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Why Wi-Fi 6 and cellular connectivity are powering new use cases for a hyper-connected future

Wi-Fi 6 is maturing into a new role that is complementary to LTE-M and 5G connectivity, according to a new whitepaper from Quectel Wireless Solutions.

The new paper, titled ‘Why Wi-Fi 6 goes hand-in-hand with cellular to enable the hyper-connected enterprise future’ reveals that Wi-Fi 6 now has applications across indoor applications such as stadiums, large venues, offices and hotels, and it is also being used outdoors in the automotive industry to enable applications including monitoring, maintenance and infotainment to enable greater personalization of vehicle features. The paper also reveals that Wi-Fi 6 is already dominating Wi-Fi shipments.

Research firm IDC has projected that the technology will account for 79% of all Wi-Fi device shipments in the next two years, with more than 3.5 billion Wi-Fi 6 device shipments able to support 6GHz by 2022. The new paper features further market projections and provides a history of the technology. In addition, it reveals the popular use cases that are driving Wi-Fi 6 adoption.

Key applications

Wi-Fi 6 can provide high date rates, low latency, and high network density features which obviously bring many benefits for private networks. For example, use cases such as video applications need high throughput, industrial controls need low latency, smart homes needs lots of stationary device connections. However, it is not enough for all kinds of applications, such as those with high mobility requirements such as POS devices, or applications that need very long range communication. For applications such as outdoor IP cameras, the Wi-Fi range may not be sufficient.

Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, connected vehicles and infotainment industries are all looking to utilize Wi-Fi 6 and 5G as complementary technologies. It’s therefore important to assess both technologies in parallel and recognize that each has compelling characteristics to bring to enterprises. Municipalities, for example, are already employing a combination of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G to power smart city solutions such as real-time traffic monitoring and geofencing applications that can deliver personalized alerts to anyone within a predetermined geographic area. In addition, applications that utilize the combination are becoming popular in healthcare, retail and sports.

Quectel sees substantial applications within the automotive market. Wi-Fi 6 features access points designed to support gigabit in-car hotspots and to deliver efficient Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the vehicle, supporting ultra-high definition (ultra-HD) video streaming on multiple displays, screen mirroring from compatible devices and wireless back-up cameras. It also features full MIMO client capability designed to extend range at high data rates for connecting to external access points for automotive services, such as vehicle diagnostics, software updates and automatic check-ins when pulling up to dealerships. In addition, the technology will deliver improved connectivity and enhanced in-vehicle experiences. As vehicle connectivity continues to advance from 4G to 5G, Wi-Fi 6 is an integral part of the connectivity evolution, as it enables seamless connections, across multiple devices, and in congested environments.

Quectel’s Wi-Fi 6 offering

Quectel announced a series of brand-new Wi-Fi 6 modules in early 2021, including the industrial-grade FC6X series based on the Qualcomm QCA206x Wi-Fi 6 chip, which is designed to deliver faster, more secure and more robust Wi-Fi experiences as well as new Bluetooth audio capabilities. The company also launched the automotive-grade AF50T module based on the Qualcomm Automotive Wi-Fi 6 chip, the QCA6696.

These two module series are designed to deliver enhanced performance in capacity, data rates, latency, power consumption and coverage. They bring premium wireless performance to a variety of consumer, industrial and automotive applications, such as smart homes, MiFi, smart TVs, over-the-top (OTT) devices, industrial controls, customer premises equipment (CPE), the Internet of Vehicles and much more.

When used in combination with Quectel’s 5G modules, the Wi-Fi 6 module series offers a superior 5G and Wi-Fi solution for MiFi and CPE that is designed to ensure high-speed connections which can support up to 32 clients at a time, and guarantee smoother and more reliable connections for smart home gadgets and many other multi-user scenarios. It also reduces network congestion for complex indoor scenarios like smart homes, shopping malls, schools and factories. Moreover, the FC6X series utilizes the WPA3 encryption mode to greatly improve the security of Wi-Fi connections.

To learn more about the fit between Wi-Fi 6 and cellular connectivity, read the whitepaper here: ‘Why Wi-Fi 6 goes hand-in-hand with cellular to enable the hyper-connected enterprise future.