One-third of industry to deploy Wi-Fi 7 by the end of 2024: Report

The Wireless Broadband Alliance also reported that 53% of respondents have already deployed Wi-Fi 6

In its 2023 annual industry report, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) found that 53% of service providers, technology providers and enterprises have deployed Wi-Fi 6, and an additional 44% said that they were currently working to adopt Wi-Fi 6E within the next 12-18 months. Additionally, 33% of those surveyed confirmed that they already plan to deploy Wi-Fi 7 by the end of 2024.

“The adoption of Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 is driven by a growing appetite for data-intensive, low-latency applications and use cases, smart cities, and immersive technologies such as future metaverse to Industry 4.0,” the WBA said in a statement. “New Wi-Fi technologies offer better planning and interference management, which survey respondents now consider essential to support high-quality video, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality ( AR) and other advanced consumer experiences.”

In fact, 90% of service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises ranked the quality of experience (QoE) delivered to end users as a key differentiator in monetizing their Wi-Fi services, with 61% naming specifically the previously mentioned applications as critical revenue. Opportunities.

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What is special about Wi-Fi 7?

Wi-Fi 6 introduced OFDMA – a traffic planning technique that results in significant speed gains in congested and lightly congested environments – and then Wi-Fi 6E added a huge amount of capacity. However, quality of service limits remain, particularly around latency.

This is where Wi-Fi 7 shines – it has the potential to improve support for applications that require deterministic latency, high reliability and quality of service. This is partly due to what Gabriel Desjardins, director of product marketing for Broadcom’s Wireless Connectivity division, calls the “marquee” functionality of Wi-Fi 7. High-bandwidth multi-link (MLO) operation is unique to the latest generation of Wi-Fi, and it refers to the use of multi-band/multi-channel aggregation and operation and provides higher spectrum and power efficiency, better interference mitigations, higher capacity density and better profitability.

Simply put, MLO enables “fast switching between two different Wi-Fi bands,” Desjardins said. If a device connected in the 5 GHz band suffers from degraded performance due to the appearance of another device on the network, the MLO function will automatically – and very quickly – switch the first device to the 6 GHz band.

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Other direct improvements over Wi-Fi 6 include support for up to 30 Gbps throughput, about three times faster than Wi-Fi 6; 320 MHz transmissions, double the 160 MHz of 802.11ax; and the use of higher modulation orders, possibly supporting 4096-QAM, from 1024-QAM in 802.11ax.

Source: Wireless Broadband Alliance

Other Key Findings: OpenRoaming and Convergence

The report also revealed that WBA OpenRoaming, which uses Passpoint technology to enable seamless and secure Wi-Fi integration, reached the milestone of one million access points in early 2022. Sixty-two percent of service providers , equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide will have already deployed Passpoint/OpenRoaming or plan to do so by the end of 2023, and another 25% are expected to deploy the technology by 2025.

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Finally, the WBA highlighted the need for Wi-Fi/5G convergence in order to create “a seamless user experience”. In enterprise markets, 70% of respondents to the report said Wi-Fi and 5G would co-exist, with 61% saying convergence would allow for increased flexibility for enterprise services. Fifty-three percent said convergence between licensed and unlicensed technologies was essential or important to current business strategy

“What we’re seeing here is the industry as a whole identifying the growing value of Wi-Fi technology as a result of highly anticipated new use cases. Additionally, service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises around the world know that these use cases are best served in a converged environment, where Wi-Fi and 5G complement each other,” said Tiago Rodrigues. , CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance. “As a result, we see the industry moving at a breakneck pace towards 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 user experience.”

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