90% plan to deploy Wi-Fi 6

According to a cross-industry survey conducted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), 90 per cent of respondents are already planning to deploy Wi-Fi 6.  The respondents include personnel from a global cross-section of over 200 telecommunications service providers, technology vendors and enterprises.  Highlighting the speed of planned upgrades, 66 per cent said they plan to deploy the next iteration of Wi-Fi before the end of 2020.

These findings were released by the WBA, as part of the WBA Annual Industry Report 2020, an in-depth analysis of the state of the Wi-Fi market.  The full report is available to download from this link.

“Although the WBA has been driving the adoption of WI-Fi 6, with deployment guidelines and field trials, we were ourselves surprised at the scale of support that Wi-Fi 6 already has,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA.  “When such a large proportion of service providers and technology vendors have the technology in their short-term roadmap, it means that Wi-Fi 6 will very quickly become part of the landscape for service providers, enterprises and consumers.”

Other key findings from the survey and report include:

  • 78 per cent of those surveyed find the 6 GHz extension to be very important or important to their current or future network strategy.
  • The role of Wi-Fi or unlicensed spectrum was the most important factor to consider in terms of strategy for network evolution and 5G, for about half of respondents.
  • Next Generation Hotspot (NGH)/Passpoint continues to gain in popularity, with 40 per cent of those surveyed saying they would incorporate the Wi-Fi roaming technology before the end of 2020. 
  • A further 37 per cent plan to implement the technology, but have not set a firm date.
  • Within three years, IoT and vertical industry applications are expected to become the leading revenue driver for Wi-Fi, with 45 per cent placing it in their top three expected revenue sources.

The report also explains various aspects of the work that the WBA is undertaking with its membership, including:

An analysis of the Wi-Fi 6 roadmap, and how it relates to service provider business models, including details of the WBA’s work on convergence of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

New case studies from its members exploring innovative uses of Wi-Fi. They range from Deutsche Telekom’s deployment of in-flight Wi-Fi; AT&T’s use of Passpoint-based Wi-Fi roaming; Mettis Aerospace’s use of Wi-Fi 6 for industrial IoT; to the role of Wi-Fi in Hong Kong’s ambitious and multi-faceted smart city project.

An analysis of the timeline for availability of unlicensed spectrum bands such as 6 Ghz, 3.5 GHz in the U.S., as well as evolving options such as 60 GHz for WiGig.

“2020 is set to become the breakout year for Wi-Fi 6, which is clearly energizing our membership,” added Rodrigues. “This is easily the most dynamic time we have seen for anyone involved with Wi-Fi – from service providers to technology vendors – as we address massive opportunities from Wi-Fi 6 and unlicensed spectrum to 5G convergence, Wi-Fi roaming and IoT.”

Lead author of the WBA Industry Report 2020, Adlane Fellah of Maravedis Research commented: “As Wi-Fi celebrates 20 years of success, it is clear that Wi-Fi platforms drive a whole new generation of use cases and revenues. The impact from innovation, investment and hard work by companies involved with the Wi-Fi industry and the supporting standards bodies and industry alliances, including the Wireless Broadband Alliance, will be powerfully felt in 2020.”

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