Forecast: 83% will deploy Wi-Fi 6/6E by 2022

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Eighty-three per cent of service providers and equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide will have deployed Wi-Fi 6/6E or plan to do so before the end of 2022. That is one key finding from a cross-industry survey by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, the global industry body dedicated to improving Wi-Fi standards and services.

The findings, released by the WBA as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2022, highlights how 6GHz spectrum will enable Wi-Fi to support even more users and new use cases, such as time-sensitive networking (TSN) for Industry 4.0 applications. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said 6GHz was critical or very important to their strategy.

This outlook reflects the rapid growth in both global harmonisation and device selection:

  • 41 countries, representing 54 per cent of world GDP, have authorised 6GHz for use
  • More than 338 million Wi-Fi 6E devices will enter the market this year
  • Nearly 20 per cent of all Wi-Fi 6 device shipments will support 6GHz by 2022

The report includes updates on a variety of technologies, amendments and initiatives, including 5G convergence and Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be). Also known as Extremely High Throughput (EHT), Wi-Fi 7 is projected to support up to 30Gbps throughput, about three times faster than Wi-Fi 6. WBA expects Wi-Fi 7 devices to make their market debut in 2025.

The report also quantifies global momentum for WBA OpenRoaming, which enables users to connect automatically and securely to millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world — and without the need for logins, registrations or passwords. Respondents said roaming is the second most-important Wi-Fi capability for commercial success, especially for smart city environments.

  • 40 per cent of respondents have implemented Passpoint/OpenRoaming, such as Adventist Health hospital campuses in the US, or plan to do so before the end of 2022
  • 70 per cent of respondents involved in a city-wide public Wi-Fi network, or who plan to be, will support city-wide roaming, joining several municipalities across Europe that have implemented it

OpenRoaming Release 2 was announced in June and defines important new functionality, including support for SLAs via a QoS tier that guarantees a ‘silver-tier’ HD streaming experience when on OpenRoaming networks. Silver-tier service is already available across 95 per cent of the OpenRoaming ecosystem.

Tiago Rodrigues, WBA CEO said, “Service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide see more value than ever in Wi-Fi. Despite all of the uncertainty due to the pandemic, 56 per cent of respondents said they were more confident about investing in Wi-Fi than they were a year ago. This confidence also shows up in the number of WBA members participating in various projects – an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2020 — and the record 20 projects in development or already in progress. One example is their strong interest in the convergence of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, including how mobile operators can leverage Wi-Fi as part of their 5G strategy in terms of maximising coverage and capacity.”


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