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How Wi-Fi 6 will usher in a new era of connectivity

By Alan Hsu, General Manager, Intelligent Connectivity Business Unit, MediaTek

As people around the world are sheltering at home, the internet is serving as a lifeline to keep people connected virtually. Whether consumers are streaming their favorite shows, working remotely, taking online classes, or gaming with friends, they are relying on their devices to stay connected to the outside world.

MediaTek is providing fast and reliable connectivity with our cutting-edge Wi-Fi solutions so consumers can do more and share more. In fact, MediaTek is the No. 1 Wi-Fi supplier across broadband, retail routers, consumer electronics devices and gaming. We power the brands you love. To keep up with today’s computing requirements, our newest chipsets include Wi-Fi 6 support for an even better connectivity experience.

Why the new Wi-Fi 6 standard is needed

Bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow, thanks in part to the surging popularity of streaming services and the proliferation of connected devices. To keep up, the industry needed a new iteration of the Wi-Fi standard and created Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 has a number of advantages over the previous generation of Wi-Fi with faster speeds, better spectral efficiency, and lower latency. Wi-Fi 6 also supports multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) technologies, which are both instrumental for providing reliable connectivity to multiple devices in a network. That’s becoming increasingly important as consumers bring more smart devices into their homes.

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Opening up the 6GHz band will help to further address growing bandwidth requirements. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently adopted new rules to increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by nearly a factor of five, and other countries are considering similar moves. Devices with Wi-Fi 6E support will be able to take advantage of the additional spectrum to deliver even faster connectivity.

What Wi-Fi 6 solutions MediaTek offers

Right now we’re focusing on bringing the industry advanced Wi-Fi 6 solutions to high-growth markets: retail routers, the broadband carrier channel, consumer electronics (CE), gaming, the Internet of Things, and of course, to mobile and the smartphone business. Our Wi-Fi 6 chipsets support technologies like EasyMesh, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA for reliable connectivity even when multiple devices are sharing a network.

Powering home, commercial and enterprise routers from companies like D-Link and TP-Link, MediaTek’s MT7915 Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5 combo chipset packs a number of industry firsts, including integrating a dedicated RF receiver with zero-wait dynamic frequency selection (DFS) channel monitoring for more reliable connectivity. Our Dimensity 1000, a 5G integrated system on chip (SoC), also has built-in Wi-Fi 6 support. This chip is an example of how Wi-Fi 6 and 5G together can deliver end-to-end connectivity for smartphones, supporting the fastest and most efficient connectivity whether users are at home or on-the-go.

Additionally, MediaTek and Samsung recently announced the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 8K TV, which is equipped with a custom MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 chipset. Combining premium 8K imaging and high-speed connectivity, this incredible new smart TV will help bring entertainment experiences to the next level.

The potential of Wi-Fi 6 for smart TVs

As TVs increasingly become the hub of the smart home, users rely on their TV as both an entertainment center and an easy interface to control smart home gadgets. Beyond watching their favorite shows and movies, consumers are using smart TVs to communicate with their loved ones through video chats, connect to fitness apps to take workout classes at home, and much more. Users can also control their various smart home devices right from their TV, such as dimming the lights before a movie or turning on their security system. To support these diverse applications, having a fast and lag-free connection is essential for any smart TV.

As the demand for Wi-Fi 6 continues to surge in the smart TV industry and beyond, we look forward to continuing to drive this new era of connectivity with our innovative solutions.

Wi-Fi 6 for mobile

For mobile devices, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 go hand-in-hand to bring consumers seamless connectivity. 5G networks are ideal for outdoor connectivity while Wi-Fi 6 will dominate indoor environments. Together, integrated 5G and Wi-Fi 6 solutions give users the same level of connectivity no matter where they’re using their device. Just imagine being able to download a movie in seconds right from your smartphone. Or playing your favorite game like Fortnite or PUBG with blazing-fast connectivity that doesn’t run down your smartphone battery too fast.

How Wi-Fi 6 will improve the consumer experience

There are three main benefits consumers will experience with Wi-Fi 6: increased speeds, support for more devices at one time, and better uplink performance.

Faster speeds provide a better experience whether users are binging the latest show on Netflix, video chatting with family, or streaming their Spotify playlists. Having a Wi-Fi connection that can support multiple devices is becoming increasingly important as consumers bring more smart devices into their homes. And in the commercial sector, such as airports, stadiums, and hotels, it is critical to have Wi-Fi setups that can support many people connecting to a network at the same time. Finally, better uplink performance is essential for our app-based world where we’re sharing content all the time. That’s because apps are bi-directional in traffic, meaning you receive data packets (i.e. downlink) from the internet as well as respond (i.e. uplink) in the form of posting images, uploading voice messages, uploading videos, among others.