GigaOm Radar for Wi-Fi 6/6E Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Deployment and Operations Models
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

With fiber being rolled out across many cities worldwide, Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the bottleneck for delivering the quality of experience (QoE) users demand. In addition, the exponential increase of internet of things (IoT) and industrial IoT (IIoT) sensors supporting new use cases and the proliferation of connected devices translate to a growing volume of users dependent on fast, reliable wireless connectivity for almost every facet of their daily lives.

Designed to relieve network congestion, improve client density, and reduce client power consumption, Wi-Fi 6 offers lower latency, higher throughput, and faster speeds with a maximum theoretical throughput of 9.6 Gbps across multiple channels, compared to Wi-Fi 5’s 3.5 Gbps. In addition, Wi-Fi 6E takes things up a notch, using the 6 GHz bandwidth to further ease network congestion in high-density areas while maintaining Wi-Fi 6 throughput.

Representing features and capabilities widely adopted and well implemented in the industry, the following table stakes are the minimum required for a Wi-Fi 6/6E solution to be included in the GigaOm Radar for Wi-Fi 6/6E:

  • IEEE 802.11ax specification: Products must meet the IEEE 802.11ax specification. Officially marketed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as Wi-Fi 6 (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and Wi-Fi 6E (6 GHz), IEEE 802.11ax is an IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks (WLANs) and the successor of 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). It is designed to operate in unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz bands (between 1 and 7.125 GHz) and the much wider 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz in the US).
  • Wi-Fi alliance certification: Products must be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED is an internationally recognized seal indicating that products have met industry-agreed-upon standards for interoperability, security, and application-specific protocols. In addition, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED means that a product has undergone various tests to validate interoperability with other Wi-Fi CERTIFIED equipment operating in the same frequency band.
  • High-density deployments: Products must support commercial, enterprise, or industrial high-density deployments. Leveraging Wi-Fi 6/6E multiuser scheduling and BSS coloring, enterprises and service providers deploy Wi-Fi in high-density areas—including college campuses, factories, office buildings, shopping malls, connected cities, stadiums, and transport hubs—to support more devices while delivering an improved user experience.

Once the table stakes are met, each Wi-Fi 6/6E is scored on key criteria, evaluation metrics, and specific Wi-Fi 6/6E capabilities. Key criteria are the basis on which organizations decide which solutions to adopt for their particular needs, while evaluation metrics determine the impact that the solution may have on the organization. Wi-Fi 6/6E capabilities determine how well each vendor’s portfolio meets the IEEE 802.11ax specification and implements additional hardware and software features.

Moreover, it should be noted that the Wi-Fi 6/6E vendor landscape is built primarily on acquisitions, joint ventures, or spinoffs, with products wholly or partially integrated into the acquiring vendor’s portfolio.

This GigaOm Radar for Wi-Fi 6/6E report provides an overview of notable Wi-Fi 6/6E vendors and their available offerings. The corresponding GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating Wi-Fi 6/6E,” outlines critical criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting a Wi-Fi 6/6E solution. Together, these reports offer essential insights for Wi-Fi initiatives, helping decision-makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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