You know the name, but do you know the number? As of next year, Wi-Fi will have a defining digit to let consumers know which version they’re using, and 6 will start things off like a flash. Private, public and commercial users will see fewer overcrowded channels and better online security. Wi-Fi 6 will widen the scope not only of wireless itself but of the market that provides it.
Wi-Fi 6 plans to improve a number of wireless issues, including reducing latency, boosting data rates, and providing greater outdoor efficiency. Capacity improvements mean better Wi-Fi performance in signal-dense environments (less spotty service in crowded public spaces or domestic environments). The new WPA3 standard level of security will also provide a safety net for weaker passwords, while open Wi-Fi networks in public places will be covered by individualized data encryption. As Wi-Fi 6 gets ready for roll-out, the 6GHz band is being prepped to carry it.
Chairman Ajit Pai and others at the FCC have been proposing further changes to allow Wi-Fi to operate on the 6GHz band. The result could be over 1GHz of the new spectrum being made available to unlicensed Wi-Fi providers (you can learn more about the FCC’s new roles regarding unlicensed devices here). This works out to be 50 non-overlapping 20MHz channels.
Pai particularly acknowledges the overhaul needed to narrowband/private land mobile radio services. These channels are used by first responders, local and state governments, and the medical community, along with other services. The changes are expected to take effect in 2019 and will shake up Wi-Fi for the first time in over ten years.
It’s being called a greenfield opportunity – an untapped market – and the FCC fully intends to make the U.S. a leader in that field. Here are some of the wider effects the proposed changes will bring:
The potential impact of doubling America’s available spectrum through Wi-Fi 6 can hardly be overstated. The US one of the world’s most dependent nations when it comes to wireless and that’s only going to continue. The global value of Wi-Fi is currently $1.96 trillion, with the USA topping the user list at $499 billion; we’ll have reached $993 billion by 2023.
Wi-Fi 6 provides the promise of rapid and efficient deployment of next-gen wireless technology, greater service quality, streamlined public services, and robust market competition.
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