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Expert says 6GHz spectrum for Canada is 'the biggest Wi-Fi advancement in 20 years

Expert says 6GHz spectrum for Canada is 'the biggest Wi-Fi advancement in 20 years

Wi-Fi in Canada is about to get a lot more exciting. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) announced on May 19 that it has opened a new swath of Wi-Fi spectrum in the 6 GHz frequency range, which will triple the spectrum currently available for faster Wi-Fi speeds. will provide.

This new spectrum will enable Wi-Fi 6e, a new class of Wi-Fi devices that aims to remove the congestion of existing Wi-Fi systems. Today's Wi-Fi operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz ranges. With these bands becoming increasingly congested, Wi-Fi devices need new, uncongested spectrum to reach their maximum speeds. The new 6 GHz band will provide approximately 1,200 MHz of additional spectrum to support future Wi-Fi devices.

Wireless system architect Chris Begg at Cognitive Systems said in an email to the publication, "The new 6 GHz spectrum allocation for Wi-Fi 6E requires future Wi-Fi-based services, and more bandwidth." "With the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, limited spectrum causes controversy as the number of networks and users in a given area increases, making wide channels difficult and unreliable to obtain."

Although Wi-Fi 6e doesn't support higher maximum speeds than Wi-Fi 6, having access to higher frequencies enables wider channels, making it more likely to reach that peak speed. Think of channels like a highway: the wider the road, the more vehicles can travel in parallel.

With this decision, Canada joins several countries that have opened up 6GHz to Wi-Fi. Although there are differences in specific frequencies, most countries have extended Wi-Fi to some capacity in the 6 GHz range. The US, as well as several countries in South America, Europe, and Asia, have issued similar frequency ranges for Wi-Fi.

"Wi-Fi 6e (Wi-Fi in 6 GHz) eliminates the capacity limitations of Wi-Fi 5," explained Carlos Rebellon, director of US government relations at Intel in an emailed statement. "It will provide high speed, ultra-low latency, superior energy consumption of connected devices, and will be perfectly suited in dense environments such as the enterprise."

In addition to improving data transmission performance, Wi-Fi 6E will be able to enhance special use cases such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Wi-Fi sensing.

"Great news for understanding more bandwidth applications as getting a wider channel becomes more practical and more deterministic," Baig said. "Using a wider channel for sensing is the equivalent of taking a picture with a color camera versus a black and white camera, resulting in a more detailed image."

You also have to make big money. The Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that the global value of Wi-Fi will reach $4.9 trillion in 2025. In countries with populations similar to Canada, the Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that Wi-Fi will be worth $22 billion in 2025.

Wi-Fi 6e devices will be divided into three power categories:

Standard-power equipment (both indoor and outdoor) with automatic frequency coordination (AFC) control. These are indoor and outdoor access points for large groups of users.
Low-power indoor-only devices without AFC control. Think home routers and access points.
Very low-power devices (both indoor and outdoor) without AFC control. These are IoT sensors and AR devices.
Since external equipment can potentially step over the service frequencies of fixed satellite services (FSS), ISED requires all external Wi-Fi 6E equipment to implement an automatic frequency coordination (AFC) system. In short, the AFC checks with a database which frequencies have already been reserved in the local to prevent interference. This is an important technology for enabling external Wi-Fi 6 devices.

With the standard now set, Canada can expect to see indoor Wi-Fi 6E devices by the end of 2021. External standard power equipment will arrive by the middle of 2022.

"The 6 GHz spectrum revision in Canada will bring the biggest Wi-Fi advancement in 20 years to all Canadians," Rebellon said.

But the market is already looking ahead. Although Wi-Fi 6e devices have just landed, the industry is already expecting Wi-Fi 7 to arrive by 2024, with another massive increase in bandwidth.

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