New Wi-Fi band outshines anything before, equalling 5G speeds

4 Mar 2020680 Views

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Trials of the latest iteration of Wi-Fi, working at the 6GHz band, have shown it to reach speeds equivalent to that of 5G.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the worldwide industry body dedicated to all things Wi-Fi, has announced the first trials of Wi-Fi 6E. It works at the 6GHz band and aims to overcome performance issues currently caused by overcrowding on many older networks.

The WBA said that this new band will provide more capacity than all the other Wi-Fi bands put together, and deliver connections with speeds equivalent to the new advanced 5G mobile networks. Wi-Fi 6E is designed for low-latency applications such as mobile gaming, virtual and augmented reality, and industry 4.0 solutions.

During the trials, the WBA said it achieved speeds of 2Gbps as well as a consistent two millisecond low-latency connection.

The alliance said that it sees the new Wi-Fi technology being deployed in congested areas such as subway stations. A series of further trials are expected to take place over the coming months including both in subway systems and in-home testing.

Infographic showing speed comparisons between Wi-Fi 6E and previous versions.

Image: WBA/Broadcom

‘A multi-generational shift’

“Wi-Fi 6 networks extended into the 6GHz spectrum represent a multi-generational shift in Wi-Fi services and the user experience,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA.

“This trial is an important step in the process of effectively demonstrating the benefits that Wi-Fi networks can deliver in the 6GHz spectrum band.”

Several regulators are working on the possibility of releasing the 6Ghz spectrum bands for unlicensed use, including the FCC in the US, Ofcom in the UK and regulators in the EU, among others.

Some of the major chip manufacturers have said they will be releasing Wi-Fi 6E chips. This includes Broadcom, which said it will begin production by the end of this year. It’s predicted that as many as 500m compatible devices will be in use within three years.

The news comes following an attempt to boost public Wi-Fi speeds on trains and other forms of transport. Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh designed a flat panel antenna that connects to satellites in space to maintain connectivity while on the move.

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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