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Webinar on State of Wi-Fi 6/6E Details Changes to Next-Generation Wireless LANs

By LitePoint

January 26, 2022

Wi-Fi 6/6E is a significant evolution of the Wi-Fi standard that boosts throughput and reduces latency to make it better for high-capacity applications as well as for emerging applications such as AR/VR, ultra-high definition video streaming, 5G offload and others. 

These changes and the new opportunities they open up were the focus of a recent webinar hosted by RCR Wireless’ Catherine Sbeglia featuring LitePoint’s Adam Smith and Kevin Robinson from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Wi-Fi 6 shipments have taken off surpassing 50% market share in terms of shipments in three years – a feat that took Wi-Fi 5 four years to achieve. 

Wi-Fi 6 has a fundamentally different way of operating, using new technologies including orthogonal frequency division, multiple access (OFDMA) channel access method and 1024 QAM modulation to get this performance. With Wi-Fi 6E, the technology pushes into the 6GHz frequency band for the first time. 

All of this sets the stage for understanding the new technologies that will impact the test strategies used to ensure the quality of Wi-Fi 6/6E products. Here are a few key points brought up by Adam during the webinar about the technologies and capabilities involved with Wi-Fi 6 and beyond:

With Wi-Fi 6E, systems need to support very wide spectrum – the 6 GHz band adds a total of 1.2GHz of additional spectrum over the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. The RF front end will not be able to do this with a single filter bank or amplifier. This results in more complex RF front ends. 

The other big factor with the RF front end will be band separation as the possibility exists that in a tri-band router that is transmitting in the 5GHz band could desensitize the receiver in the 6 GHz band. 

The switch to OFDMA allows multi-user operation, enabling multiple users to transmit/receive simultaneously, making more efficient use of the channel. In Wi-Fi 6/6E, OFDMA allows the router to divide a channel into subchannels that can each support a user. This will require devices to have low frequency errors so as to not override a neighboring subchannel. Tight timing is also important to enable simultaneous transmissions so that all the client station devices respond to the access point within their allotted times. 

And if that isn’t enough, Wi-Fi 7 is in the standards process and is offering all the efficiency of Wi-Fi 6/6E with extremely high throughput including 4096 QAM, 16 user streams and 320 MHz channels.

The full webinar discussion of the changes in Wi-Fi – including questions and answers – is available for replay and can be found here: State of Wi-Fi 6/6E


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