WBA: ‘speeds achieved by Wi-Fi 6E will rival those of 5G mobile networks’

Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has initiated the first phase of a series of Wi-Fi 6E trials using Wi-Fi 6E-capable mobile platforms and laptop equipment enabled by WBA member companies, Broadcom and Intel. Wi-Fi 6E refers to the ability for Wi-Fi to leverage the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation, and, according to WBA, will generate the multi-gigabit speeds and low-latency connections required for the next generation of connectivity.

The trials, which took place in San Jose, CA, showed speeds of 2 Gbps—comparable to 5G cellular service speeds—and a consistent two-millisecond low-latency connection.

In a statement, the WBA stated that “opening the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi 6 technology would remove pain points currently caused by overcrowding on many Wi-Fi networks,” and further, that the speeds achieved will rival those of 5G mobile networks, making it ideal for low-latency applications like mobile gaming and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

In a recent interview with RCR Wireless News, Extreme Networks’ CTO Eric Broockman insisted that Wi-Fi 6E, despite the reactions of some consumers, is absolutely not just another buzzword.

“Wi-Fi 6E will be extremely significant,” he said. “The reality is that Wi-Fi 6E is the real deal, and it will have a significant impact on both enterprises and consumers.”

Because Wi-Fi 6E technology is built to address connectivity challenges in congested locations like transportation hubs, WBA will conduct the next phase of the trials in the coming months and will include subway transportation systems and in-home testing with CableLabs, SK Telecom and Transit Wireless.

“Wi-Fi 6 networks extended into the 6GHz spectrum represent a multi-generational shift in Wi-Fi services and the user experience,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO, WBA. “This trial is an important step in the process of effectively demonstrating the benefits that Wi-Fi networks can deliver in the 6GHz spectrum band. The Wi-Fi 6 standard and the 6GHz spectrum in combination can play a powerful role to deliver advanced mobile services to consumers, business and industry.”

Broadcom was quick to jump on Wi-Fi 6E opportunities, announcing a portfolio of Wi-Fi 6E chips as early as mid-February. The company anticipates that in the next three years, as many as 500 million Wi-Fi 6E compatible laptops and mobile devices will be in use.

“We are excited to enable real world trials conducted by the WBA that demonstrate the power of Wi-Fi 6E,” said Vijay Nagarajan, VP of marketing at Broadcom. “Wi-Fi 6E will provide reliable high-throughput, low-latency wireless services by deploying Wi-Fi 6 technologies in the soon-to-be-unlicensed and uncongested 6 GHz band.”

Despite the fact that regulators—including the Federal Communications Commission and Ofcom—are still working on releasing the 6 Ghz spectrum bands for unlicensed use, the industry is readying itself to tackle the next big thing in Wi-Fi.

Qualcomm also has shown an early interested in the new technology, conducting an over-the-air demonstration of Wi-Fi 6E operation using 6 Ghz spectrum, spanning the Qualcomm FastConnectTM mobile connectivity subsystem and the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series Wi-Fi Access Point platforms a few weeks ago.

According to WBA, the results of these trials demonstrate serious potential for Wi-Fi 6E to be successful on an international basis once the spectrum is released for unlicensed use.

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