According to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the Mettis Aerospace factory located in the U.K. has successfully completed the first round of testing for WiFi 6, including infrastructure and services.
This phase one test was developed to see how the latest initialization of WiFi will work, specifically to analyze whether it will be able to handle the onslaught of IoT devices coming to the market. Additionally, developers need to know whether WiFi 6 will be able to handle IoT devices in an environment crowded with other WiFi and numerous IoT devices at once.
This trial stands as a first of its kind and the WBA saw it as an important first step in the development program.
Technically, WiFi 6 is already on the market inside some of the devices you probably use every day: mobile phones, the latest wireless routers and other connected devices. You may also know WiFi 6, 802.11ax, the follow up to 802.11ac.
What’s new with WiFi 6?
- Faster speeds
- Lower latency
- Better performance when there are multiple devices on the same network
- This makes it a great option for factory and/or office settings where there may be numerous IoT devices and other equipment that require a ton of bandwidth.
Why are these standards important?
We live in an interconnected world. It seems that practically everything has a WiFi enable-able counterpart these days. Tablets, smartphones, webcams and laptops (just to name a few) all depend on a decent WiFi signal to transmit data.
WiFi 6 testing
The testing took place at Mettis Aerospace facility, located in the West Midlands in the U.K. from October 2019 to December 2019. The WBA reported that the testing became challenging. In order to meet the specifications asked of it, WiFi 6 had to allow for total connectivity for both machines and equipment that have both control systems and onboard centralized monitoring.
Testers expected the technology to respond with real-time, high-bandwidth networking. Additionally, WiFi 6 needed to do this with low latency while prioritizing the movement of data across a large factory that was full of noise, interference and other impediments to WiFi.
In the past, other WiFi testing done at the Mettis factory failed. When WiFi 4 was in the testing phase, it failed simply using 2 access points and a laptop. They were only able to achieve intermittent connectivity at the time, which wasn’t enough power to result in a stable WiFi network.
The results of the testing showed that WiFi 6 was capable of generating speeds upwards of 700 Mbps over an 80 MHz channel. Additionally, both video streaming and calling showed low latency (below 6ms).
WiFi 6 testing methods
To ensure that WiFi 6 was capable of meeting the required standards, testers performed the following tests:
- Uploading very large video files via WiFi
- 4k YouTube streaming
- Performing on a laptop featuring an Intel AX200 chip
- Augment reality testing on machinery equipped with WiFi 6 chipsets
- Streaming via a webcam mounted on machinery in 4k
- Checks for roaming, persistent connectivity and latency on smartphones using WiFi video calling
So far, all testing for WiFi 6 has been favorable. Developers, of course, won’t stop there. As consumers demand more powerful connections, look for new developments in WiFi in the near future.