Self-optimizing network intelligence in the era of Wi-Fi 6

Technology

Self-optimizing network intelligence in the era of Wi-Fi 6

Technology

Introduction

Wi-Fi 6, the latest generation of Wi-Fi connectivity, can offer a first to market advantage for early adopter service providers. Designed to maximize efficiency in response to the massive number of connected devices in use today, it can bring a significant improvement in crowded networks and deliver the throughput and user experience that broadband customers demand. However, as connected homes represent a mix of legacy and new devices, managing this reality is one of the greatest challenges service providers may face to fully harness the benefits of this technology. 

Managing complexity in connected homes 

There are 20 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices in the world today. Wi-Fi technologies are progressing with new standards being adopted to support evolving uses and consumer expectations.  However, it typically takes anywhere up to 5-6 years for a new Wi-Fi standard to penetrate even 50% of the installed base, because the installed base is so big.

Penetration for Wi-Fi 6 devices reached about 12% in our deployments in the 15 months¹ since the standard launched. In fact, we are still seeing 47% of devices are Wi-Fi 5 and 40% are using Wi-Fi 4¹! Wi-Fi 4 is 15 years old and yet it still represents 40% of the installed base¹. As a result, we not only have a growing number of the latest Wi-Fi 6 client devices connected to Wi-Fi 6 access points but we also observe a greater range of different generations of devices that are simultaneously in use. 

In the current environment, Wi-Fi 6 devices must share the same 5 GHz band with all the other Wi-Fi devices. Client devices are not only getting smarter, but they are also very selfish. They would like to connect to the fastest available radio in the network, not considering the overall impact on the network performance. So, when very old and slow Wi-Fi devices connect to your latest Wi-Fi 6 radio, sucking all the available “airtime”, it may bring the entire network performance down.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – traffic control in the home

Each network and topology are unique and may require custom optimizations to provide the best experience. And that’s where see AI and machine learning come into play; to provide some kind of “traffic control” that ensures the best bandwidth for the devices and applications in each network. It can detect the types and capabilities of each device and application to come up with custom Wi-Fi settings for each home network. Operators need a cloud-based mechanism to optimize the performance of both the new Wi-Fi 6 and the much larger pool of legacy devices which will co-exist for many years to come

Airties Cloud optimization effect

Wi-Fi 6 brings amazing capabilities, but they need to be managed. Airties builds on its wireless expertise to make the best use of the building blocks of Wi-Fi 6, through Cloud and Edge software optimization. Result? Self-optimizing network that learns the best possible home network configuration through analysis of usage pattern and device characteristics to ensure full benefit of Wi-Fi 6 for the latest compatible devices.  Learn more about Airties Cloud here.

Article by:

Oz Yildirim,

EVP and GM Americas Business Unit

Sources:

[1] Dec 2020 Airties data – based on actual usage across more than 25 million households worldwide

 


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