What was born out of a stroke of genius that enabled two bank machines to connect wirelessly, has now become the most significant phenomenon in communications connectivity – WiFi technology.
In just two decades, WiFi’s growth, both in development and spread, has been rapid and exponential; it has penetrated all aspects of society, occupying almost half of the device networking market. From personal computers (PCs), laptops and almost all hand-held devices all WiFi enabled, even if they do not necessarily support cellular communication.
And with continuous increase in application scenarios and digital requirements, Wi-Fi has continued to evolve with generation—802.11ax also known as “WiFi 6” is the latest in the market. This is particularly popular among the business people that are keen to give their enterprises a transformative and competitive advantage in a digitally dynamic environment.
According to Dell’Oro Group, a renowned analyst organisation, the overall market share between the 2018 and 2109 quarter three(Q3), WiFi 6 indoor Access Point (AP) surged with revenues hitting 30 times as projections indicate that it will account for a third of the global Wi-Fi market by 2020 as the world embraces the 5G technology more. These technologies; 5G and WiFi 6, will radically transform society and enterprises.
Though a booming digital economy has catalysed an explosion of emerging digital technologies, the need for more efficient and faster tech system cannot be gainsaid. For enterprises eyeing new opportunities and the economic potential in blue oceans amid digital disruption and shuffling, there is even more urgent need to embrace technologies to help them tap the resources and expand their output and markets. Their success will depend on how they respond to the technology dynamics of digital innovation and transformation.
A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), classified digital transformation into two categories digitised and digital. The digitised process aims to achieve higher efficiency, higher reliability, and lower costs, while the digital process focuses on rapid innovation, revenue generation, and growth.
This buttresses the trend captured in a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), which says digital transformation is now a core strategy of most enterprises. The consequence of this is the growing direct investment in digital transformation is growing, which is estimated at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5 per cent with projections that it could peak at $7.4 trillion by 2023.
As network transformation craze sweeping across the world, the future is all set for enterprise networks even in the face of unprecedented challenges with evidence showing 86 per cent of enterprises are using AI. Others challenges, include collaboration between hundreds of billions of production and office terminals, “cloudification” requirements for 100 per cent of enterprise services, the popularisation of new applications with high interactivity, as well as various security.
But whatever challenges, the solution to successful digital transformation lies in a network that is ubiquitous like water and air, on-demand and easy to manage. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand how 2019 became the first year for the commercialisation of Wi-Fi 6, which has been critical to the roll-out of the of 5G technologies. This has seen breakthroughs in various aspects such as bandwidth, concurrency, latency, transmission range, and battery life.
For example, the maximum bandwidth of each terminal and the number of concurrent network terminals has both increased more than four times. Furthermore, latency has reduced by more than two thirds. All these improvements create an entirely new user experience besides the lower deployment and usage costs of Wi-Fi compared to other connection methods.
And then what does the future hold for the WiFi 6? Bright. For example, in enterprise office scenarios, 4K video conferences anytime and anywhere require a stable bandwidth of at least 40 Mbit/s for each user. Wi-Fi 6 can meet this expectation well because its 1024-QAM technology improves overall network bandwidth and ensures Ultra-HD (UHD) video experience for each user.
The other use is in the industrial production environment requiring network stability. However, in ultra-high density concurrency scenarios, the data transmission rate and network stability of terminals decrease sharply.
To address these pain points, Wi-Fi 6 technologies, such as uplink and downlink Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), improve concurrent capacity and transmission efficiency, ensuring industrial production terminals with continuous and stable operations.
Internet of Things (IoT) applications will also gain additional value-added features through Wi-Fi 6. For example, Target Wake Time (TWT) can reduce UE power consumption and save battery life.
To its credit, Huawei, the leader in 5G, is also playing a key role in the development and roll-out of Wi-Fi 6. The company has been involved in the establishment of next-generation Wi-Fi standards since 2014 and released the industry’s first Wi-Fi 6 AP in 2017, and helped deploy Shanghai’s first enterprise-class Wi-Fi 6 network in 2018. It has thus played and continues to play a key role in end-to-end processes ranging from standard formulation to product development and commercial applications.
According to the report on global Wi-Fi 6 indoor AP market share from 2018 Q3 to 2019 Q3 by Dell’Oro Group, Huawei ranks first in both the global (excluding North America) and Chinese markets. Huawei Wi-Fi 6 APs have been deployed in five regions worldwide, serving fields such as government, education, finance, energy, airports, and manufacturing. These success cases provide immense demonstration and reference value.
Airports, stadiums, coffee shops, and other public locations are traditional Wi-Fi deployment scenarios. However, in the past, experience sharply declined as the number of connections increased. A large airport in Asia is one of the busiest in the world, with passenger traffic reaching new heights every year.
Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 is powered by the industry’s fastest Wi-Fi 6 APs that support high concurrency, meeting the wireless access requirements of densely populated airports and ensuring smooth HD video playback.
In addition, Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 supports IoT extension modules, ensuring value-added services, such as asset management as well as positioning and navigation, are effectively deployed in airports.
The tech firm is also involved in the popularisation of mobile offices and cloud applications, which is built on the Intent-Driven Network (IDN), CloudCampus solution to ensure intent-driven and proactive O&M, delivering “zero-touch” management and O&M.
To affirm the firm’s key role in global digital transformation, Eric Xu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman, in his 2019 New Year message said, more than 700 cities and 228 Fortune Global 500 companies had partnered with them.
And in this digi-revolution riding on WiFi 6, the future for cross-cutting enterprises is not only promising, but bright.
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