With the expected commercial availability of wi-fi 6E-enabled equipment and devices by the end of this year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has taken a decision to allocate 500 MHz (megahertz) of spectrum in the 6 GHz (Gigahertz) band for wi-fi use to ensure faster connectivity speeds that take advantage of the new standard.
The latest wi-fi 6E technology supports the usage of wider wi-fi channels (such as 160-MHz channels), which is two to eight times wider than the 20-MHz to 80-MHz channels in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands that are currently used for wi-fi connectivity.
The wider 160-MHz channels can deliver faster theoretical maximum speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps, doubling the current maximum speeds of up to 4.8 Gbps, and can support lower latency use cases.
IMDA said the lower segment of the 6 GHz band (that is 5,925 – 6,425 MHz) provides an additional 500 MHz of contiguous spectrum that has been globally identified as suitable for wi-fi use.
The regulatory authority said more spectrum in the 6 GHz bands with wider channels will ease increasing contention over wi-fi and maintain a good user experience as data-intensive applications get more pervasive with the new wi-fi standard.
The wi-fi 6E standard meets the increasing demand for bandwidth-intensive and low-latency use cases
Typical use cases would include more deployment of interconnected devices and robots with autonomous mobility, application of generative artificial intelligence (AI) with higher data transfers, and adoption of augmented or virtual reality with more immersive online experiences involving multiple parties.
For enterprises, IMDA expects the enhanced wi-fi connectivity will facilitate “greater digital innovation to bring about higher efficiency and productivity”.
These include use cases in augmented/virtual reality at scale for larger-group immersive experiences in areas such as education and workplace training.
Improved wi-fi connectivity can also facilitate Industry 4.0 innovations, such as increased automation through robotics and high-definition video monitoring, IMDA said.
The regulatory authority added that wi-fi 6E will enable a seamless experience as end-users transition between the different connectivity options in Singapore
IMDA said the new wi-fi standard and the allocated frequency will complement Singapore’s Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN) and 5G mobile networks.
In a statement, IMDA said: “While NBN provides high-speed fibre broadband connectivity to households and businesses, wi-fi is typically the key connectivity medium that takes over from fibre broadband to provide in-unit or in-building wireless connectivity for end-user devices in homes and offices.”
The new wi-fi 6E’s theoretical maximum speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps are on par with the potential 10 Gbps speeds offered by the next-generation technology upgrade for NBN.
“Without wi-fi 6E, end-users will not be able to get the full experience and benefit that the next-generation NBN technology would bring,” IMDA said.