Riding on the tide of 5G, Wi-Fi is also upgrading to bring faster internet connections and allowing more devices to share the router without sacrificing connection speed.
Consumer electronics are building systems compatible with Wi-Fi 6 into their products, including Apple and Samsung’s new range of products since last year. And chip manufacturers are introducing chipsets compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E to electronic devices.
Taiwan-based RF IC firm RichWave that produces Wi-Fi front-end modules(FEM) is seeing strong growth momentum especially with the next-gen Wi-Fi 6E products moving into shipments. RichWave has entered the supply chain of Vodafone, and Indian mobile network provider, Reliance Communications(RCOM), and is now claiming large market shares.
What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi, the abbreviation of wireless fidelity, works just like any other wireless product using radio frequencies. It transmits and receives signals in the gigahertz range. Wi-Fi frequencies that are currently widely available are 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. In order to receive these signals, the radio receiver must be tuned to the same frequency, including the router as well as the devices.
Wi-Fi 6 entering the scheme
According to the Verge, Wi-Fi 6 does not bring significant identifiable improvements to the internet speed but rather maintains the connection speed even under busier networks.
While Wi-Fi 6 stays in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency bands, Wi-Fi 6E is set to operate on a different swathe of the frequency band.
The Wi-Fi Alliance simplified the Wi-Fi naming scheme in terms of different generations. Wi-Fi 6 is originally referred to as 802.11ax and Wi-Fi 5 as 802.11ac.
Along came Wi-Fi 6E
The US Federal Communications Commission(FCC) has opened the 6 GHz spectrum for unlicensed Wi-Fi use, other countries such as the UK, Europe, South Korea have followed suit. Taiwan, Japan, and Canada are also quickly progressing towards permitting 6 GHz unlicensed usage.
Chip manufacturers have been waiting for the new trend to bloom – Qualcomm, Intel, and Broadcom have already been making chips that are compatible with the new Wi-Fi 6E standards.
Quantenna, Broadcom, and Qualcomm have verified RichWave’s Wi-Fi 6 FEM products and are subsequently being adopted by global telecom providers including Vodafone and Indian Reliance Communications, pushing the RF IC firm to claim one of the world’s top three in terms of market shares.
Although consumer devices that adopt Wi-Fi 6E are currently on a smaller scale, industry watchers believe demands and users will grow next year.
According to an anonymous source, RichWave’s RF FEM made for Wi-Fi 6E is slated to enter volume production by the second half of 2021.