for latency sensitive and high bandwidth uses by dynamically allocating and adjusting radio resources
- Cloud, controller, or controllerless operation modes to address campus, branch, and remote deployments
“Consumer appetite for ubiquitous wireless connectivity is limitless, whether at home or traveling the world,” said Mike Kuehn, president at Astronics CSC. “As a leading global provider of advanced technologies for the aerospace and defense industries – including some of the largest major airlines in the world – Aruba’s new Wi-Fi 6E AP gives us the ability to offer compelling and unique solutions that deliver a new, enhanced and more secure wireless experience to our customers.”
“Aruba has two decades of leadership in Wi-Fi innovations, backed by an unwavering commitment to providing our customers with the reliable, fast, high capacity, and secure connectivity they need to pursue and exceed their organizational objectives,” said Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president and wireless chief technology officer at Aruba.
“Since 2016 we have helped lead the advocacy effort that has led to the 6 GHz band being opened all over the world. As such, we are extremely proud to be the first vendor to bring enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E solutions to market so our customers can take advantage of the huge increase in capacity that 6 GHz delivers,” he added.
Aruba is also framing the new WiFi 6E access points as “an important element of Aruba’s Edge Services Platform (ESP)” because the equipment will sit at the edge of the network, Levin added. “By virtue of their position and role within the network, access points are vital in collecting edge data from client devices and IoT that feeds back into Aruba ESP.”
The vendor entered the edge services market with the cloud-native platform last year to target campuses, data centers, branches, and remote workers, but it only works with Aruba’s access points, switches, and SD-WAN gateways.
Cambium Networks a leading global provider of wireless networking solutions, today announced its multi-year agreement with the school district of Burke County, N.C., with the addition of Wi-Fi 6 access points to provide multi-gigabit speeds in classrooms.
Using E-Rate funding for education, Burke County will upgrade its network to the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology to improve learning for students. The project, which began in late 2020, is delivering 1,500 multi-gigabit high-density access points to the district’s 27 schools and 12,000 students. This will allow students to simultaneously use Zoom and view streaming videos in the classroom using the latest XV3-8 access points, as well as XMS cloud management that seamlessly integrates with Google G-Suite and other embedded education systems.
“When the technology works, the students win, and so does our community. That is especially important as we navigate the pandemic and students return in March,” said Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, CIO of the Burke County School District. “Cambium is our solution for great performance at an affordable price for high density classrooms, and just in time as COVID accelerated our 1:1 laptop program and the increased use of streaming video.”
Cambium’s Wi-Fi 6 and XMS end-to-end cloud-management solutions provide multi-gigabit Wi-Fi access at a proven low total cost of ownership. With easy integration to existing systems, planning, provisioning, installation and centralized cloud management, Cambium’s solutions can be rapidly deployed to deliver end-to-end multi-gigabit wireless speeds.
“We love to work with visionary and discerning customers,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO, Cambium Networks. “Dr. Honeycutt and Burke County understand that this is the time to address the digital divide. They have done so in a way that gives students what they require for excellence in education.”
What is WiFi 6 and 6E?
The IEEE 802.11ax standard was dubbed Wi-Fi 6 by the WiFi Alliance. At the time of publication, it was limited by U.S. law to a wireless spectrum that only covered the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
In a 2.4GHz band, there are three non-overlapping channels—and that bandwidth is shared by all users. If too many end point WiFi devices compete for bandwidth on the same wireless channel, then some of those signals will be dropped.
In April of 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to open up the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. With that policy change, significantly more airwaves are open that WiFi routers can use. The WiFi Alliance named versions of IEEE 802.11ax that operate at or above 6GHZ as WiFi 6E.
Images Courtesy of WiFi Alliance
The opening of the 6GHz band is essentially quadruples the amount of airwaves (14 additional 80MHz channels, and seven additional 160MHz channels) available for WiFi routers and smart WiFi devices. That means less signal interference.
Wi-Fi Alliance® is introducing new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world. Wi-Fi 6E brings a common industry name for Wi-Fi® users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 – including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates – extended into the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E devices are expected to become available quickly following 6 GHz regulatory approvals, utilizing this additional spectrum capacity to deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses and economies.
So, what’s the difference?
Early-adopter devices using Wi-Fi 6 (such as the first batch of Wi-Fi 6 routers) are limited to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum, while Wi-Fi 6E-compliant devices will have access to all those much richer 6GHz airwaves.
SOURCE: Bigleaf Networks
Hype around next generation wireless standards (e.g. WiFi6/IEEE 802.11ax, 5G: ITU-R IMT 2020.SPECS/3GPP Release 16) has become a distraction, according to Bigleaf Networks founder and CEO, Joel Mulkey. Marketers are promoting these new technologies which sacrifice reliability to push faster speeds that are mostly useless in the new work from home era.
Mulkey and Bigleaf Vice President of Product, Jonathan Petkevich, looked into the reality behind the marketing hype around 5G and WiFi 6, as well as other networking trends such as satellite networks and artificial intelligence, in a wide-ranging panel discussion hosted for the company’s customers, partners, and agents.
As IT leaders look to regain their footing in 2021, many tech conversations that were trending at the beginning of 2020 picked up where they left off, while other trends emerged. Below are selected highlights from Mulkey and Petkevich’s conversation:
The Work From Home Reality:
“If you look at some of the Stay-At-Home mandates that have happened over the course of 2020, we estimate that about 85 million people are working from home, and that’s a big shift towards where we were at the start of 2020,” said Mulkey. “Starting at about the mid-March timeframe, 88% of organizations asked employees or required employees to work from home. About 57% of the US workforce started to work from home on a regular basis. So that was a big shift towards most people working in the office, with a few people working remotely in regional or local areas. And a lot of organizations have been talking about how they’re switching to a more long-term remote work-from-home strategy.”
Adapting to this new work from home reality meant frantically moving technology to the cloud. Part of that shift meant IT and network infrastructure teams needed to revamp their networks to support the connection reliability and application performance required in this kind of new normal.
“You need to have a healthy path between the device you’re using and the cloud server, otherwise you’re not going to have a usable experience,” said Mulkey. “One of the things we’re seeing companies running into is a sudden realization that quality of connectivity is really important.”
The Danger of WiFi 6:
According to Gartner, WiFi (IEEE 802.11) is the primary high performance network technology that companies will use through 2024. Today, roughly 96% of organizations use some form of wireless technology with many of those companies looking to move to faster versions of those networking capabilities in the next couple of years. Mulkey and Petkevich say the hype is hurting companies.
“Ensuring that you have technology that’s built on the latest standards makes sense,” said Petkevich. “I don’t know that 5G or WiFi 6 are drastically changing how a business operates day-to-day. There’s a little bit of over-hype around the speed and performance and some of the promise that’s with both of these.”
“WiFi 6 is a bit misplaced in our industry’s priorities and 5G is a marketing mess,” said Mulkey. “WiFi 6 is good for really dense, high bandwidth needs. So if you have an office with 1,000 people in a small area or you’re trying to provide WiFi offload in a stadium, WiFi 6 has technologies that will help you out. But if you’re a normal person and you’ve got a house with a couple of kids and you need to make sure your WiFi doesn’t drop-out when you’re on Zoom calls, I don’t see WiFi 6 moving the needle there. In fact, I think it’s harmful. The WiFi industry has become so focused on a story of faster, faster, faster, that the pace of innovation comes at the sacrifice of reliability. What you really need is stable WiFi connectivity that doesn’t drop out, that deals really well with roaming, that has some more intelligence to the quality of connectivity rather than prioritizing speed.”
5G Hype and Rural America:
“Now, 5G is interesting because there’s some really promising stuff there,” continued Mulkey. “Imagine if you didn’t even need WiFi, you just had always-on connectivity from all your devices at say, 100 megabits a second. That was the vision cast for it. The problem is, it’s almost all hype. What you need for the really high speeds is millimeter wave connectivity, which is really only going to be available in dense urban areas. So the folks that absolutely need good 5G today in rural areas or suburban areas without good landline connectivity, are probably not gonna get that millimeter wave behavior, surely not in rural areas.”
“We really have most of the benefits, if not all of them, with 4G today, so the evolution from a 4G to 5G in these longer distance connections is minimal to nothing,” added Mulkey. “It’s just a marketing term slapped on 4G. Now, 4G has gotten better since your phone first said 4G on it, but you’re not going to magically be able to stream 3D Star Wars style holograms because your phone has a 5G icon on it. That may come some day, but it won’t be 2021.”
Those who have the toughest time with WAN internet connectivity are those in rural areas or suburban areas that have been abandoned by the telecom and cable operators. An area Mulkey and Petkevich see low Earth orbit satellite networks moving beyond hype.
“The issue with traditional satellites is latency,” said Petkevich. “Starlink fixes that. So it’ll be interesting to see that play out in 2021.”
Artificial Intelligence in the Network:
44% of IT decision-makers believe that AI and machine learning can help companies optimize their network performance, and more than 50% identify AI as a priority investment needed to deliver their ideal network and make things work for them.
“There are two main ways that AI is in use today. You have a consumer-facing flavor — Siri on my iPhone, or the way that Google can find me images of apples; and then you have the hidden AI that nobody knows about — the instantaneous response of a Google search, where they’ve built smart technology that would fall under the definitions of AI to make sure that your request for Google gets to the right server from the right path and gets back to you as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Mulkey. “Those technologies are available today. The challenge is they’re not available to the everyday person. This is an area where we, ourselves, have dedicated people and resources to figure out, ‘How can we make our network behave in an autonomous manner far better than it could if there were just people controlling it?'”
“There’s a kind of a misconception that when we talk about AI, the first thought is all the wonderful movies that have come out over the years,” quipped Petkevich. “Where we are today is there’s a lot of innovation going on to make this more tangible and more practical for businesses to use on the smaller scale, and not reserve it for the large enterprises of the world, and make it more generally available. This is definitely an area where a technology is moving beyond its hype.”
About Bigleaf Networks:
Bigleaf Networks is the intelligent networking service that optimizes Internet and Cloud performance by dynamically choosing the best connection based on real-time usage and diagnostics. Inspired by the natural architecture of leaves, the Bigleaf Cloud-first SD-WAN platform leverages redundant connections for optimal traffic re-routing, failover and load-balancing. The company is dedicated to providing a better Internet experience and ensuring peace of mind with simple implementation, friendly support and powerful technology. Founded in 2012, Bigleaf Networks is investor-backed, with service across North America.
Bigleaf combines a simple on-site installation, intelligent hands-off operations, and redundancy at every level to turn commodity broadband connections into a worry-free, Enterprise-grade connection to your applications.
Linksys, the connected home division within the Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) entity (formerly owned by Cisco Systems), has introduced the first 5G and Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Hotspot in Korea with Korea Telecom (KT), the largest Korean mobile carrier and in Hong Kong with CSL. The Linksys 5G Mobile Hotspot is powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G Modem-RF System and Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6800 mobile connectivity system.
The Linksys 5G Mobile Hotspot harnesses 5G and Wi-Fi 6 for blazing fast and seamless connectivity. The device is the world’s thinnest and lightest 5G mobile hotspot and includes a USB-C port with Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ Technology, ensuring devices are powered up and optimally connected at home or on-the-go.
The Linksys 5G Mobile Hotspot enables a fast and stable network by utilizing the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard and dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11ax) technologies. With USB tethering that supports large-capacity LTE high-speed data, users can stay connected regardless of what environment or situation they are in.
“Mobile hotspots are essential to use fast, seamless wireless networks in a variety of environments, enabling increased connectivity, mobility and productivity across many use cases,” said L.C. Wu, chief operating officer, Connected Home Division (Linksys, Wemo, Phyn), Belkin International. “Linksys is excited to launch the first 5G mobile hotspot supporting 5G and Wi-Fi 6 in Korea with KT and Hong Kong with CSL. We will continue to rollout new innovative 5G devices around the world, and expect many consumers will enjoy a fast and stable mobile life with our products.”
Additional specs include:
- The thinnest and lightest 5G mobile hotspot in the market – 15.5mm thickness and 185g weight
- Connects up to 16 devices
- 4000mAh battery capacity allows all-day usage
The Linksys Mobile Hotspot will deliver 5G supersonic speeds to 15+ devices, all day, and on the go. The ultra-thin and lightweight design and all-day battery life is a match made in tech heaven.
- Portable 5G supersonic speed and bandwidth
- WiFi 6 speeds up to 1.8 Gbps (AX1800), Handles 15+ Devices
- Ultra-thin design for maximum convenience
- All-Day Battery capacity to keep you connected at all times*
- Powered by leading edge 5G technology by Qualcomm®
- Quick charging through USB-C, QC3.0 certified
- Future-ready with the latest IPv6 internet protocol
The Linksys brand has pioneered wireless connectivity since its inception in 1988, being the first router brand to ship 100 million units worldwide. Recognized for its award-winning Velop Intelligent Mesh™ Technology and integrated Linksys Aware WiFi motion sensing software, Linksys enables a connected lifestyle with simplified home and business control, enhanced security and seamless Internet access through innovative features and a growing application and partner ecosystem. Linksys products are sold in more than 60 countries and can be found in major retailers around the world.
About Belkin International
In 2018, Foxconn Interconnect Technology merged with Belkin International (Belkin®, Linksys®, Wemo®, Phyn®) to create a global consumer electronics leader. Today, this group leads in connecting people with technologies at home, at work and on the go within the accessories (“Connected Things” – Belkin brand) and the smart home (“Connected Home” – Linksys, Wemo and Phyn brands) markets.
Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm FastConnect and Qualcomm Quick Charge are products iof Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Qualcomm has launched a new portfolio of flagship mobile system on a chip (SoC) featuring support for Wi-Fi 6E (aka IEEE 802.11ax), which will soon be operational in the 6 GHz band. The first products to be launched are two SoCs, the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 and the Qualcomm FastConnect 67000.
The FastConnect 6900 will provide speeds of up to 3.6 Gbps, implementation of 4-stream Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) with multiband (including 6 GHz) capabilities. The FastConnect 6700 chip will meanwhile deliver speeds approaching 3 Gbps. The Verge noted that one of the chips will be for smartphones and the other for routers.
Both chips will both support Wi-Fi 6, low latency, and Bluetooth audio features for classic and new use cases. They will sport Qualcomm 4K QAM for enhanced gaming and ultra HD streaming and 160 MH channels support in both 5 and 6 GHz bands, expanding throughput while reducing congestion. They will also help save power, by generating less channel congestion. The chips are now sampling and will ship in production during the second half of 2020.
“Wi-Fi 6E delivers an unprecedented improvement in capacity to meet the rapid growth of connected devices and data demand. The introduction of supporting chipsets so soon after the FCC ruling ensures customers will see the benefits quickly and is an indicator of both Qualcomm Technologies’ investment and broad industry collaboration,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president, research, Americas, CCS Insights.
“Wi-Fi Alliance® members have mobilized around 6 GHz in an unprecedented way, and we’re excited to see Wi-Fi 6E solutions rapidly coming to market with the availability of new unlicensed spectrum in the U.S.,” said Kevin Robinson, Senior VP of Marketing, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Solutions like these from Qualcomm will help users fully experience Wi-Fi® in 6 GHz and quickly benefit from faster speeds, higher capacity, and lower latency applications.”
Next-Generation Wi-Fi 6E for Mobile and Computing
New portfolio extends advanced Wi-Fi 6 feature implementations into the 6 GHz band. Key features include:
Unmatched Wi-Fi Speed:
- FastConnect 6900 offers the fastest available Wi-Fi 6 speed, up to 3.6 Gbps, of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry.
- FastConnect 6700 delivers impressive peak speeds approaching 3 Gbps.
Driving this performance for both FastConnect systems are differentiated features such as:
- Qualcomm® 4K QAM (2.4, 5, 6 GHz) – an industry first implementation of this advanced modulation technique can extend the maximum QAM rate, across any supported band, from 1K to 4K for enhanced gaming and ultra HD streaming.
- 160 MHz channels support in both 5 and 6GHz bands, dramatically expanding throughput while reducing congestion.
FastConnect 6900 delivers an extra boost of performance through additional unique feature implementation of 4-stream Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) with multi-band (including 6 GHz) capabilities.
Essential Improvement of Capacity and Network Efficiency: Delivering reliable performance, even in the most congested home, enterprise and public networks.
- 6 GHz dramatically expands Wi-Fi capacity by adding up to 1200 MHz of additional spectrum, more than doubling the number of pathways currently available for sending and receiving data.
- Dual band 160 MHz supports up to seven additional non-overlapping channels in the 6 GHz band, in addition to 160 MHz channels available in the 5 GHz band.
- Deploys high-performance Uplink / Downlink MU-MIMO and OFDMA mobile technologies across all available bands.
- New Wi-Fi 6 Uplink MU-MIMO capability can increase network capacity by more than 2.5x.
Ultra-Low Latency: A new class of low latency and high speed for emerging mobile applications, providing the foundation for explosive growth in mobile gaming and XR application.
- Feature implementation delivers latency reduction up to 8x in congested environments for dramatically improved mobile gaming experiences.
- Wireless VR-class latency (<3ms) for Head Mounted Displays (HMD) provides a strong foundation for this rapidly growing industry segment.
Advanced Technology and Power Efficiency: Power savings due to less channel congestion and improved scheduling.
- 14nm process node combined with advanced power-management architecture provides up to 50 percent improvement in power efficiency, compared to previous generation solutions.
Bluetooth 5.2 with Advanced Audio
FastConnect 6900 and 6700 integrate Bluetooth 5.2 with the latest audio advancements for greatly improved wireless experiences. Key features include:
Bluetooth 5.2 Above and Beyond
- Leading Bluetooth 5.2 implementation includes a second Bluetooth antenna with intelligent switching capabilities, overcoming common signal shadowing issues for unparalleled Bluetooth reliability and range.
- Engineered to be ready to address emerging LE Audio experiences such as multi-point audio sharing and broadcast audio, enabling multiple audio connections simultaneously.
Superior Bluetooth Audio
- Qualcomm® aptX™ Adaptive supporting wire-equivalent audio (up to 96kHz) and Qualcomm® aptX™ Voice providing super-wideband quality calls.
End-to-End Enhanced Experiences
- When paired with the premium features of Qualcomm® QCC5141, QCC5144, QCC3046 and QCC3040 Audio SoCs, users can expect robust, premium audio quality with low power consumption.
- Innovative transmit power and coexistence algorithms deliver materially improved range and link robustness.
“Leveraging decades of focused research and development, our second-generation Wi-Fi 6 platforms set a new performance benchmark for home and enterprise networking applications,” said Nick Kucharewski, vice president and general manager, wireless infrastructure and networking, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 and scaling to 16 streams, Qualcomm Networking Pro Series Platforms pair wireless expertise with robust architecture designed to deliver Gigabit speeds, massive capacity, and stable-as-wire reliability our customers depend on.”
“The new 6 GHz band and Wi-Fi 6E standard ushers in a new age in wireless connectivity – a dramatic advance in performance and a new paradigm in wireless networking. Industry-leading Wi-Fi 6E technology – including Qualcomm’s new Wi-Fi 6E platforms – will transform every use case segment, from home to the enterprise, industrial applications, and even fixed wireless access, with new unbelievable applications sure to follow. The Wi-Fi 6E future looks very bright indeed,” said Claus Hetting, CEO & Chairman, Wi-Fi Now.
“Wi-Fi Alliance® members have mobilized around 6 GHz in an unprecedented way, and we’re excited to see Wi-Fi 6E solutions rapidly coming to market with the availability of new unlicensed spectrum in the U.S.,” said Kevin Robinson, Senior VP of Marketing, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Solutions like these from Qualcomm will help users fully experience Wi-Fi® in 6 GHz and quickly benefit from faster speeds, higher capacity, and lower latency applications.”
Qualcomm Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 expands the capabilities of the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series portfolio, whose hallmark is the delivery of consistent high performance in the most densely congested environments:
- Qualcomm® Max User Architecture: Industry-first architecture to manage and maintain connectivity for up to 2,000 clients simultaneously, with network stability and sustained throughput.
- Qualcomm® Multi-User Traffic Management: Provides advanced scheduling algorithms and buffering with universal uplink data support. Advanced multi-user implementations specialized for high user counts include up to 37-user OFDMA support per channel and 8-user MU-MIMO support per channel.
- Qualcomm® 4K QAM technology: Designed to deliver 20% higher throughput compared to standard Wi-Fi 6E, helping achieve device-to-device transfers of up to 2.4 Gbps per link to compatible mobile and compute devices.
- Qualcomm® Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 for Mesh Networks: Qualcomm® Wi-Fi SON has been enhanced to interconnect the Mesh Nodes using the 6 GHz band.
- Qualcomm® Wi-Fi Security Suite: Comprehensive WPA3 implementation coupled with state-of-the-art embedded crypto accelerators designed to provide secure transactions across a full range of Wi-Fi data touchpoints.
“Aruba’s enterprise customers demand high-performance, reliable and secure Wi-Fi connectivity solutions that can be scaled to deliver extreme density and capacity. Through our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, we’ve utilized their advanced Wi-Fi technology to continuously evolve the seamless, connected experiences that our customers demand,” said Onno Harms, senior director of Product Management for WLAN Platforms at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “The newly opened 6 GHz spectrum and the advent of Wi-Fi 6E are important industry milestones that promise to usher in a new wave of Wi-Fi innovation that will bring exceptional wireless experiences to life.”
“We see this announcement from Qualcomm Technologies as a positive step forward in what’s possible for networking across the industry,” said David Henry, senior vice president of Connected Home Products and Services for NETGEAR. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies as we incorporate the Networking Pro Series to deliver robust and seamless experiences that enable us to expand the ecosystem.”
“Our recent announcement highlighting CommScope’s RUCKUS Wi-Fi 6 Certified access points is a great example of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for wireless communications. Integrating the Qualcomm Technologies Networking Pro Series platform into the RUCKUS portfolio enables customers to benefit from the latest improvements in security, speed and Wi-Fi connectivity, creating a more powerful and robust product that will strengthen the rich suite of solutions available in the industry,” said Pramod Badjate, senior vice president for CommScope’s RUCKUS portfolio.
Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are shipping now with commercial availability expected this year.
For more information about our Wi-Fi 6E products, visit qualcomm.com/wi-fi-6e
*All peak speeds refer to maximum physical layer (PHY) rate.
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G. When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.
Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously today to open up all of the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use, creating a new range of 1,200 MHz in the 5.925–7.125 (6 GHz) band for Wi-Fi services. This increases the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by nearly a factor of five.
The 6 GHz band is currently used by microwave services such as wireless backhaul, utilities and public safety applications. Unlicensed devices will share this spectrum with the incumbent services under rules crafted to protect those licensed services, the FCC said.
The FCC’s decision authorizes indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 MHz and standard-power devices in 850 MHz in the 6 GHz band. An automated frequency coordination system will prevent standard power access points from operating where they could cause interference to incumbent services.
In 850 MHz of the band, the FCC will allow standard power unlicensed use under an automated frequency control (AFC) system to protect incumbent users. The entire band can be used for indoor unlicensed use at very low power without AFC, and the FCC is proposing a new class of devices that can operate indoors and outdoors across the entire band.
Unlicensed WiFi Forward has said that opening up the GHz band. combined with the FCC’s plan to free up 5.9 GHz spectrum, also for unlicensed WiFi, will add at least $183.44 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years.
Cable operators supported the proposal, while broadcasters argued for protecting the electronic news gathering (ENG) already using the band by reserving 80 MHz for them, saying there was too much risk of harmful interference to that even-more-crucial service in a time of pandemic.
- FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly called it “a fantastic day for unlicensed services and the millions of Americans who use them.” He said that other than the 5.9 GHz slice, no other spectrum provided as great an opportunity given its proximity to the 5 GHz band that currently carries most of the WiFi load. He strongly disagreed with those who said unlicensed didn’t need the entire band. In addition to broadcasters wanting a sliver reserved for ENG, wireless companies had suggested auctioning some of the upper portion of the band for licensed use. “Today’s action is also very timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of our WiFi systems in keeping those in isolation connected to the outside world,” he said.
- FCC chairman Ajit Pai noted the pandemic had changed nearly every aspect of daily lives, with WiFi allowing for distance learning and virtual telehealth, and “stream Tiger King on Netflix.” Pai said it was a bold step to increase the supply of WiFi spectrum, increasing midband spectrum for unlicensed by almost a factor of five. He said the item would help promote IoT but also insure incumbents are protected from harmful interference.
- FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said that the pandemic may give a sense of what trasnformative innovations freeing up that spectrum could unleash, including two-way video connections to help students and teachers interact or virtual reality shopping from the safety of home.
- FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the pandemic has ushered in remote work as never before, and WiFi has never been more important. “[W]ith this decision on unlicensed spectrum we do well by the law, we add more permissionless airwaves to the wireless economy, and we expand the democratizing force of having more WiFi in more places,” she said, adding an “amen.”
- “Even for those who can’t afford the new equipment that will take advantage of the new spectrum and the latest iteration of WiFi, speeds for their devices should increase as existing WiFi traffic moves to the new spectrum,” said commissioner Geoffrey Starks. “Low-income consumers purchasing discounted broadband plans will realize the full benefits of their subscriptions, as the WiFi channels within their homes become less congested and data flows more freely. The new spectrum is also expected to spur new efforts by many broadband providers, retailers, restaurants, and others that offer free public WiFi access at hotspots across the nation.”
“Today the U.S. Federal Communications Commission forever altered the future of WiFi. Thanks to their action, a new generation of innovation is now possible,” said Scott Harwell, SVP at Cisco. “With today’s vote, the FCC authorized 1200 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum to be opened for indoor WiFi use. This is a bold action, taken with deep knowledge of both the technology trajectory of WiFi and demand from consumers and businesses alike. Bold action is needed, as we are all discovering as we work from home, learn from home, and play at home – and stream more video than ever before. Those of us who helped build WiFi and who are responsible for its future send congratulations and thanks to the FCC. We promise to make good use of this resource.”
The industry group has given equipment working in the 6 GHz band the designation Wi-Fi 6E (IEEE 802.11ax) and expects to have the first such devices certified in early 2021. The alliance said its members have been quick to embrace the new band, with initial forecasts expecting more than 316 million Wi-Fi 6E devices will enter the market next year.
The FCC also opened a consultation on a proposal to permit very low-power devices to operate across the 6 GHz band, in order to support high data rate applications such as wearables and mixed reality devices. The notice also seeks comment on increasing the power at which low-power indoor access points may operate.
Nov 3, 2022 Update:
The Federal Communications Commission has approved 13 spectrum coordination systems that will allow for the testing of unlicensed devices on the 6 GHz band to limit interference.
In April 2020, the FCC approved the opening of the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses, including the next generation Wi-Fi 6E to allow for greater speeds and coverage. More Americans during the pandemic were using Wi-Fi at home, which created constraints on the network.
On Thursday, the agency approved the mechanism for which to test a slice of the 6 GHz band for unlicensed devices, including approving 13 proposed automated frequency coordination database systems from companies Broadcom, Google, Comsearch, Sony Group, Kyrio, Key Bridge Wireless, Nokia Innovations, Federated Wireless, Wireless Broadband Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance, Qualcomm, Plume Design, and RED Technologies.
During this public trial phase, each company is required to make its system available for a specific period of time to provide an opportunity for the public to test their system’s functionality, the FCC said in a press release.
“American businesses and households rely on Wi-Fi for work, school, access to healthcare, and connecting with friends and family,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We are moving forward on our plan to open doors for next generation, faster, better Wi-Fi – including Wi-Fi 6 E and laying the groundwork for Wi-Fi 7. This is good news and real progress” she said in the release.
This summer, the National Spectrum Management Association said it was concerned that the FCC opening of the 6 GHz band to unlicensed use – which held off a legal challenge – by a possible one billion portable devices was done without proper testing.
Indigenous American internet service provider Tribal Communications, in partnership with broadband funding platform Broadband.Money announced Wednesday the launch of a broadband toolkit to quantify the digital divide in tribal nations.
The FCC is creating a new broadband map of served and underserved areas, which is anticipated for release this month. Some of the data collected to create this map is provided by incumbent internet service providers, which critics have said have been known to misrepresent service availability in areas they allege to have coverage, including in tribal nations.
To accurately account the digital divide in tribal nations, the Tribal Community Broadband Kit will allow tribal entities to establish their own empirical connectivity data, according to the press release.
“While there are limited options to challenging the FCC on this issue, I believe the best course of action for Indian Country is to focus on creating data and guidelines to help states design fair and inclusive challenge processes. This would include speed testing at its core,” Joseph Valandra, senior vice president of Tribal Communications, said in the release.