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Turbo-charging the WLAN with Wi-Fi 7

Jan 08, 2024

New Huawei AP designed to boost speed, access and efficiency in campus wireless networks

SPONSORED FEATURE The advanced features embedded in the Wi-Fi 7 specification are poised to transform wireless LAN (WLAN) communications even as the broader internet landscape evolves.

Global data traffic used to be generated mostly by connected devices that communicate with a smartphone. But a larger proportion is now transmitted by vehicles, machines, meters, sensors, medical instruments and diverse Internet of Things (IoT) devices that often do not involve human interaction. Many companies are also busy creating a digital twin of physical operations to detect risks and issues, cut downtime and boost efficiency.

Also trending is the increasing proportion of voice/video traffic, which is having a knock on effect on the number of connected devices we all use. reckons that within just a couple of years, each person will own five smart terminals on average. Which inevitably means that the number of devices connected to a single WLAN access point (AP) at any one time will also multiply.

This deluge of devices - and the strain on network bandwidth, latency and throughput they cause - has created speed, reliability and accessibility requirements that Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 can no longer fulfil. Even now, issues with Wi-Fi 6 coverage, capacity and link speed have led to performance bottlenecks and disruption to application and service performance, especially during periods of peak usage.

The deployment of faster, higher-capacity Wi-Fi 7 technology can go some way to alleviate these issues. Built on the IEEE 802.11be standard, it offers up to double the capacity of Wi-Fi 6 using Ultra-Wide 320MHz channels, whilst improving data transmission rates based on spectrum resources and optimized 4096-Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM). It also integrates multi-link operation (MLO) technology to reduce the average latency to as low as 2 milliseconds (ms).

Smart cities, homes, factories, energy, cars and healthcare are just some of the scenarios and industry verticals that could benefit from deploying it.

Early implementations

The past year has seen the first commercial use of Wi-Fi 7 APs and Huawei has been optimizing key WLAN features — such as wireless network coverage, terminal roaming, user experience assurance, and visualized O&M — promoting WLAN as the preferred network access mode for enterprises.

The company's enterprise Wi-Fi 7 solution hit the market this year, with the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) subsequently selecting the Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 7 Network Solution for its "Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Network 2023" Award. The independent panel of industry experts, analysts and journalists evaluated the product based on innovation, customer experience, and ecological capabilities.

Among customers who have tested the solution and placed orders to deploy it include universities, public departments, and carriers. Shenzhen Talent Institute and Southwest Jiaotong University in China are two organizations which have already implemented it.

"To improve the Internet access experience for users and provide Wi-Fi services with higher speed, lower latency, and more secure connections, we launched an upgrade plan with Huawei's Wi-Fi 7 solution," said Mr. Chen Runlin, Information Department of Shenzhen Talent Institute. "By deploying the Wi-Fi 7 network, guests can enjoy double the bandwidth, with the number of concurrent terminals also doubling."

"The outstanding technical innovations demonstrated in the Wi-Fi 7 installation at Shenzhen Talent Institute can be scaled at other high-demanding enterprise locations worldwide through the company's global presence," added Mr. Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA.

Southwest Jiaotong University partnered Huawei to upgrade its campus-wide wireless network to support 10Gbit/s transmission speeds. The revamped network offers teachers and students high-speed and stable wireless Internet access throughout the campus, even in dense environments like large lecture halls and stadiums, said the University.

Promise of Wi-Fi 7

The Huawei AirEngine 8771-X1T AP features intelligent antenna tuning which is designed to support heavy-traffic services like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and extended reality (XR) remote collaboration applications. The specification includes 12T12R antennas which support up to 12 spatial streams (4 @ 320MHz + 4 @ 160MHz + 4 @ 40MHz), which can deliver a combined throughput of up to 18.67Gbit/s reports Huawei. In addition, the built-in dynamic-zoom smart antennas can enable wider coverage while optimizing WLAN access and throughput in densely populated network environments.

New spectrum management, coordination and transmission mechanisms are needed on the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz frequency bands to efficiently utilize available spectrum resources, says Huawei, supported by dynamic 5GHz and 6GHz band switching, and extended backhaul/ power infrastructure.

Further, coordinated scheduling between multiple APs in Wi-Fi 7 reduces interference between multiple Huawei APs and improves the utilization of air interface resources. Multi-AP coordination can then be implemented through various methods, including coordinated orthogonal frequency division multiple access (C-OFDMA).

Tolly lab tests prove performance

In a Wi-Fi 7 AP performance test by the independent Tolly lab, the 6GHz radio embedded in each Huawei AirEngine 8771-X1T AP was found to provide up to 4.33Gbit/s throughput for a single Wi-Fi 7 endpoint or terminal. This is four times the industry average.

Remarkably, the AP was also found to deliver ultra-low 2ms latency and overall wireless network throughput as high as 13.25Gbit/s – speeds that allow a gigabit sized file to be downloaded in just two seconds. This could prove a huge advantage to many organizations faced with growing demand for large file downloads and data backup to the cloud exacting increasingly high requirements on network speed for a single terminal.

The AirEngine Wi-Fi 7 AP is part of Huawei's 10Gbit/s wireless campus network solution, which also consists of the CloudEngine S5755-H series multi-GE switches, and has been designed to help accelerate digital upgrades of wireless, IoT, cloud, and video services.

"Huawei's new Wi-Fi 7 AP showcases the company's many innovations, including intelligent antenna tuning, dynamic 5GHz and 6GHz band switching, extended backhaul/power infrastructure, and IoT sensing capabilities to meet the growing traffic demands at many enterprise locations," said Mr. Rodrigues.

IoT-wireless synergies

The combination of the IoT and improved WLAN technology continues to provide organizations everywhere with the means to formulate new business models, improve user experience, and increase their operational and energy efficiencies.

Huawei estimates that Wi-Fi and IoT convergence have reduced total cost of ownership by up to 50 percent in various industrial implementations.

For example, AirEngine APs use unique Wi-Fi algorithms to enable speedy, stable, and smart wireless networks tailored to make transportation systems, such as urban rail, smart and energy-efficient, with flexible radio adjustment capabilities helping to reduce network interference and improve network performance. By combining IoT functionality into the Wi-Fi device itself, the owner also saves itself the complexity and cost of having to provide an independent IoT network to serve the same purpose.

Going forwards, Huawei intends to collaborate closely with its global customers to build 10Gbit/s wireless networks in multiple verticals, including education, healthcare, large enterprises and manufacturing. And the exploration of new Wi-Fi 7 use cases and continuous improvement of user experience, performance and security capabilities in its Wi-Fi 7 solution are very much at the heart of this plan.

Articled by The Register, click HERE to read the original article from Register website.

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