Wi-Fi Alliance® welcomes 2020 honorees into our Wi-Fi Alliance Hall of Fame. This series highlights the companies and individuals who have brought invaluable contributions to the Wi-Fi® industry, and have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to advancing the Wi-Fi Alliance mission to “connect everyone and everything, everywhere.” Wi-Fi Alliance recognizes Hall of Fame honorees in the following categories: Industry Impact, Mission Specialist, and Quality of Service. Read more on this year’s winners.
The Industry Impact Award recognizes outstanding member companies who have provided sustained service to Wi-Fi Alliance and made significant contributions to our mission and the Wi-Fi industry over the last year. Companies receiving this year’s award have had a material impact in gaining 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi, enabling Wi-Fi 6E to become a reality.
What does CommScope see as its biggest impact on the Wi-Fi industry?
CommScope has made significant contributions to global Wi-Fi adoption by leading and actively participating in a number of Wi-Fi Alliance programs and launches. These include Passpoint®, Wi-Fi Vantage™ and helping to launch Wi-Fi EasyMesh™. As well, we have provided next-generation access points (APs) to support multiple Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability test beds. Most recently, our CommScope RUCKUS R750 access point (AP) was utilized in the Wi-Fi Alliance test bed to validate other devices for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ interoperability.
In addition to our activities within the Wi-Fi Alliance, CommScope’s leadership in wireless technology has enabled us to become one of the leading suppliers of Wi-Fi solutions. In the most critical Wi-Fi segments – carrier, enterprise, and residential, CommScope is a market leader.
Moreover, with video comprising 80 percent of global Wi-Fi traffic (especially in the home), CommScope has played a fundamental role in enabling streaming video services with innovative solutions like our residential set-top platforms and smart media devices.
What does CommScope see as the main reason for Wi-Fi adoption around the world?
Wi-Fi is perceived as being the internet and vice versa – the terms often being used interchangeably. In most places, Wi-Fi acts as the entry point to an increasingly connected world. Having the ability to wirelessly connect, no matter the device, has been transformative in the enterprise, at home and in outdoor spaces.
On the technical side of things, the ubiquity of Wi-Fi has been enabled by interoperability between devices, as well as true backward compatibility spanning multiple generations of Wi-Fi. In addition, Wi-Fi doesn’t require access to expensive licensed spectrum, but instead uses unlicensed (i.e. license-exempt) spectrum which is available to everyone at no cost. This, along with an attentive industry standards body that updates the Wi-Fi standard in steady 3-5-year cycles, has enabled accelerated innovation in both the consumer and enterprise markets.
What is Wi-Fi’s biggest impact on the world?
Like water, electricity and gas, Wi-Fi has become a utility that we cannot live without. It provides people from all walks of life access to any and all online resources. Put simply, the world’s connectedness would be dramatically curtailed without Wi-Fi. Entire classes of devices – such as laptops, tablets, and IP cameras – would be untenable.
Prior to COVID-19, working from home was a perk for some employees. As the pandemic continues, Wi-Fi has shown just how essential it is for work, education, recreation, and more. It has enabled more people to work and learn from home, while also communicating with friends and family, playing games and streaming the latest movies and TV shows.
Outside of the home, Wi-Fi on school buses and in public libraries helps keep students connected so they can keep up with their classwork. As well, public Wi-Fi in urban hotspots has become even more critical for those who cannot afford to pay for connectivity at home. Last, but certainly not least, Wi-Fi is successfully connecting health care workers and first responders during the current pandemic and in the aftermath of natural disasters like floods and wildfires.
"The economic impact of Wi-Fi cannot be understated as it supports the generation of $2 trillion dollars of economic value per year! However, the real contribution of Wi-Fi to society is its ability to connect those that otherwise would be economically disconnected. Put simply, Wi-Fi brings the entire world to your home, office or mobile device.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that networks are only as good as the last 50 feet of connection. Wi-Fi has been providing that last 50 feet of connectivity to 95 percent of all connected devices since the late 1990s. With Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi continues to evolve to meet the rising demand of new services and applications. As a dynamic technology, Wi-Fi is clearly a solid foundation on which the world can build its future digital experiences."
- Charles Cheevers, Chief Technology Officer, Home Network Solutions, CommScope
How has CommScope been involved in the efforts to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed operation?
CommScope has been a strong advocate for 6 GHz unlicensed operations with appropriate protections for incumbents since the initial exploratory conversations with the FCC and international policymakers many years ago. CommScope brings a unique perspective and capabilities to this topic, being 1) a leading provider of enterprise and residential Wi-Fi solutions, 2) the leading frequency coordinator of existing fixed microwave systems in 6 GHz, and 3) a leader in dynamic spectrum coordination database technologies/systems – which will be critical for enabling the Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) required for Standard Power unlicensed operation in 6 GHz.
As Bart Giordano, Senior Vice President for CommScope’s RUCKUS Wireless and Cloud business put it, “with its adjacency to 5 GHz, greater availability of wider channel sizes, and accessibility to greenfield spectrum, the advent of Wi-Fi 6E is a watershed moment for the wireless industry.”
What does CommScope believe is one Wi-Fi technology that will transform the Wi-Fi experience?
Wi-Fi 6E will truly be transformative. On April 23, 2020, the FCC voted unanimously to allocate 1,200-megahertz (MHz) of spectrum for unlicensed use in the 5.925-7.125 GHz (6 GHz) band. Wi-Fi devices that will operate in this band will be branded Wi-Fi 6E, as named by Wi-Fi Alliance. This historic action, the first major allocation of mid-band unlicensed spectrum in 20 years, gives 59 new 20 MHz channels for Wi-Fi use.
More channels translate into less congestion and this means better support for connecting more devices and device types. With 1,200 MHz of contiguous spectrum, channel bonding of 80 MHz (14 new channels), and even 160 MHz (7 new channels) becomes practical within venues that need them like convention centers, high occupancy spaces, and auditoriums. By combining multiple 20 MHz channels into a wider, higher throughput 80 or 160 MHz channel, existing Wi-Fi 6 clients can reach their maximum speeds without the limits of operating in smaller channel widths. Wider channel bandwidths are key to enabling the multi-gigabit speeds and lower latencies critical for next generation wireless services and experiences.
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