How Wi-Fi 6 Will Usher in a New Era of Connectivity: A Q&A with Alan Hsu

Jun 23, 2020
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As people around the world are sheltering at home, the Internet is serving as a lifeline to keep people connected virtually. Whether consumers are streaming their favorite shows, working remotely, taking online classes or gaming with friends, they are relying on their devices to stay connected to the outside world.

MediaTek is providing fast and reliable connectivity with our cutting-edge Wi-Fi solutions so consumers can do more and share more. In fact, MediaTek is the number one Wi-Fi supplier across broadband, retail routers, consumer electronics devices and gaming – we power the brands you love. To keep up with today’s computing requirements, our newest chipsets include Wi-Fi 6 support for an even better connectivity experience.

To learn about the potential of Wi-Fi 6 and how it’s driving the next era of connectivity, we sat down with Alan Hsu, General Manager, Intelligent Connectivity Business Unit, MediaTek.

Why is the new Wi-Fi 6 standard needed?

Bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow, thanks in part to the surging popularity of streaming services and the proliferation of connected devices. To keep up, the industry needed a new iteration of the Wi-Fi standard and created Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 has a number of advantages over the previous generation of Wi-Fi with faster speeds, better spectral efficiency and lower latency. Wi-Fi 6 also supports multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) technologies, which are both instrumental for providing reliable connectivity to multiple devices in a network. That’s becoming increasingly important as consumers bring more smart devices into their homes.

Opening up the 6GHz band will help to further address growing bandwidth requirements. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently adopted new rules to increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by nearly a factor of five, and other countries are considering similar moves. Devices with Wi-Fi 6E support will be able to take advantage of the additional spectrum to deliver even faster connectivity.

What Wi-Fi 6 solutions does MediaTek offer?

Right now we’re focusing on bringing the industry advanced Wi-Fi 6 solutions to high-growth markets: retail routers, the broadband carrier channel, consumer electronics (CE), gaming, IoT and of course to mobile and the smartphone business. Our Wi-Fi 6 chipsets support technologies like EasyMesh, MU-MIMO and OFDMA for reliable connectivity even when multiple devices are sharing a network.

Powering home, commercial and enterprise routers from companies like D-Link and TP-Link, MediaTek’s MT7915 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 combo chipset packs a number of industry firsts – including integrating a dedicated RF receiver with zero-wait dynamic frequency selection (DFS) channel monitoring for more reliable connectivity. Our Dimensity 1000, a 5G integrated SoC, also has built-in Wi-Fi 6 support. This chip is an example of how Wi-Fi 6 and 5G together can deliver end-to-end connectivity for smartphones, supporting the fastest and most efficient connectivity whether users are at home or on-the-go.

Additionally, MediaTek and Samsung recently announced the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 8K TV, which is equipped with a custom MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 chipset. Combining premium 8K imaging and high-speed connectivity, this incredible new smart TV will help bring entertainment experiences to the next level.

What excites you about the potential of Wi-Fi 6 for smart TVs?

As TVs increasingly become the hub of the smart home, users rely on their TV as both an entertainment center and an easy interface to control smart home gadgets. Beyond watching their favorite shows and movies, consumers are using smart TVs to communicate with their loved ones through video chats, connect to fitness apps to take workout classes at home and much more. Users can also control their various smart home devices right from their TV, such as diming the lights before a movie or turning on their security system. To support these diverse applications, having a fast and lag-free connection is essential for any smart TV.

As the demand for Wi-Fi 6 continues to surge in the smart TV industry and beyond, we look forward to continuing to drive this new era of connectivity with our innovative solutions.

What about Wi-Fi 6 for mobile?

For mobile devices, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 go hand-in-hand to bring consumers seamless connectivity. 5G networks are ideal for outdoor connectivity while Wi-Fi 6 will dominate indoor environments. Together, integrated 5G and Wi-Fi 6 solutions give users the same level of connectivity no matter where they’re using their device. Just imagine being able to download a movie in seconds right from your smartphone. Or playing your favorite game like Fortnite or PUBG with blazing-fast connectivity that doesn’t run down your smartphone battery too fast.

Can you provide an example of how Wi-Fi 6 will improve the consumer experience?

There are three main benefits consumers will experience with Wi-Fi 6: increased speeds, support for more devices at one time and better uplink performance. Faster speeds provide a better experience whether users are binging the latest show on Netflix, video chatting with family or streaming their Spotify playlists. Having a Wi-Fi connection that can support multiple devices is becoming increasingly important as consumers bring more smart devices into their homes. And in the commercial sector – such as airports, stadiums and hotels – it’s critical to have Wi-Fi setups that can support many people connecting to a network at the same time. Finally, better uplink performance is essential for our app-based world where we’re sharing content all the time. That’s because apps are bi-directional in traffic, meaning you receive data packets (i.e. downlink) from the Internet as well as respond (i.e. uplink) in the form of posting images, uploading voice messages, uploading videos, etc. Wi-Fi 6 is truly a game-changer!

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