Wi-Fi 6, based on the IEEE 802.11ax standard, is designed for high-density user environments and features uplink and downlink OFDMA, 8×8 multi-user MIMO and 1024 QAM. With network equipment and device support moving along, Boingo today announced a commercial trial of the latest Wi-Fi generation at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Boingo Chief Technology Officer Derek Peterson said the trial is showing triple-digit speeds using a 20 megahertz channel. “The new technology is going to bring better and faster and improved connectivity to everybody. One of the great things about Wi-Fi 6 is the channel sharing because it’s using OFDMA, which is basically the ability to share a channel more effectively like what cellular does today. That’s going to improve your experience in your dense locations in an airport where you have 400 people coming off an airplane trying to get connected.”

Boingo said it’s using Cisco equipment. Ruckus Networks also has a compatible access point, and Charter offers a Wi-Fi 6 home router. The first handsets to support the enhancement are the Samsung Galaxy S10 and an LG handset. Airport staff is kitted out with the latest Samsung flagship phone and is using the network for high-bandwidth streaming and “day-to-day administrative tasks.

Discussing Wi-Fi in the context of high-density usage, Ruckus Senior Director of Product Management Rishi Grover wrote, “The explosion of connected devices and traffic requires a more efficient wireless implementation than is offered by today’s network. 802.11 evolution (a, b, g, n, ac) has delivered increasingly higher data rates with improved modulation, channel bonding, and MIMO…However, the nuances of real-life Wi-Fi usage, particularly in high density scenarios, prevents users from benefiting from higher data rates. The Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard bucks this trend by focusing on efficiency instead of raw data rate.”

Boingo, in addition to its DAS and small cell services, has a major Wi-Fi presence in airports around the world. The company said it will continue trialing Wi-Fi 6 at John Wayne Airport to explore common airport use cases.

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