WN Podcast 030 – WiFi 6E – Our Wireless Salvation

Welcome to our new WiFi Ninjas Podcast episode!

Today we discuss new extension to the happy WiFi family – the WiFi 6E. Enjoy!

  • WiFi 6E
    • Stands for WiFi 6 “Extended”
    • Announced by WiFI Alliance on the 3rd Jan 2020
    • Not yet cleared by the FCC
  • Drivers
    • More need for capacity
      • CCI being major performance killer today
      • Vendors push for more bonding – practical to do so in 6GHz?
    • 8k, VR, AR, Enterprise Conferencing
    • WiFi boom in the industrial vertical (can’t blame them)
    • Ultra-fast broadband (300Mbps+) and fibre to the home are quickly becoming a norm, reaching 53% of properties in the UK in 2019. Both Ninjas have 50 down and 10 up. We’re embarassed sitting in the bottom feeding half of the population πŸ™‚
  • Ofcom proposition for the UK
    • Ofcom is responsible for authorising use of the radio spectrum in the UK
    • Make the lower 6GHz band (5925-6425 MHz) available for WiFi
      • Including Very Low Power (VLP) outdoor use
      • Remove DFS from WiFi channels in the 5.8GHz band (5725-5850MHz, which is UNII-3, also referred to as Band-C)
        • “We made the 5725-5850 MHz band available for Wi-Fi use in 2017 and said we would keep the regulations under review. Our current analysis indicates that the band is very lightly used by Wi-Fi routers in the UK, which is in part due to the UK-specific requirement to implement DFS in this band, and that the interference risk to radars from indoor Wi-Fi use is very low. We are therefore proposing to remove DFS requirements for indoor use (up to 200mW) only from the 5725-5850 MHz band to increase use of the band and reduce congestion in other channels”
      • Ofcom consultation will be open until 20 March 2020
      • Ofcom believes that WiFi bands should be as globally harmonised as possible and intend to drive international discussions intending to promote the benefits of a simple regulatory regime
  • Broadcom launches world’s first WiFi 6E 6GHz chips
    • Intended for enterprise APs and residential networks
    • 4×4 dual band 160MHz support
    • 2×2 tri-band
    • 2×2 dual-band with ARM CPU
  • Intel apparently not far away from having their own 6GHz WiFi chipsets
    • Already demonstrated it at last MWC in Barcelona
  • No words from Qualcomm yet
    • Qualcomm still dominates WiFi 6 enterprise AP market
  • Regulators
    • FCC has not made its final decision as of Jan 2020
  • Numbers
    • 125 million WiFi6 smartphones have been shipped until now
  • New frequency
    • 1.2GHz wide new spectrum in the US
    • 500MHz wide new spectrum in the EU
    • Today in the UK we have 25x 5GHz (585MHz to be exact) and 4x 2.4GHz 20MHz (exactly 83MHz) wide non-overlapping channels
  • Newly proposed 6GHz band is approx. 3 times bigger than sum of total spectrum used today for WiFi in the US and almost doubles available spectrum width in the UK
  • This translates to:
    • New US Channels (5925MHz – 7125MHz): 59x 20MHz, 29x 40MHz, 14x 80MHz, 7x 160MHz
    • New UK Channels (5925MHz – 6425MHz): 24x 20MHz, 12x 40MHz, 6x 80MHz, 3x 160MHz
  • And this is how the new spectrum would look like:
    • From Aruba Chuck (thanks man):
  • Closer view at the new frequency in the UK:
  • Legacy support
    • IEEE decided that only WiFi6 will be operating in the 6GHz band
    • Totally legacy-free with ‘but’
      • No legacy devices, sure
      • Legacy support mechanisms are still there
      • It’s still ‘just’ WiFi6 – preamble uses most robust data rate, so 6Mbps, etc.
      • Should it have been WiFi7 instead?
      • No new logo / notification required
  • Challenges
    • Differences in available spectrum in US vs rest of the world
    • WiFi 6E will overlap with widely used UWB channel 5
      • Some UWB systems using channel 5 will most likely move to channel 1 in 3GHz band
      • Poor UWB – CBRS will overlap UWB channel 1
  • WiFi6E Overlap with other tech, like mobile broadband backhauls, broadcasting, local authorities, etc.
  • Conflict with Facebook that was planning to use 6GHz band for AR/VR (app is called Spark)
  • Adoption
    • Once cleared, it should be quick and mind bending
    • WiFi will contribute to 1 trillion dollars in economic value in the US
    • Major chipset vendors already have 6GHz ready
  • Some comments about 6e from experts and vendors
    • β€œWi-Fi has become the most important wireless technology for American consumers and businesses, and is projected to contribute almost $1 trillion in economic value to the United States by 2023. As the application and overall demand for Wi-Fi continue to surge, access to the 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum will enable Wi-Fi to continue delivering the vast innovations and socioeconomic benefits it is bringing to the market today while helping to ensure Wi-Fi can meet the new promises of the 5G era and beyond.” – Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president of Wireless Standards and Strategy for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
    • “Wi-Fi has changed the world, and we are excited to work with Wi-Fi Alliance to ensure Wi-Fi will continue changing the world. Wi-Fi 6’s growth into the 6 GHz spectrum is a game changer for two reasons – the availability of the additional channels and the ability to finally use 160Mhz for high bandwidth applications like AR and VR; this provides enormous opportunities to build new applications and experiences for both consumers and businesses. By standardizing on Wi-Fi 6E, Cisco Meraki and others in the industry can begin delivering next-generation wireless experiences to customers.” – Jayanthi Srinivasan, Director of Product Management, Cisco Meraki
    • β€œWith every increase in available bandwidth, new devices and applications come along that leverage that space to provide experiences we never before imagined, yet quickly become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Brand new Wi-Fi spectrum in the 6 GHz range will more than double available Wi-Fi frequencies and have a profound effect on Wi-Fi enabled communications. This additional bandwidth not only enables higher Wi-Fi 6 performance with less congestion, but also delivers sufficient spectrum to effectively deploy 80 MHz or 160 MHz-wide channels, severely restricted at 5 GHz. 6 GHz finally and legitimately provides the higher data rates required to drive virtual and augmented reality forward, giving users and organizations the ability to develop a whole new world of use cases.” – Perry Correll, Director of Product Management, Extreme Networks
    • “I’m not sure AR should be considered the main factor behind the WiFi6E new spectrum availability, but leveraging 160MHz channels in this new-generation, market shifting, brain smashing, WiFi ‘plus’, ‘pro’ or ‘premium’ band would certainly allow me to stream 16k 480Hz turbo-HDR videos from next-generation Netflix. Lol. Now, seriously – it’s a chance for a fresh start, so I really hope that lack of support for legacy PHY will be accompanied by alterations to the WiFi6E, so we can move on from using legacy mechanisms requiring us to use robust PHY rates for some WiFi transmissions. Fingers crossed.” – Mac, WiFi Ninjas

Matt, chicken, didn’t want to comment πŸ˜‰

See you in 2 weeks!

Tons of love,

WiFi Ninjas


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This WiFi Ninjas Podcast archive consists of all the podcasts we have ever recorded!