5G and Wi-Fi 6 at CES 2020

The world seems to be growing tired of wires, perhaps because the number of interconnections is outgrowing any possibility of wiring them. Not to mention, everybody wants mobile connections and wiring them is just not possible. The wireless technologies of the past are unlikely to be able to cope with this growing digital traffic, due primarily to streaming video, and improved technologies are needed. The two most prominent of these new wireless technologies are 5G and Wi-Fi 6 and both will be well represented at CES 2020.

For this Display Daily, I’ll take a look at some of the relevant releases on 5G and Wi-Fi 6.

5G Announcements at CES

Evolution from 1G to 5G. (Credit: Micron via EE Times)

I’ve written about 5G several times before, most recently in relationship to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities. While there is a lot of 5G at CES, you can expect even more at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February in Barcelona. Some 5G press releases from CES include:

  • Zyxel to Showcase 5G/LTE and 10G Broadband, Wi-Fi 6 and Cyber-Security Solutions for Service Providers. Zyxel will be showing both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 products at CES. They intend these products to work together to provide whole-home Wi-Fi 6 coverage, with internet access sourced from their 5G NR outdoor router.
  • Inseego Unveils its Next-Gen 5G Product Portfolio. Inseego will be showing its second generation of 5G intelligent IoT device-to-cloud solutions, based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem. The company will also preview its new 5G portfolio of industrial IoT, fixed wireless access and mobile broadband product lines in private briefings. This is common at CES: this year’s new products on the show floor and future products shown behind (slightly) closed doors in hotel suites.
  • Harman Showcases Life-Saving Potential of Vehicle-to-Pedestrian 5G Technology Harman, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, is showing its new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) called Vehicle-to-Pedestrian. This forewarns automobile drivers and pedestrians to potential safety conflicts through the use of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology which is based on 5G. Used stand-alone, the system just warns the driver. With 5G V2X connectivity, it can also warn the pedestrian. In addition, the 5G connectivity will allow an AI system to enhance the effectiveness of the Vehicle-to-Pedestrian algorithms. This is part of the HARMAN ExP Integrated Solution Suite introduced at CES 2020, said to be “elevating automotive tech into meaningful consumer driving experiences.”

CES Skyworks PR 0120 Tracker FINAL 2b resize(Credit: Skyworks)

  • Skyworks Accelerates Adoption of 5G Massive IoT Applications. Skyworks makes OEM modules that manufacturers can use to speed the design of their IoT consumer, industrial and Smart City products. The company claims that their flagship SKY66430-11 is “the world’s smallest, fully certified all-in-one device and incorporates a multi-band, multi-chip system-in-package (SiP) enabling cellular LTE-M/NB-IoT (half-duplex FDD) architectures.” They add that their solutions are certified by global carriers including KDDI, NTT Docomo, SoftBank and Verizon for use on their networks.

Wi-Fi 6 Announcements

CES Wi Fi 6 resizeGrowth of Wi-Fi 6 over the next few years. (Credit: IDC via the Wi-Fi Alliance)

The growth of Wi-Fi has been steady since the founding of the Wi-Fi Alliance as the “Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance” just over 20 years ago in 1999. Life today is nearly unimaginable without Wi-Fi accessibility to data networks. Wi-Fi 6 was recently introduced and is expected to largely take over the Wi-Fi market by 2023. Wi-Fi 6 hasn’t gotten the hype of 5G, but, to the consumer, it is actually probably more important. Wi-Fi 6 has adopted some key technologies originally developed for 5G cellular communication, including Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), uplink Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), and higher-order coding 1,024-QAM. Some Wi-Fi 6 announcements that have come out of CES 2020 include:

  • Comcast Launches Its Most Powerful Internet Device Capable of Multi-Gigabit Speeds With Wi-Fi 6. At CES, Comcast announced “its next-generation xFi Advanced Gateway, its first device capable of delivering true multi-gigabit speeds, will begin rolling out to customers in the coming months. Comcast, the nation’s largest gigabit speed provider, now becomes one of the first U.S. Internet Service Providers to offer a Wi-Fi 6 Certified gateway delivering faster speeds, ultimate capacity, lower latency and best-in-class Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home.”

CES Actiontec Customers C resizeSome of the service providers that use Actiontec products. (Credit: Actiontec)

“Our innovative lineup of Wi-Fi 6 systems represents the next leap forward for networking products,” said Louis Liu, CEO of TP-Link USA. “These groundbreaking systems deliver the most robust and reliable Wi-Fi experience available on the market at competitive price points. They are the perfect choice for consumers that demand the highest performance and want to take their Wi-Fi experience to the next level. With numerous products and pricing options, there is a TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 solution for every taste and every budget.”

CES Wi Fi 6 Introductions resizeWi-Fi Alliance members introducing new Wi-Fi products at CES (Credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)

Of course, these three Wi-Fi 6 announcements are not the only new products being introduced at CES. The Wi-Fi Alliance conveniently supplied a map of all their members introducing new Wi-Fi products, primarily Wi-Fi 6, at CES. As can be seen, these products cover a very wide range of wireless applications, from AR/VR through Vehicle Technology and more.

It is a good year to be interested in wireless technology, whether it is 5G or Wi-Fi 6, or both, like Zyxel and many others. Interested ATSC 3.0 for television applications? I’ve seen several announcements come out of CES on that, too. – Matthew Brennesholtz