Industry Report Finds High Demand for Wi-Fi 6E and Upcoming Wi-Fi 7

By Taryn Engmark

Assistant Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 04, 2022

News

Industry Report Finds High Demand for Wi-Fi 6E and Upcoming Wi-Fi 7

LONDON. A recent cross-industry survey of technology vendors, enterprises, and service providers conducted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) found that Wi-Fi 7 is emerging as an important innvestment area for new connectivity technology. Wi-Fi 7 is designed to supercharge current Wi-Fi capabilities by utilizing technologies such as multilink operation and time sensitive networking (TSN) — suitable for applications such as Industry 4.0 — as well as dynamically using the 6GHz spectrum with automatic frequency coordination.

Released by the WBA as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2023, the survey's results indicated that 33% of respondents have plans to deploy Wi-Fi 7 by the end of 2023. The report also showed that 53% of respodnents have deployed Wi-Fi 6E technology and 44% developing plans to deploy it within the next 12-18 months, making Wi-Fi 6E the de facto industry standard.

The growing utilization of and desire for Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 stems from an increasing demand for data-intensive, low-latency use cases, such as smart cities, immersive technologies like the metaverse, and the aforementioned Industry 4.0. Newer Wi-Fi technologies can improve scheduling and provide greater interference management, which survey respondents deemed essential for supporting applications like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), high-quality video, and so on.

Additionally, the WBA's report showed a renewed interest in end users' quality of experience (QoE), with 90% of service providers, enterprises, and equipment manufacturers ranking it as a key differentiator in monetizing their Wi-Fi services. Sixty-one percent of respondents identified services such as the advanced consumer experiences mentioned above as important revenue opportunities.

Additional findings from the WBA report support the need for convergence between Wi-Fi and cellular technologies to further improve user experience:

  • In enterprise markets, 70% said Wi-Fi and 5G will coexist, with 61% claiming convergence would support enhanced flexibility for enterprise services
  • 53% said that convergence between licensed and unlicensed technologies was critical or important for the current commercial strategy 

“What we’re seeing here is the industry at large identifying increasing value in Wi-Fi technology in the wake of highly anticipated new use cases," says Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance. "What’s more, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and enterprises around the world know that those use cases are best served in a converged environment, where Wi-Fi and 5G complement each other. Therefore, we’re seeing the industry advance at breakneck pace toward Wi-Fi 7, with mobile operators leveraging Wi-Fi as part of their 5G strategies to maximize coverage and optimize capacity – it’s all about the user experience.”

For more information, view the WBA Annual Industry Report 2023.

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