According to the WiFi Alliance, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 has seen rapid adoption since its 2019 introduction, surpassing 50 percent market share in three years compared to four years for Wi-Fi 5. This accelerated adoption is driven by demand for high performance Wi-Fi in phones, tablets, and PCs, and advanced features and capabilities are bringing new opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT), service provider deployments, and dense public areas to deliver better experiences. Wi-Fi 6 extension into 6 GHz is further attributed to increasing demand, with interest among regulatory bodies worldwide as well as strong adoption in products and in service provider and enterprise deployments. The Alliance expects more than 2.3 billion Wi-Fi 6 products and 350 million Wi-Fi 6E products to enter the market in 2022, with Wi-Fi 6E expected to account for more than 15 percent of all Wi-Fi 6 shipments this year.
Product vendors and enterprises are driving the transition to Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, and strong momentum in three particular areas underscores the need to consider these technologies in product plans and deployment decisions.
There are now hundreds of devices supporting Wi-Fi 6E, with more than 70 laptop models, dozens of consumer and enterprise access points, smartphones, and smart televisions. Companies are seeing unprecedented demand for Wi-Fi 6E products, which is having positive impacts on their business, and the expanded capacity and wider channels are bringing benefits to users and enterprises. Other companies are meeting significant shipment milestones, noting that customers and carrier partners are ramping up Wi-Fi 6E today. With growing demand for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E and a supply chain coming back into balance after the pandemic, the technologies are poised for accelerated product adoption.
Several recent announcements demonstrate the momentum by service providers around the world to make Wi-Fi 6E available to their customers. Recognizing the growth in home-connected devices and need for high-quality networks, service providers are bringing speed and capacity improvements through Wi-Fi 6E gateways to ensure subscribers can rely on today’s Wi-Fi as a foundational component of their digital lives. Among the reasons for deploying Wi-Fi 6E for customers include greater support for downlink and uplink speeds, reducing network saturation and improving the remote work and home entertainment network experience. Successful trials demonstrating Wi-Fi 6E's tremendous potential have delivered fast connection speeds with low latencies, and healthcare facilities and education campuses are investing in low-latency, high-capacity Wi-Fi 6E networks to deliver mission-critical, high-bandwidth applications and services.
Two years ago, the U.S. opened the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi. Since then, more than 60 countries across Americas, EMEA, and APAC have or are considering making the band available for Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi 6E ecosystem is expanding fast, and Wi-Fi 6E certification helps ensure worldwide interoperability for devices no matter where they are deployed. Several countries, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates have made the upper and lower 6 GHz band (5925-7125 MHz) available for Wi-Fi 6E. By making the full band available, countries such as Saudi Arabia are looking to harness the full potential of Wi-Fi 6E, noting that Wi-Fi is “crucial” to their citizens. Other countries have opened the lower part of the band (5925-6425 MHz) and their efforts are being applauded, but Wi-Fi 6E and future generations will best deliver their full potential by using the entire 1200 MHz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band.