Aruba is making a big claim for the Wi-Fi space: the first vendor to bring enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E solutions to market.
In April 2020, the FCC adopted rules to make 1,200 megahertz in the 6 GHz band available for Wi-Fi, more than doubling the amount of spectrum available. It was needed because the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands couldn’t handle all the traffic. Wi-Fi 6E is the designation for Wi-Fi 6 devices operating in the 6 GHz band.
The Aruba 630 Series Access Point (AP) features:
- Tri-band coverage across 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz bands, with 3.9 Gbps maximum aggregate data rate
- Up to seven 160 MHz channels in the 6 GHz band to support low-latency, high bandwidth applications, like high-definition video and AR/VR
- Advanced security, including WPA3, to better protect passwords and data
“We have a long history of being a leader in Wi-Fi,” Steve Brar, senior director of product marketing for Aruba, told Fierce. “This just adds to the innovation and helps our customers get the latest and greatest technology.”
The products in this 630 Series are what you’d typically find in an indoor office or retail environment. “We wanted to start with the AP that will meet the majority of use cases in the indoor environment in the enterprise,” he said.
One of the key innovations is “ultra tri-band filtering,” which is unique to Aruba, he said. Because the upper 5 GHz and lower 6 GHz are separated by just 50 MHz, the potential for interference exists. With Aruba’s dynamic filtering, there’s less chance for interference and better spectrum utilization, according to Aruba.
How quickly will coffee shops upgrade? That’s hard to say. Healthcare, public venues and other institutions that are pinched during Covid might be feeling the need to upgrade sooner than others. For the general market, a lot will be driven by the normal refresh cycle and desire to future-proof their tech.
There still remains the question of how many end-user devices are supporting Wi-Fi 6E.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was released earlier this year with Wi-Fi 6E support, and the next iPhone is heavily rumored to support it. It’s just matter of time when more handsets support it; the good thing, Brar said, is the infrastructure will be in place for the devices that can take advantage of it.
650 Group expects Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption over the next couple of years, with more than 350 million devices entering the market in 2022 that support 6 GHz. More than 200% unit growth in Wi-Fi 6E enterprise APs is expected in 2022.