It’s time once again for Mobile World Congress, our chance to get up to speed on everything happening in mobile and wireless connectivity. This year, it’s all about the gigabit experience. While there is a lot of buzz around 5G, it’s important to remember that Wi-Fi 6 plays a critical role in the future of connectivity — especially when it comes to the connected home.
Wi-Fi 6 — based on the IEEE 802.11ax standard — is the next leap forward in wireless connectivity. Not only is it astonishingly fast, but it is also designed to handle dense environments with lots of connected devices. Plus, it enables a fully managed wireless LAN, making it ideal for service providers who want to provision device-to-device services in modern smart homes.
With Wi-Fi 6 clients coming soon, service providers shouldn’t wait to deploy Wi-Fi 6-capable routers and gateways. Here are a few reasons why it makes sense to get a head start.
1. Wi-Fi 6 will bring multiple waves of innovation
At Intel, our decades-long history of supporting Wi-Fi innovation and delivering leading technology continues as we highlight what’s possible with Wi-Fi 6. To enable an optimal experience from device to network, we delivered the industry’s first single-chip Wi-Fi 6 solution for mainstream 2+2 home routers and gateways and expect to be first to introduce Wi-Fi 6 solutions for the PC.
At Mobile World Congress 2019, we’re demonstrating how OFDMA and scheduling technologies running on Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 solutions can boost network efficiency and reduce latency, improving experiences like VR, gaming and video streaming. We also showcased the next wave of innovation with the first demonstration of Wi-Fi 6 on the 6-7 GHz spectrum. When this enhancement to Wi-Fi 6 rolls out in the next couple of years, it has the potential to more than double the Wi-Fi spectrum with up to 4x more 160 MHz channel deployment options (estimates apply to U.S. implementations). This will further improve network capacity and reduce latency for even better user experiences.
2. Today’s clients can already get a better connection with Wi-Fi 6
Service providers can gain a competitive advantage by deploying Wi-Fi 6 as early as possible. To start with, when rolling out previous generations of Wi-Fi, the ecosystem has seen success introducing the infrastructure first to ensure high-quality experiences with clients. By installing routers and gateways with Wi-Fi 6 now, service providers will be ready when a broad range of Wi-Fi 6 clients hit the market.
While consumers will get the highest-quality experiences connecting future Wi-Fi 6 devices to Wi-Fi 6 gateways or routers, a pleasant surprise awaits those who upgrade their home network now. This is because of the growing number of PCs with integrated gigabit Wi-Fi that are designed to use 160 MHz channel bandwidth and are available today. When connecting these PCs to a Wi-Fi 6 router that also supports 160 MHz channel bandwidth, it’s possible to get true gigabit speeds over Wi-Fi. This offers a performance boost today for more immersive experiences, with the satisfaction of future-proofing the home network for when consumers start to connect Wi-Fi 6 clients.
When you further consider that a mainstream 2+2 Wi-Fi 6 router may be not only faster than a 4+4 Wi-Fi 5 router, but also comparable in price, there’s no reason to wait to roll out Wi-Fi 6.
3. Wi-Fi 6 will complement 5G for fast, seamless connectivity
There’s no doubt that 5G is one of the hottest topics in wireless. Wi-Fi is also important for enhancing wireless connectivity and, given how pervasive it is in homes around the world, it’s not going anywhere. End users will expect Wi-Fi speeds to keep up as they connect more devices to their networks.
As the mobile ecosystem moves to gigabit speeds, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks will complement one another so that end users can enjoy a seamless wireless experience. Wi-Fi 6 will play an important part in the 5G ecosystem since it introduces a managed wireless network infrastructure. Specifically, the use of downlink and uplink OFDMA in a managed Wi-Fi scenario lets operators differentiate traffic and services to efficiently utilize the wireless medium. All this means faster, more responsive connectivity to improve user experiences, no matter where end users go.
Amazing experiences can’t wait
For service providers, the timing is right to start future-proofing home networks with Wi-Fi 6, setting the stage for blazingly fast wireless connectivity. To learn more about Wi-Fi 6 and how Intel is enabling Wi-Fi solutions that transform connectivity and deliver the best possible experiences, visit intel.com/wifiax.