by Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO of Cambium Networks
Given its immense size and bountiful natural resources, Brazilians have long talked about their country as the “land of the future.” One unexpected area where Brazil is indeed taking the lead over the rest of the world is in the realm of Wi-Fi connectivity.
In December, Brazil became the first country in Latin America to test outdoor Wi-Fi 6E as part of a joint project in cooperation with the Municipality of São Paulo and the Campo Belo Gastronomia Association, and the results of the test will be eagerly monitored by service providers around the world.
With the deployment of Wi-Fi 6E in the Campo Belo neighborhood of São Paulo, users are able to take advantage of the faster speeds and lower latencies than were available through Wi-Fi 6 and earlier iterations. In fact, this deployment delivers 10X the capacity of traditional Wi-Fi.
This is a watershed moment for the spread of advanced broadband. For Brazil and other early adopters, Wi-Fi 6E finally puts the prospect of realizing multi-Gigabit speeds with a 6 GHz fixed wireless infrastructure within reach as Wi-Fi 6E extends the capacity, efficiency, coverage, and performance benefits of advanced Wi-Fi into the 6-GHz band, which allows for internet speeds of greater than 1Gbps.
While the United States approved the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi use in 2020, a decision that allowed the development and deployment of Wi-Fi 6E devices to move forward, this marks the first real-world study of its use. The insights these tests could provide around the true efficiency and data throughput of these congestion-free connections could prove substantial for others considering the spectrum.
Many service providers in the U.S. have been testing new 6 GHz equipment under experimental licenses granted by the FCC for the purposes of technical evaluation but not for commercial deployment. The outdoor network in São Paulo will now serve as a petri dish for the country to help officials in the U.S. and abroad better understand the benefits this Wi-Fi 6 technology provides and hopefully move us one step closer to a 6 GHz reality.
This is a particularly exciting moment when you consider the potential impact of advanced internet technology on closing the digital divide for underserved communities around the world and, in this case, the daily life in Brazil, where about 50% of homes are still not connected to broadband. More broadly speaking, these and other multi-Gigabit wireless technologies entering the market will allow providers in the US and around the world to bring fast broadband to more people than ever before.