New generation Wi-Fi standards are coming and leaving faster than any other technology in the telco-world. But despite the obvious advantages in the new standards, we believe that ISPs should focus less on the latest Wi-Fi standard number and more on the best Wi-Fi solution as a whole.
Wi-Fi 6E is here, and Wi-Fi 7 is just around the corner. The new Wi-Fi standards offers a wide range of benefits, including faster and more reliable access. But even though we are introduced to a new Wi-Fi standard every 3-4 years, this does not necessarily mean that the technology in the previous standard is obsolete.
In our opinion, ISPs should focus on the best solution in the long run that benefits both the user experience and the ISP business – regardless of the Wi-Fi standard - and its number.
“...The Wi-Fi standard in itself is not necessarily a guarantee. You have to consider the whole Wi-Fi package and the circumstances surrounding it.”
–Jens Bundgaard, Technical Program Manager, Icotera
Giving the end-users what (they think) they want
A few years ago, Wi-Fi standards were named with multiple characters such as "802.11ac", whereas today, the standards are named more simply with a single number indicating the latest Wi-Fi generation.
The new way of naming not only helps to eliminate confusion around the standards. It also makes it easier for ISPs to explain what their different solutions offer, and for users to quickly decode the Wi-Fi standard offered by the ISP.
But according to Jens Bundgaard, Technical Program Manager at Icotera, the number of the standard in itself is no guarantee that you will get the best solution:
– We are used to thinking that the latest technology standard must be the best. And basically, that is also true. But with service providers competing on price, it is not always possible to deliver a premium product with the latest Wi-Fi technology at a low price point. As a result, some ISPs have to compromise on the overall Wi-Fi solution, he says and adds:
– What I am trying to say is that there are both good Wi-Fi 5 solutions and bad Wi-Fi 6 solutions out there, and the Wi-Fi standard in itself is not necessarily a guarantee. You have to consider the whole Wi-Fi package and the circumstances surrounding it.
Why 6E is not considered suitable for ISPs in the EU
Wi-Fi 6 operates in two bands – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz – and employs various features to improve the efficiency as well as reduce latency for those two bands, where 6E also operates in the 6GHz band which extends the capacity, efficiency and overall performance.
At first glance, there are obvious benefits to utilizing the 6GHz band. But according to Jens Bundgaard, there is a flipside to the coin. Especially for ISPs in the EU and UK:
– Due to EU legislation, ISPs in the EU only get less than half of the 6GHz frequency band made available as opposed to the United States and the East. In addition, it is not possible to use high-power channels, as in the case with 5GHz, he says and elaborates:
– With these limitations in mind, many of the benefits of 6E are gone, and they are not expected to be solved before Wi-Fi 7 is ready in a few years.
Focus on the long-term solution
While 6E still waits for technology adoption, improved legislations and absorbing the cost of development, our advice is to start out by unlocking the full potential of the 5GHz spectrum in Wi-Fi 6 before going into 6 GHz:
– In order to run a profitable ISP business, invest in a resilient and durable Wi-Fi solution that does not need to be replaced whenever a new Wi-Fi standard becomes available, Bundgaard ends.
With a high-end Wi-Fi 6 router it’s possible to take the Wi-Fi experience to the next level. A router equipped with 8x8 antennas for the 5GHz band eliminates most access points which results in a much simpler setup - but for most customers also a much better user experience.
To sum up, a 8x8 Wi-Fi 6 router is the obvious choice for service providers who want to spoil their customers with high-end Wi-Fi performance and then jump straight from Wi-Fi 6 to Wi-Fi 7, when the new technology standard is available in a few years time.
Are you interested in taking your end-users’ Wi-Fi experience to the next level?
Check out Icotera’s high-end Wi-Fi 6 i4880 residential ethernet router or feel free to contact our Technical Program Manager, Jens Bundgaard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curious on how to beat competition from new ISPs?
And how to make profit with a single-play Wi-Fi service, while lowering customer churn?
Download our new E-book: The competitive ISP here