Engineering 101

Ninety Percent Plan To Deploy Wi-Fi 6

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According to a cross-industry survey conducted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), 90% of respondents are already planning to deploy Wi-Fi 6. The respondents include personnel from a global cross-section of over 200 telecommunications service providers, technology vendors and enterprises.

Highlighting the speed of planned upgrades, 66 per cent said they plan to deploy the next iteration of Wi-Fi before the end of 2020. These findings were released by the WBA, as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2020, an in-depth analysis of the state of the Wi-Fi market.

“Although the WBA has been driving the adoption of WI-Fi 6, with deployment guidelines and field trials, we were ourselves surprised at the scale of support that Wi-Fi 6 already has,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA. “When such a large proportion of service providers and technology vendors have the technology in their short-term roadmap, it means that Wi-Fi 6 will very quickly become part of the landscape for service providers, enterprises and consumers.”

Other key findings from the survey and report include:

  • Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed find the 6GHz extension to be very important or important to their current or future network strategy.
  • The role of Wi-Fi or unlicensed spectrum was the most important factor to consider in terms of strategy for network evolution and 5G, for about half of respondents.
  • Next Generation Hotspot (NGH)/Passpoint continues to gain in popularity, with 40 per cent of those surveyed saying they would incorporate the Wi-Fi roaming technology before the end of 2020.
  • A further 37% plan to implement the technology, but have not set a firm date.
  • Within three years, IoT and vertical industry applications are expected to become the leading revenue driver for Wi-Fi, with 45% placing it in their top three expected revenue sources.

The report also explains various aspects of the work that the WBA is undertaking with its membership, including:

An analysis of the Wi-Fi 6 roadmap, and how it relates to service provider business models, including details of the WBA’s work on convergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

New case studies from its members exploring innovative uses of Wi-Fi. They range from Deutsche Telekom’s deployment of in-flight Wi-Fi; AT&T’s use of Passpoint-based Wi-Fi roaming; Mettis Aerospace’s use of Wi-Fi 6 for industrial IoT; to the role of Wi-Fi in Hong Kong’s ambitious and multi-faceted smart city project.

An analysis of the timeline for availability of unlicensed spectrum bands such as 6 Ghz, 3.5GHz in the US, as well as evolving options such as 60 GHz for WiGig.

“2020 is set to become the breakout year for Wi-Fi 6, which is clearly energizing our membership,” added Rodrigues. “This is easily the most dynamic time we have seen for anyone involved with Wi-Fi – from service providers to technology vendors – as we address massive opportunities from Wi-Fi 6 and unlicensed spectrum to 5G convergence, Wi-Fi roaming and IoT.”

Lead author of the WBA Industry Report 2020, Adlane Fellah of Maravedis Research commented: “As Wi-Fi celebrates 20 years of success, it is clear that Wi-Fi platforms drive a whole new generation of use cases and revenues. The impact from innovation, investment and hard work by companies involved with the Wi-Fi industry and the supporting standards bodies and industry alliances, including the Wireless Broadband Alliance, will be powerfully felt in 2020.”

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