CommScope talks Wi-Fi 6 for venues and structured cabling needs that come with it

SAN FRANCISCO-Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 6 Day featured a number of the chip manufacturer’s critical partners and customers, and each provided their own take on the current Wi-Fi ecosystem. Following the event, RCR Wireless News caught up with Bart Giordano SVP, Wireless Solutions, Ruckus Networks, which was acquired by CommScope last November, to discuss CommScope’s position in the industry, as well as Giordano’s thoughts on the future of Wi-Fi. 

Ruckus Networks, nopart of a CommScope, has a track record for deploying Wi-Fi in extremely challenging venues that have incredible capacity requirements, such as stadia and arenas. “Over the last several years, the requirements in that type of venue have changed precipitously,” Giordano said. “Wi-Fi used to be a desirable amenity, but now it is expected […] and it impacts the impression that guests and users have on that venue.  

In fact, Giordano estimates that in the past few years, the expectation of the percentage of people who would be trying to connect to the network at such a venue has increased from just 10% to 50%.

Wi-Fi 6, however, has a number of features that make it the perfect technology for handling the ever-increasing strain being put on networks. “Even as more devices are coming to the network and the use case of those devices is becoming more taxing on the network, we are able to maintain a consistent and richer user experience [with Wi-Fi 6].” 

When it was acquired by CommScope, Ruckus brought with its multi-gigabit switching and its Wi-Fi technology, which when combined with CommScope’s structured cabling, provides a complete end-to-end network solution. “This is the first time in my career that a technology transition in the Wi-Fi space is precipitating the technology transition not only to the access layer for switching, but it also demands a refresh of the physical infrastructure,” Giordano said. “Now, when we go into a venue, we have a whole ecosystem to offer. That’s the thesis behind the acquisition.” 

One feature of Wi-Fi 6 that Giordano felt was slightly overlooked at the event is “target wake time” (TWT), which can tell the device exactly when to put its Wi-Fi radio to sleep and exactly when to wake it up to receive the next transmission as long as the device is connected to the Wi-Fi access point, conserving power, and resulting in longer battery life. “When you have more efficient protocols for operating on the network, devices get on and off the network quicker, and there is a better coordination of when a device should wake up and listen,” he explained.  

He believes that IoT devices will operate on Wi-Fi 6 networks more efficiently and that this will bring a new wave of IoT devices. “Today, the IoT landscape is very fragmented,” he said. If you want to build an IoT network you have to decide to I want use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or what have you. And this fragmentation is really holding back the IoT market.”  

According to Giordano, the battery efficiency offered by TWT will allow the consolidation of services onto a single Wi-Fi or IP infrastructure, thus, reducing some of that IoT fragmentation. 

The last development in Wi-Fi Giordano discussed is new spectrum. The FCC is taking steps to allocate more spectrum for Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz band, which many believe will lead to drastic changes in the industry. “We’ve been constrained by the fact that we have been leveraging 2.4 and 5 GHz and maintaining backward capability with very inefficient and early Wi-Fi protocols,” Giordano stated. “But when you go to the new spectrum, you will leave all that baggage behind, and I think we’ll see some radical changes in the types of applications and the reliability and the robustness of the connected experience because we’ll have clean, fresh spectrum to operate in.”  

“That will take us through the next four or five years and then we’ll be talking about the next thing,” he concluded.  

The post With Ruckus in the fold, CommScope looks to Wi-Fi 6 future appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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