Industry-Leading AirEngine Wi-Fi 6: A New Engine for Enterprise Digital Transformation


By Dr. Li Xing, President of Huawei Datacom Product Line Campus Network, and Lin Jian, Senior Marketing Manager of Huawei Datacom Product Line Campus Network.

Huawei recently released ten new AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 products designed to help enterprises step into the fully-wireless campus era. These new products enable enterprises to build fully connected, fully wireless campus networks with unprecedentedly high levels of experience for offices, production lines, and services, effectively accelerating digital transformation.

Wi-Fi 6: A game changer for enterprise campus networks

Throughout its history of over 20 years, Wi-Fi’s development has been driven by the pursuit for ever-higher bandwidth. There have been major upgrades to Wi-Fi about every four to five years, with bandwidth increasing each time. The latest standard — Wi-Fi 6 — is a game changer for enterprises. By introducing new technologies — such as uplink/downlink (UL/DL) 8 x 8 Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), and 1024-state Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (1024-QAM) — Wi-Fi 6 delivers a four-fold increase in throughput and user access capacity, while reducing latency by half compared with Wi-Fi 5. With these vastly improved capabilities, Wi-Fi 6 opens up opportunities for enterprises to replace wired networks with wireless ones. Going wireless frees employees from the constraints of cables, allowing them to work and communicate anytime, anywhere. All-wireless also accelerates the sharing of innovative ideas, improves production and operational efficiency, and strengthens overall competitiveness.

However, pursuing a fully wireless campus in the Wi-Fi 6 era requires more than just high bandwidth and large capacity. There is also a need for stable, continuous signal coverage, low-latency service assurance, and lossless roaming to deliver fiber-like speeds and performance that is on a par with wired networks.

Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 is a viable solution that meets all the Wi-Fi network expectations of enterprises. So, what differentiates Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 from other Wi-Fi 6 products?

16 spatial streams, 10.75 Gbit/s speeds, twice the industry average throughput

Throughput is the biggest difference between Wi-Fi 6 and previous Wi-Fi generations, but not all Wi-Fi 6 products can deliver ultra-high throughput. The number of spatial streams and the effective operating frequency bandwidth are the key factors that determine throughput. Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 has the industry’s largest number of spatial streams —16 — and supports the industry’s widest 160 MHz channels on 5 GHz, delivering air-interface throughput of up to 10.75 Gbit/s, twice that of the industry standard Wi-Fi 6. For standard 2*2 Wi-Fi 6 terminals that support 160 MHz, it’s easy to reach 1.4 Gbit/s+ performance.

Built-in Smart Antennas at dual bands ensure stable network coverage without blind spots

The Wi-Fi 6 standard delivers a higher link setup speed than previous Wi-Fi generations. While all Wi-Fi products cannot work without radios and antennas, these technologies are irrelevant to the Wi-Fi standard. However, the design and implementation of radios and antennas are both key indicators of a vendor’s technical expertise and product performance.

With 30 years of technical experience in the wireless field, Huawei's innovations lead the industry. AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 APs feature 16 smart antennas — the highest figure in the industry — and a unique dual-band dual-polarized co-planar antenna design, with Artificial Magnetic Conductor (AMC) antenna materials. Additionally, Smart Antennas are supported on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz without any increase in the physical size of the AP necessary. Performance is further enhanced by Huawei’s unique four-element electronic switchgear and dynamic coverage direction adjustment algorithms, as well as beamforming technology. With all these features, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 APs enable signals to move with users, double signal strength at the same location, and increase coverage distance by 20%.

Unique SmartRadio lossless roaming technology ensures stable roaming with zero packet loss

Roaming on a Wi-Fi network is different from roaming on a cellular mobile network, because roaming is initiated by a terminal (sometimes referred to as a Station or STA). Specifically, the terminal usually triggers roaming by detecting an idle channel and the signal quality based on a carrier sense technology called Clear Channel Assessment (CCA). As a result, Wi-Fi terminals always scan for an idle channel before roaming, which takes up more than 80% of the handover time. A long roaming handover time causes an increase in the packet loss rate, which, in turn, adversely impacts services sensitive to in-roaming packet loss, such as voice and production network instruction delivery.

Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 can be tailored to customers' service requirements and uses roaming processing algorithms and the practices of cellular mobile networks. Specifically, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 APs identify and notify terminals of available idle channels before roaming. In this way, terminals do not need to scan all channels during roaming, greatly reducing the roaming handover time. When Huawei devices (running EMUI 10.0 or later) are used, the roaming handover time is reduced to as low as 10 ms, ensuring no interruptions for mobile voice calls. In addition, Huawei has set up a “connectivity” alliance with partners, where multiple types of mobile terminals deliver optimal mobile experiences with low roaming handover latency and uninterrupted services.

When it comes to Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) terminals used in industrial production, Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 uses a device-pipe synergy mechanism to proactively steer AGV roaming and back-up service data during roaming handovers. The data is then sent back to the AGVs after successful roaming handovers, eliminating packet loss. Such a design ensures the stable running of AGVs without interruption, improving efficiency by more than 40%.

Unique SmartRadio Dynamic Turbo technology delivers 10 ms ultra-low latency for application experience assurance, improving stability for applications

Wi-Fi 6 uses OFDMA technology to concurrently transmit the different services of different users over more subcarriers. This approach greatly reduces transmission latency, for a vastly superior experience. However, there are no technical specifications for the classification of different services, and subcarrier allocation is random. Consequently, some key users and latency-sensitive services still encounter delayed data transmission issues, caused by untimely scheduling or insufficient subcarrier allocation, affecting the service experience. For example, high latency may cause users to feel dizzy after prolonged use of real-time interactive services such as wireless Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

To resolve this issue, Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 looks beyond OFDMA technology. For example, a hardware-based multi-queue mechanism efficiently groups users, while air-interface slicing technology slices wireless air interface resources based on service requirements. With these innovations, Hierarchical QoS (HQoS) assurance for data forwarding and scheduling as well as air-interface resource scheduling is achieved, slashing the latency for key services to as low as 10 ms — 50% lower than that of the Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Wi-Fi 6 has arrived, and Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 is an ideal choice to help build a next-generation Wi-Fi network.

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 transforms enterprise offices, improves collaboration and communication efficiency, and accelerates enterprise innovations

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 uses industry-leading Smart Antenna technology to enable wireless signals to move with users. At the edge of a Wi-Fi network, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 automatically enhances signals and suppresses interference based on user locations, improving user experience.

In dense environments, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 flexibly adjusts the coverage direction, based on the number of access terminals, to ensure consistent signal quality for users. Unique to Huawei, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 is the first solution in the industry to provide Continuous Self-Organizing Network (CSON) capabilities, which ensures 100 Mbit/s network performance everywhere, even in high-value cases (such as roaming and at the network edge). As such, applications on wireless networks are as stable as those on wired networks, and benefit from speeds comparable to optical fiber networks. In this way, enterprises can move a step closer to realizing all-wireless campus networks.

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 has the power to transform how enterprises work. Traditional office cubicles that rely on phones and emails for communication can be transformed, with new ways to communicate and collaborate coming to the fore, including real-time mobile HD videos and wireless multi-screen interactions in meetings, improving work efficiency and driving innovation.

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 transforms the teaching experience and improves students' interest and learning outcomes.

According to joint research from Stanford University and a Danish university, students' learning outcomes are improved by 76% when wireless VR and AR are introduced to the curriculum. And through the ability to create virtual anatomy labs, wireless VR and AR is revolutionizing the medical teaching field. For instance, training for medical professionals is often hindered by the limited number of donated bodies, which cannot be reused. Additionally, the traditional methods of teaching anatomy — based on 2D content, where students have to rely on their imagination for graphs and organ structures — have become dated. None of these problems exist in virtual anatomy labs.

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 delivers a wireless throughput of over 10 Gbit/s, fully meeting the requirements for various bandwidth-hungry services. By introducing one-of-a-kind Software-Defined Radio (SDR) technology, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 allows 50% more concurrent users without compromising bandwidth per terminal. On top of that, unique SmartRadio Dynamic Turbo technology reduces the latency for the wireless AR and VR services of multiple users to as low as 10 ms — just half the industry average — so users do not feel dizzy, even after prolonged use. By deploying VR and AR in classrooms, students can have a more immersive learning experience, enriching teacher-student interactions, and inspiring greater engagement in learning.

AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 transforms production and manufacturing for higher operational efficiency

Continuous and stable running of the production line is paramount in production and manufacturing scenarios. AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 uses industry-unique SmartRadio lossless roaming technology to ensure production services are uninterrupted. For example, AGVs operate consistently, 24/7, even in large-scale high-speed scenarios such as material feeding in logistics and production lines.

With a throughput of over 10 Gbit/s, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 enables employees to cost-effectively participate in simulation training sessions, online and in real-time, through VR. Elsewhere, technicians can make repairs at any time through AR, calling on remote experts to provide guidance in real-time when needed, making repairs faster, more accurate, and more efficient. With the help of AirEngine Wi-Fi 6, production components can be detected by using ultra-HD cameras in real-time, improving efficiency and accuracy rates by dozens of times.

With all these capabilities, industrial production is becoming less labor-intensive as automation increases. Meanwhile, the production process is transforming from one characterized by rigidity, to one with flexibility and resilience. These changes greatly reduce production costs, while doubling efficiency and enhancing competitiveness.

Act today for a more productive tomorrow

Wi-Fi 6 is bringing substantial changes to the ongoing digital transformation of enterprises. Unlike previous Wi-Fi generations, Wi-Fi 6 delivers unprecedented levels of throughput and capacity, delivering an optimal user experience and superb service stability.

Huawei is a widely recognized leader in, and contributor to, the standardization of Wi-Fi 6. Because of its dedication to Wi-Fi 6 throughout 2019, Huawei has maintained a leading position in the global Wi-Fi 6 market.

By integrating Huawei’s unique 5G technologies into Wi-Fi 6 products, AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 APs are truly first-of-their-kind, supporting 16 spatial streams and delivering 10.75 Gbit/s throughput. Additionally, industry-leading Smart Antennas, algorithms, application acceleration, lossless roaming, and continuous networking technologies make Wi-Fi network coverage, experience, and roaming more stable than ever before, achieving a 100 Mbit/s experience for every user, regardless of their location, and paving the way for enterprises to build fully wireless campus networks.

High-quality fully wireless campus networks built using Wi-Fi 6 can truly help enterprises accelerate digital transformation in their offices, production lines, and services, bringing improved efficiency and experience. In the future, Huawei will continue to carry out joint innovations with customers and capitalize on Wi-Fi 6 upgrade opportunities, to build fully connected, intent-driven campus networks with AirEngine Wi-Fi 6. With this network, enterprises can reduce operating costs, improve competitiveness, and enter the fully wireless campus era.