LONDON — Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced the conclusion of five trial deployments of Wi-Fi 6 across diverse markets. The deployments show that Wi-Fi 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. Wi-Fi 6 is also now proven to deliver better reliability, lower latency, more deterministic behaviour, and better network efficiency, especially in environments with many connected devices. Wi-Fi 6 will help with congestion problems, increase densification of the network, and enable new use cases.

The trials, covering a range of different verticals and deployment scenarios, demonstrate the key capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 in live networks, establishing its readiness for carrier deployments around the world. This lays the foundation for enterprises, homes, schools, transportation hubs, travellers, and IoT.

WBA members, including network providers, infrastructure vendors, and device vendors, set up the trial environments and executed the test cases in end-to-end, real-life networks. The trials addressed the following deployments.

  • Industrial manufacturing — Mettis Aerospace worked with Broadcom, Cisco, iBwave, and Intel to deploy Wi-Fi 6 in a dense industrial environment with heavy metal, high temperatures, and moving machinery, where previous generations of Wi-Fi did not perform well. The Wi-Fi 6 trial demonstrated improved reliability, coverage, and throughput and lower latency for supporting mission critical applications.
  • High-density malls — SK Telecom deployed Wi-Fi 6 to improve connectivity for consumers, increase quality of experience (QoE) for densely populated areas, and provide high throughput for immersive media services. Wi-Fi 6 reduced latency by 80%, reduced throughput fluctuation, and improved service reliability to customers throughout the mall.
  • Single-family and multi-dwelling units — CableLabs®, Intel, and Kyrio® deployed Wi-Fi 6 in a mixed-use residential area to increase the user experience. In this trial, Wi-Fi 6 delivered a significant increase in throughput, enabling the delivery of multiple 4K video with higher quality.  
  • Education in rural areas — C-DOT and Intel deployed Wi-Fi 6 in a rural school trial in India to enhance new learning technologies and improve signal coverage and streaming performance. Wi-Fi 6 improved throughput by more than 50% throughout the network.
  • Transportation hubs like John Wayne Airport — In the U.S, Boingo, Cisco, and Samsung worked together to launch Wi-Fi 6 at John Wayne Airport (SNA) to power a next-generation connectivity experience and support airport operations. Following the SNA deployment, Boingo has moved its Wi-Fi 6 technologies from trials to commercial operations and announced an airport-wide  commercial deployment of Wi-Fi 6 at São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), delivering fast speeds and low latency to passengers.

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

In a recent WBA survey, it was found that more than 65% will have deployed Wi-Fi 6 by the end of 2021. For many WBA Members, Wi-Fi 6 is now moving rapidly to commercial deployment.