Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E & its Patent Filing Trends: Indications of the Next Evolution in WLAN Technology

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    The next advancement in wireless local area network (WLAN) technology is likely to be Wi-Fi 6, commonly known as 802.11ax. The word "Wi-Fi 6" is a component of the new nomenclature. It was enforced on Wi-Fi standards by the Wi-Fi Alliance to make them simpler for users to understand. The flexibility, efficiency, and scalability added by this standard enhance the benefits of Wi-Fi 5 (or 802.11ac), enabling both new and existing networks to expand their speed and capacity with next-generation applications.


    The following article discusses Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technology as well as related patent application developments.


    Understanding Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

    The next-generation Wi-Fi standard, known as Wi-Fi 6, was created in response to consumer demand for a faster internet connection. In order to enjoy high bandwidth devices like VR headsets, several smart home gadgets, or just a variety of devices in the home or workplace, it is important to choose a Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E router. Stutter-free VR and breathtakingly clear 4K or even 8K streaming are made possible by Wi-Fi 6.

    With the addition of the "Extended" prefix and an additional E, Wi-Fi 6E is substantially identical to Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6E introduces a brand-new frequency band for transmission at 6GHz, while Wi-Fi 6 and the preceding generation operated on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands.

    Key Benefits of Wi-Fi 6 Technology
    1.Better Efficiency
    In the earlier iteration of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) utilised for Wi-Fi networks, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) was developed. Wi-Fi channels are further separated in OFDMA to enable simultaneous data transmission to numerous users. Multiple stations can communicate data frames simultaneously using uplink OFDMA. Similar to uplink OFDMA, downlink OFDMA allows several data frames to be sent to various stations in a single data unit. By allocating resources in OFDMA depending on time and frequency, one can boost spectral efficiency.
    2. Increased Bandwidth
    In Wi-Fi 6, the MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) functionality utilises 8 streams. IEEE 802.11ac introduced MU-MIMO for downlink communication; however, Wi-Fi 6 has improved it. Wi-Fi 6 is a significant improvement over earlier standards and it also includes UL MU-MIMO technology. Through the use of both the transmitter and the receiver's multi-antenna technology, the data is transmitted on many spatial streams. This feature dramatically decreases application delay and enhances transmission efficiency in multi-user concurrent circumstances. It implies that a user won't have to sacrifice bandwidth in order to stream, download, or play virtual reality games.
    3. Reduced Power Consumption
    Devices are able to plan out connections with a router using Target Wake Time (TWT). In the end, it decreases the amount of time they must maintain their antennae energised to transmit and hunt for signals, causing only modest battery drainage and extending battery life. With the advent of this technology, users may anticipate longer battery life without having to worry about charging urgently.
    With all of its advantages, Wi-Fi 6 Technology is predicted to transform the telecommunications and internet sectors. Industry players are vying for an early patent submission after seeing the technology's broad application. Numerous patent applications made by some of the industry's leading companies demonstrate the technology's usefulness.
    Top Patent Filers in the Wi-Fi 6 Technology
    According to the filing trend for Wi-Fi 6 standard-essential patent (SEP) families, Qualcomm, Huawei, and Intel are among the main developers of the Wi-Fi 6 technology standard. Huawei possesses more over 110 Wi-Fi 6 SEP families, compared to around 120 held by Qualcomm. As a result, both are major players in Wi-Fi 6 technology patents. Intel, LG Electronics, Newracom, Marvell/NXP, and other businesses follow the top two.
    Introduction to Wi-Fi 6E Technology
    A brand-new 6 GHz band is accessible thanks to Wi-Fi 6E technology. Spectrum congestion is frequently at blame when consumers have problems connecting to their Wi-Fi network. This problem can be successfully solved using 6GHz Wi-Fi. It allows for the simultaneous broadcast of up to seven maximum-capacity Wi-Fi streams without interfering with one another. Furthermore, it accomplishes this without utilising any of the prior spectrums.
    Benefits of Using Wi-Fi 6E
    The Wi-Fi 6E standard uses the 6GHz band to deliver internet rates of more than 1Gbps. Additionally, a larger spectrum yields decreased latency (less than one millisecond) for online games, video conversations, or virtual computing sessions needing a prompt reaction to keyboard inputs, voice instructions, or mouse clicks.
    Similar to this, the expanded spectrum also quadruples the number of airwaves available to routers and smart devices (14 new 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels), reducing signal interference.
    Key Features of Wi-Fi 6E Technologies
    The following cutting-edge features of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 are delivered by Wi-Fi 6E:
    1. MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output): It enables the simultaneous delivery of more downlink data. Additionally, it permits an access point to send data to multiple devices simultaneously. Single-user MIMO (SU-MIMO), also referred to as MIMO, gave rise to MU-MIMO. MIMO technology was developed to improve the number of concurrent users that an access point could accommodate. Initially, a wireless router's antenna counts were increased to achieve this. Another name for MU-MIMO is Next-Gen A.C. or A.C. Wave 2. The 802.11ac protocol is referred to in the A.C. section.
    2. Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA): In environments with high demand, it effectively expands channels to enhance network efficiency and reduce latency for uplink and downlink traffic. The frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) method used to split data packets into independent bands transmitted by different signals has been improved with OFDMA. A move to 4G and 5G LTE and this method of transmission and communication are both improvements above old phone carriers. OFDMA uses subcarriers, commonly referred to as carrier signal waves, to transfer small amounts of information more efficiently.
    3. Transmit beamforming: It allows for larger data rates at a specific range, which increases network capacity. Beamforming improves Wi-Fi 6E connection accuracy by utilising electromagnetic interference theory. During a beamforming transmission, a wire signal is directed at a particular receiving device. As a result, a broadcast antenna's signal is not evenly distributed (which is the case in standard transmission). Because of beamforming, the link that is made is direct, quick, and dependable.
    4. 160 MHz Channels: This feature boosts bandwidth for amazing performance and low latency. Global adoption of Wi-Fi 6E is anticipated, ushering in a new era of connection with an enhanced user experience. In order to enable a variety of bandwidth-driven user cases, Wi-Fi 6E provides up to seven 160 MHZ channels. Wi-Fi 6E devices are able to achieve low latency, faster speed, and higher capacity because to this increase in spectrum bandwidth.
    5. Target Wake Time (TWT): TWT significantly extends the battery life of Wi-Fi devices, particularly those used by the Internet of Things (IoT). The connected device's spectral efficiency is increased by the target wake time. The gadget can choose when to awaken in order to broadcast and receive data. The technology makes it possible to supply dependable, high-quality service to a large number of devices with no overlap or competition. The connected device's battery life is generally better due to resource scheduling.
    Impact of Covid-19 on the Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E Technology
    Manufacturing plants have undergone substantial change as a result of the adoption of new techniques and technologies to increase operational efficiency. Collaborative robots, wireless IP cameras, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) have several uses in the manufacturing sector. All of these devices need better wireless network connectivity for seamless operation. The Covid-19 pandemic's start sped up the use of digital technology and helped Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E gain popularity.
    Global demand and production for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E chipsets were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 overall. The swift spread of the virus compelled the governments of the US, China, Japan, and Germany to impose a rigorous lockdown. Numerous manufacturing facilities had to close as a result. 
    Top Players in the Global Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E Market
    The top and emerging companies in the worldwide Wi-Fi 6E market include Cisco, Broadcom Inc., Wi-Fi Alliance, Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, ALE International, Lenovo, Asus, TP-Link, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, etc., based on market share and revenue. By 2023, 628 million public Wi-Fi hotspots are anticipated to exist worldwide. By 2023, roughly 11% of all public Wi-Fi hotspots will support Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. Public transit, airports, healthcare, retail, sports venues, and intelligent cities are just a few of the major industries where Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E hotspots are used.
    Device Type Insight
    In 2020, WLAN infrastructure devices accounted for over 41% of the market. Due to the rising demand for WiFi-6 and Wi-Fi 6E chipsets, which are utilised in the newest routers, repeaters, gateways, and extenders, the market is at a high level. The global deployment of routers and access points is anticipated to increase dramatically as demand for more bandwidth grows. Additionally, there will be significant investment in WLAN devices and infrastructure due to the aim to offer greater customer service.
    The desire to incorporate new consumer electronics like laptops, smartphones, and AR/VR headsets will increase quickly with the launch of new wireless protocols. There are a number of new uses for consumer electronics made possible by the ground-breaking Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technology. Cloud-based gaming, seamless video conferencing, and 4K/Ultra-High Definition (UHD) films are some of the new uses for the gadgets. Therefore, rising consumer spending on novel experiences will drive up demand for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E chipsets.
    To get more information, read entire article on Patent Filing