Eighty-three percent of service providers and equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide will have deployed Wi-Fi 6/6E or plan to do so before the end of 2022. That is one key finding from the latest cross-industry survey by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA).
The findings, released by the WBA as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2022, highlights how 6GHz spectrum will enable Wi-Fi to support even more users and new use cases, such as time-sensitive networking (TSN) for Industry 4.0 applications. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said 6GHz was critical or very important to their strategy. This outlook reflects the rapid growth in both global harmonization and device selection:
- 41 countries, representing 54% of world GDP, have authorized 6GHz for use
- More than 338 million Wi-Fi 6E devices will enter the market this year
- Nearly 20% of all Wi-Fi 6 device shipments will support 6GHz by 2022
The new report includes updates on a variety of technologies, amendments and initiatives, including 5G convergence and Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be). Also known as Extremely High Throughput (EHT), Wi-Fi 7 is projected to support up to 30Gbps throughput, about three times faster than Wi-Fi 6. WBA expects Wi-Fi 7 devices to make their market debut in 2025.
The report also quantifies global momentum for WBA OpenRoaming, which enables users to connect automatically and securely to millions of Wi-Fi networks around the world — and without the need for logins, registrations or passwords. Respondents said roaming is the second most-important Wi-Fi capability for commercial success, especially for smart city environments.
- 40% of respondents have implemented Passpoint/OpenRoaming, such as Adventist Health hospital campuses in the US, or plan to do so before the end of 2022
- 70% of respondents involved in a city-wide public Wi-Fi network, or who plan to be, will support city-wide roaming, joining several municipalities across Europe that have implemented it
OpenRoaming Release 2 was announced in June and defines important new functionality, including support for SLAs via a QoS tier that guarantees a “silver-tier” HD streaming experience when on OpenRoaming networks. Silver-tier service is already available across 95% of the OpenRoaming ecosystem.
Tiago Rodrigues, WBA CEO said, “Service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises worldwide see more value than ever in Wi-Fi.”
“Despite all of the uncertainty due to the pandemic, 56% of respondents said they were more confident about investing in Wi-Fi than they were a year ago. This confidence also shows up in the number of WBA members participating in various projects – an increase of 15% compared to 2020 — and the record 20 projects in development or already in progress. One example is their strong interest in the convergence of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, including how mobile operators can leverage Wi-Fi as part of their 5G strategy in terms of maximizing coverage and capacity.”