One of the great benefits of the mobile internet revolution is that it’s kept the pressure on WiFi technology to expand, grow and develop at unprecedented rates.
With 5G mobile internet just around the corner promising real-world speeds of at least 1Gbps, much noise has been made about the future of WiFi – a topic we’ve covered recently. To cut a long story short though; WiFi is going nowhere, with almost 70% of smartphone data is still being carried over WiFi networks.
It’s a fact which makes wireless broadband as relevant and vital today as it has ever been.
Nevertheless, with 5G use-cases on the horizon, WiFi needs to move with the times. As such, all eyes have been on the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and their plans to shore up WiFi for the next generation of connections.
Their plan, according to a new whitepaper, is 802.11ax: a new proposed standard which will ‘revolutionise’ the industry with benefits for “operators, enterprises and end users”. To deliver this, the WBA is promising “fundamental improvements” for WiFi, with one huge advantage over 5G – full backwards compatibility with current standards, meaning no device left behind.
Improvements to WiFi technology might not seem like the sort of thing which translate directly into improvements for your business, but that’s exactly what 802.11ax wireless means. Here are a few of its changes, and how they can benefit your business:
- Multi-User MIMO Uplink & Downlink – 11ax increases channel capacity when servicing multiple, simultaneous devices to promise a massive capacity boost for large public venues like hotels and in apartment buildings. Not only does this mean more reliable connections for your guests, but higher overall speeds at peak times – improving the customer experience.
- Dual Band Frequencies – Key to the future of wireless broadband is the move into a wider band of wireless spectrum. Accordingly, 802.11ax supports dual-band4GHz and 5GHz frequencies (like currently WiFi technology), but also extends support to the 6GHz range to deliver increased performance.
- Flexible Channel Sizes – With the Internet of Things (IoT) picking up steam, 802.11ax supports flexible channel sizes. This enables businesses to create lower powered channels exclusively for the IoT, freeing up bandwidth for customers.
- Target Wake Time – Further to the IoT, 802.11ax features Target Wake Time, a feature which will only activate IoT WiFi within scheduled time slots, improving battery life and reducing access contention.
Together, these features promise to make WiFi faster, more stable and more capable of dealing with many simultaneous connections than ever before. For the hospitality sector, it will enable even more seamless Hotel Home Experiences, whilst apartment buildings will enjoy the intelligent IoT management.
Work on 802.11ax is early but underway, with plans for early trials of the technology in end-to-end real-world operator networks, it’s closer to realisation than you might think.
At Airangel, we welcome the advancements that 802.11ax promises and eagerly await the results of real-world trials of the technology.