Service providers' ongoing rollout of mesh networks and other solutions that leverage WiFi to strengthen home connectivity validate the important role WiFi 6 will play in smart homes, smart cities and other broadband deployments.
More than 1 billion WiFi 6 chipsets will ship by 2022, according to ABI Research. That's only three years after the first commercial deployments begin next year, the research firm said.
Many traditional telco-focused vendors are among those incorporating the latest WiFi standard into their newest products or acquisition targets to ensure future plans include WiFi capabilities. Just today, for example, ADTRAN acquired SmartRG, a developer of carrier-class, open-source connected home platforms and cloud services, such as cloud-management, analytics, WiFi-enabled residential gateways and SmartOS software. (See How Fiber Plays a Key Role in Orange's Convergent Network Plans.)
This fall, Calix released two versions of its GigaSpire smart home system with EXOS. The device -- which looks like a slightly larger model of a smart-home speaker or a sleeker router -- include WiFi 6, along with an alphabet soup of other protocols and Amazon Alexa. (Join us for a webinar on December 12 at noon EST, 9 am PST, to hear Calix and Amazon Alexa executives discuss how service providers can benefit from the voice opportunity. Register here.) (See With Amazon Alexa, Calix Translates Smart Home Opp Into Reality.)
For its part, the Wireless Broadband Association ensured WiFi 6 featured backwards compatibility, focused on return on investment and cheaper deployment costs, and empowered operators to deliver some early 5G use cases, Tiago Rodrigues, WBA general manager, told Broadband World News.
That's worked well to further expand the popularity of WiFi among operators and municipalities, he said.
"Some deploy their own broadband infrastructures, either by providing WiFi in certain situations or in certain areas or buildings -- schools, libraries, parks. They work very closely as well with the carriers," Rodrigues said. "There is interest, the appetite, to explore any type of technology to provide broadband that is cheaper and deliver faster broadband access to any of their residents. If its possible using the assets that already exist on the ground, perfect. They will do that. If the assets that are already on the ground are not available or not properly used, they are more than willing to explore wireless technology."
While Tier 1 carriers make up the vast majority of those deploying fiber to North American homes, other provider types are making their mark, RVA's study for Fiber Broadband Association finds.
Tier One ILECs primary providers for fiber deployment surge to North American homes, but
The FCC's unscientific measures under-represent the number of Americans without broadband, making it imperative for the public and private sectors to work together on bridging the digital divide, says Microsoft President Brand Smith.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!