WiFi could reach peak data rates of 10Gbps by 2018, claims Huawei, which achieved these speeds in lab trials in China.
The prototype equipment reached 10.53Gbps in the conventional 5GHz unlicensed spectrum band. Much effort around superfast WiFi has focused on the 60GHz band, which supports high speeds and capacity, though typically over short distances. But Huawei is driving similar data rates in the lower frequencies, with their superior propagation, and is chairing the latest in the IEEE’s alphabet soup of WiFi taskgroups, 802.11ax, which is looking at very fast networks especially for ultra-dense hotzones.
In this way, the company aims to put itself in the vanguard of next generation wireless technology development, and it hopes the standard will be ratified in 2018, with commercial equipment in the same year, though likely based – as is WiFi’s habit these days – on pre-standard implementations.
The demonstration in Shenzhen is based on Huawei’s own technology, since the 11ax specifications are not real yet, but the firm will submit some of its innovations to the taskgroup and so aim to seize the steering wheel in next-wave WiFi. It has been engaged in R&D in this area since 2010, focusing on “innovation surrounding new WiFi architectures that would break the logjam of classical WiFi wideband radio and baseband processing to increase user data rates”.
It is using some of the core technologies which are also expected to be prominent in cellular ’5G’, including MIMO-OFDA, dynamic spectrum allocation, interference coordination and hybrid access techniques, and claims a tenfold improvement in spectral efficiency by combining these tools. MIMO-OFDA is of particular interest to hardware makers, combining large MIMO arrays with OFDM schemes, which divide sub-carriers into separate data streams. Huawei did not specify how many channels were used to get the peak speed, or how wide they were.
The IEEE board approved the 802.11x effort in March after a year of preliminary work.