April 20, 2022
Wi-Fi has turned into an always-on communication — stretching to every corner of the globe. Today's Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and soon-to-come 7 provide low latency and a higher data capacity. In this blog post, Jeff Lin helps us understand today's Wi-Fi standards and features being executed across Asia – assisting engineers to design better and faster wireless connectivity applications.
Wi-Fi technology has been deployed globally for more than 20 years (since 1999). As in other parts of the world, Asia also has its certification bodies, standards bodies, and testing labs supporting the various Wi-Fi releases. Many supporting parties include chipset vendors, RF component vendors, OEMs, ODMs and test labs agreed.
In Asia, IEEE is an important institute helping to create standards and updates, and defining the technical specifications like networking protocols, modulations, schemes, etc. The Wi-Fi Alliance is also a key influencer for Wi-Fi. It cooperates with all governmental and commercial parties, including semiconductor vendors, test equipment providers, network operators, and device providers. However, in Asia, it is important to note that the Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the specifications; those are the responsibility of the IEEE. However, the Wi-Fi Alliance develops testing plans, service, and certification programs to make certain all Wi-Fi products meet IEEE's standard and specification requirements. It also identifies and promotes new use cases for Wi-Fi.
It is also important to note that Asia contains many countries, making standards and regulations management complicated compared to the United States (US) and European Union (EU). Here is the list of the major regulations and spectrum management organizations in Asia:
As mentioned above, Asia contains many countries. Each country has its own Wi-Fi frequency band, power level, and regulation rollout plan. For example, although most Asian countries follow the power level defined by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulation, some do not because their Wi-Fi band is closely aligned to military, governmental, or educational wireless services. These varying alignments mean power level requirements must be adjusted to accommodate each country.
At this time, Wi-Fi 6E is being deployed in Asia like other areas of the world. Product shipments started back in 2021 for Wi-Fi 6E. The Wi-Fi 6E frequency expansion (5925 MHz – 7125 MHz) brings more implementation complexity and challenges in Asia because of the many individual country regulations it must adhere to.
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The FCC in the US and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) in the EU are two major global regulatory authorities. In Asia, most countries follow either the FCC or ETSI regulations but not all. Below is a high-level comparison of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi limits in major countries of Asia.
|2.400-2.4835 GHz||30dBm (1W)||30dBm (1W)||22.14dBm (Directional Antenna)||20dBm (if Ant Gain < 10dBi) 27dBm (if Ant Gain >= 10dBi)||23dBm (200mW) (ETSI EN 301 893) (FCC Part15 $15.407 and ANSI C63 10-2013)||36dBm (4W) (ETSI EN 300 328)|
|5.150-5.250 GHz||30dBm (1W)||30dBm (1W)||W52: 10mW/MHz (@20MHz)||23dBm (200mW)||23dBm (200mW) (ETSI EN 301 893)|
|5.250-5.350 GHz||23dBm (200mW)||23dBm (200mW)||W53: 10mW/MHz w/ TPC (@20MHz) W53: 5mW/MHz w/o TPC (@20MHz)||23dBm (w/ TPC) 20dBm (w/o TPC)||23dBm (200mW) (ETSI EN 301 893)|
|5.150-5.350 GHz||23dBm (200mW) (ETSI EN 301 893)(FCC Part15 $15.407 and ANSI C63 10-2013)|
|5.470-5.600 GHz||30dBm (1W) (ESTI EN 301 893)|
|5.470-5.725 GHz||23dBm (200mW)||23dBm (200mW)||W56: 50mW/MHz w/ TPC (@20MHz) W56: 25mW/MHz w/o TPC (@20MHz)||30dBm (1W) (ETSI EN 301 893)(FCC Part15 $15.407 and ANSI C63 10-2013)|
|5.650-5.725 GHz||30dBm (1W) (ESTI EN 301 893)|
|5.725-5.850 GHz||30dBm (1W)||30dBm (1W)||33dBm (2W)||30dBm (1W) (ETSI EN 302 502) (FCC Part15 $15.247/$15.407 and ANSI C63 10-2013)|
|Test parameter||FCC (E.I.R.P)||FCC (E.I.R.P)||MIC (Power Density)||SRRS (E.I.R.P)||FCC or CE (E.I.R.P)||FCC or CE (E.I.R.P)|
Although the Wi-Fi regulations in Asia are a bit complicated compared to the US and EU regions, it does not affect Qorvo's product design strategy. Qorvo's Wi-Fi product portfolio meets all the major chipset vendor reference design requirements, including Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek, MaxLinear, etc. All our Wi-Fi components are globally compliant.
The greatest hurdle for Wi-Fi in this era is keeping up with new applications like Facebook's Metaverse – a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media to create spaces for interaction mimicking the real world. These types of applications challenge current and past network products like Wi-Fi gateways because of the requirement for faster, low latency, high reliable connections to operate properly. Today, Wi-Fi 6 is good enough for most applications like data communications, 4K video-on-demand, gaming, and video conferencing – as it allows for more throughput and capacity using the 6 GHz realm. Wi-Fi 6 also provides tri-band functionality, but to accommodate the experiences required for Metaverse, Wi-Fi 7 with 4096QAM modulation, 320 MHz channel bandwidth, and multi-link operation will be necessary.
Globally, applications like Metaverse are surfacing into the mainstream each year, from Europe, Asia, and America – and many of them will use VR and AR, requiring more capacity, throughput, and reliability. This means manufacturers like Qorvo will continue to need to respond by developing more innovative product to meet the requirements.
The Wi-Fi Alliance promotes Wi-Fi worldwide. However, each country's government regulates and authorizes the activities in their area. Many certification bodies and regulatory agencies are located in Asia, mainly because the global distribution of product supply chain exists there.
The Wi-Fi Alliance conducts regular meetings with the Commissions of Asia, which companies like Qorvo actively participate in. During these meetings, members of the Alliance provide their views to help guide and decide on the best solution. At times, there are recommendations for Wi-Fi Alliance members like Qorvo to write responses to actions discussed during these meetings.
Like in other parts of the world, Wi-Fi is one of the most popular wireless communications technologies in Asia. Over the past 20 years, Wi-Fi's throughput increased ~900 times (802.11b - 11Mbps to W-Fi 6 – 10Gbps), and new Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 are deploying.
|IEEE 802.11 Protocol||Release Date||Frequency Band(s)||Bandwidth||Maximum Throughput|
|802.11 - 1997||1997||2.4 GHz||22||2 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 1||1999||2.4 GHz||22||11 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 2||1999||5 GHz||20||54 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 3||2003||2.4 GHz||20||54 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 4||2009||2.4/5 GHz||20/40||600 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 5||2013||2.4/5 GHz||20/40/80/160||6.8 Gbps|
|Wi-Fi 6||2019||2.4/5 GHz||20/40/80/160||10 Gbps|
|Wi-Fi 6E||2021||2.4/5/6 GHz||20/40/80/160||>10 Gbps|
According to IDC, they estimate Wi-Fi Alliance statistics, more than 3.5 billion Wi-Fi 6 devices will ship in 2022 and are projecting 5.2 billion Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E products shipments in 2025 (of the 5.2 billion, 60% are Wi-Fi 6 and 40% are Wi-Fi 6E). It's no doubt Asia is a large portion of the global Wi-Fi market growth and fosters expansions of new generations like Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7.
Wi-Fi has been evolving rapidly since 2019. Wi-Fi 6E has been deployed in the market since 2021, and some Wi-Fi manufacturing companies are already developing products to support Wi-Fi 7 in 2022. For the past few Wi-Fi standard updates, there has been a push to create product before the release of the standard to take advantage of the new capabilities – this has been no different for Wi-Fi 6, 6E and now 7. Ultimately, this is because the consumers require more data capacity, reliability, and connectivity. To meet consumer needs, Qorvo continues to work with manufacturers, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and regulatory bodies to bring next-generation products to fruition in a timely fashion.
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