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Wi-Fi 6E Momentum Underscores Need For Entire 6 GHz Band

Product availability and large-scale deployments from Wi-Fi Alliance members demonstrate Wi-Fi 6E readiness

Wi-Fi 6E is delivering value to users, enterprises, and service providers, and the 6 GHz band is satisfying growing demand for higher-bandwidth services and more immersive experiences. Since its introduction, Wi-Fi 6E has gained traction as the de-facto industry standard in products, and with healthcare, education, and sports and entertainment environments. There is immense market opportunity for Wi-Fi 6E, and decisions by regulators and policymakers around the world to open the entire 1200 MHz of spectrum in 6 GHz for Wi-Fi will have a significant impact on user experiences for students, employees, healthcare workers, researchers, and entrepreneurs in those countries. Enterprises deploying Wi-Fi 6E will also see a competitive advantage.

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Wi-Fi is expected to contribute nearly $5 trillion USD to the global economy by 2025, and countries making the full band available for Wi-Fi will see greater socioeconomic benefits. Wi-Fi 6E will also play a major role in tomorrow’s innovations including Extended Reality (XR), sophisticated augmented reality applications, and even holographic collaboration solutions. Wi-Fi 6E will be a key ingredient to delivering the best user experience from these applications.

Wi-Fi 6E is seeing strong product, deployment, and regulatory momentum worldwide:

Products: a diverse and rapidly growing Wi-Fi 6E ecosystem

More than 660 Wi-Fi 6E devices have been Wi-Fi CERTIFIED by Wi-Fi Alliance, and the diverse and rapidly growing Wi-Fi 6E ecosystem includes a wide variety of smart TVs, smart phones, enterprise and residential access points (APs), and laptops. APs are now available to support faster speeds, smoother streaming, and more reliable connections for enterprises and gamers alike; APs include those from NETGEAR delivering gigabit speeds and low latency for gamers, from Extreme Networks providing outdoor venue support with WPA3™ security, and from Aruba bringing optimized campus and classroom experiences coupled with Wi-Fi Location™ capabilities. Cisco introduced Wi-Fi 6E APs enabling greater capacity for 4K and 8K videoconferencing, greater bandwidth for XR, and enhanced industrial IoT capabilities. Mesh systems like the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro and Eero Pro 6E are also seeing high-bandwidth, Wi-Fi 6E upgrades.

Marquee devices with Wi-Fi 6E support – including the Apple iPad Pro, Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, and Samsung Neo QLED 8K TVs – will transform Wi-Fi experiences for users around the world. Devices like the Meta Quest Pro will help optimize VR, offer opportunity for deeper collaboration, and give users early access to the metaverse.

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Deployments: large-scale networks and service provider support

A series of large-scale deployments coupled with strong global service provider momentum demonstrate Wi-Fi 6E’s readiness in various environments.

Sports and entertainment
Recently, the Chase Center in San Francisco and home of the Golden State Warriors NBA team announced they will deploy Aruba Wi-Fi 6E APs so that more than 18,000 fans can take advantage of “increased capacity, wider channels, and significantly reduced signal interference of 6 GHz” when live streaming and uploading recorded content at games.

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Education
The University of Michigan recently deployed the world’s largest Wi-Fi 6E education deployment, with more than 16,000 Wi-Fi 6E APs across two campuses to provide the “ability to move an enormous amount of data, the ability to have 400 or 500 students in a classroom potentially connected via Zoom, sharing their screens and recording movies and all the projects they need to do simultaneously,” according to Ravi Pendse.

Aruba also recently announced that over 250 educational institutions across K-12 and higher education are upgrading their network infrastructures with Wi-Fi 6E, signaling the level of reliance that education institutions have on delivering extraordinary campus and classroom experience. Another recent deployment trial at Polytechnic Institute of Viseu in Portugal – a collaboration between the university, Broadcom, Extreme Networks, Intel, and Samsung – successfully demonstrated 8K video feed for remote teaching with HD video, ensuring students can access and interact with resources without buffering or lag time.

Service provider
Recently, Swisscom – powered by SoftatHome – became the fifth service provider in Europe to launch Wi-Fi 6E services for their customers and help deliver the advanced connected home experiences. Service provider support for Wi-Fi 6E across Europe including Orange, Bouygues, Free, and Deutsche Glasfaser further signals the need for European regulators and policymakers to make the upper and lower bands available for Wi-Fi. U.S. and Canadian service providers including Comcast and Bell and Rogers are delivering Wi-Fi 6E home broadband to users across the United States. These global service providers deploying Wi-fi 6E are bringing faster upload and download speeds, a better experience with at-home content consumption, and laying the foundation for a range of new customer services.

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 [To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com] 

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