The next generation Wi-Fi hits Europe this autumn. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and the new iPhone from Apple are both running the 802.11ax standard - also referred to as Wi-Fi 6. With devices enabling 10 times faster Wi-Fi, customers will naturally expect networks supporting the technology, and Wi-Fi 6 will thus become a competitive advantage. Not only will the new standard bring faster and better internet for the customers, it also has the potential to reduce help desk resources for internet service providers.
European internet service providers (ISPs) report that as much as 72% of all calls to their help desks involves in-home performance issues. It goes without saying that customer satisfaction suffers when the necessary coverage just isn’t there. Customers simply want to experience the bandwidth they are paying for at their devices.
Erik Søe-Pedersen, Chief Commercial Officer at Icotera, understands the difficulty ISPs are facing:
- The problem is that the wireless bands are overloaded. Today, too many disturbing elements utilize the bands inappropriately and we therefore need technology to help prioritize and solve the insufficient speed issues. The current generation of wireless technology is not good enough to meet the requirements of today’s customers, he says.
Erik Søe-Pedersen points out that wireless fidelity, or the lack of it, and the routers’ bad signal strength at the end of the signal are some of the concerns we are facing with the current generation of wireless technology. And when the customers experience issues with their Wi-Fi, it is the ISP who will be in the firing line.
The solution has been in the works for quite some time now, and we are about to see a jump from 802.11ac to 802.11ax – or in popular terms; Wi-Fi 6. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and the new iPhone from Apple are both running the 802.11ax standard.
And the benefits are clear: Wi-Fi 6 delivers up to ten times faster and more stable internet. According to Erik Søe-Pedersen, the new Wi-Fi standard can also contribute to bring down help desk resources:
- Wi-Fi 6 does not only meet the growing demands from the always-connected consumers. In combination with effective tools for managing and monitoring the customer’s Wi-Fi, the new standard can play an important part for ISPs in their struggle to cut down support costs. Because of the technology shift, we will expect to increase customer satisfaction, he says.
You Know the Name, You Know the Number
Consumers and organizations will get better Wi-Fi, which will transfer data up to ten times the capability of Wi-Fi 5. However, the stroke of genius lies somewhere else, if you ask Birgitte Hass, CEO of Denmark’s leading industry association for IT-and telecommunications, IT-Branchen:
- To call the technology Wi-Fi 6, and not 802.11ax, is a great idea, Birgitte Hass says. - It democratizes the knowledge of technological leapfrogging. Nobody understands what it means to go from 802.11ac to 802.11ax. But to go from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 is something everyone can comprehend.
Birgitte Hass explains that the sheer simplicity of the name will enable consumers to look for devices, which supports Wi-Fi 6. This is important as the growth of a society requires the consumers to embrace technological evolution – and understand how to utilize its possibilities like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and streaming in 4K.
Great for the Americans, Bad for the Europeans
Wireless technology companies like Quantenna, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Realtek all work dedicated on developing tomorrow’s solutions.
From the perspectives of Erik Søe-Pedersen, Icotera, it is a problem that most routers are based on a technology developed for the US market:
- It can be problematic to transfer technological solutions from the US market to the European market 1:1 because American living and European living are two different ways of living. American living conditions call for a Tri-Band solution due to their huge houses which are typically far apart from each other, bigger and made of light materials, he says.
Whereas European living conditions call for routers that can send out a loud signal with a long reach and with as many antennas as possible since we typically live in densely populated areas in apartment buildings and brick houses. Most European homes have several smartphones, tablets, flat screens and computers and they all need to be connected at the same time.
This presents a problem for the common household when using a Tri-Band router in surroundings which block the signal. But is this not just corridor talk in the industry? No, even in the research community, this problem has popped up on the radar. Jimmy Jessen Nielsen, who is associate professor at the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University and holds a Ph. D. in Wireless Communication can easily recognize the issue with routers which are unable to penetrate brick walls, concrete and steel.
- Most routers are based on a technology developed for the US market, which has consequences when installing Wi-Fi in European homes. As an example, I have had to set up multiple Wi-Fi access points to ensure reliable wireless internet throughout my entire home, he says.
Erik Søe-Pedersen reveals that Icotera’s routers are designed to meet this challenge; they deliver a long-range solution, as they are built for European homes. And with Wi-Fi 6 routers and access points from Icotera, performance will be good even far away from the main router in the house.
Ready for Wi-Fi 6 or do you need a better understanding of the commercial drivers? Then you might want to see or revisit our free webinar 'Wi-Fi 6 - Commercial Approach' from 7th of November 2019:
- Is Wi-Fi 6 just a marketing claim or will it drive better in-home Wi-Fi
- What should I offer to my customers - 5x5:5, 8x8:8
- Is tri-band a solution to be considered
- How fast is the market expected to move
Read more and find the link for the webinar HERE