Mesh and Wi-Fi 6 Ushering In a New Era of Home Networking

  • Dell'Oro Group

REDWOOD CITY, CA — For many years now, the evolution of Wi-Fi has been focused on improving two key technical attributes: speed and range. Wi-Fi 6, however, is the first iteration to take a more holistic view of wireless technology that encompasses not only improvements in speed and range, but also network intelligence, analytics, and power efficiency. It is the first Wi-FI standard developed specifically for a world defined by the IoT and the consistent proliferation of connected devices.

Wi-Fi 6 also can dramatically improve how service providers will be able to provision, manage, troubleshoot, and analyze their in-home networking services. It provides options for the remote, zero-touch provisioning of devices and services, as well as the automatic adjustment of Wi-Fi channels to ensure peak performance. As subscribers become savvier about broadband and Wi-Fi, and as they become more reliant on broadband to enable multiple services in their home, they will demand uninterrupted service. With Wi-Fi 6, service providers will finally have the power to deliver on those expectations.

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access

Perhaps the most important feature of Wi-Fi 6 is OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access). OFDMA allows Wi-Fi routers and access points to divide multiple channels—on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency band—into smaller allocations called resource units (RUs.) Each RU can then be divided into yet smaller channels, with that traffic earmarked simultaneously for multiple devices. Each of those devices can have dramatically different traffic profiles (e.g., a TV that is streaming an 8k movie and a connected thermostat communicating with a cloud-based analytics engine).

The net result is a reduction in latency for connected devices and an increase in the aggregate throughput across the wireless network. Wi-Fi 6 adds both uplink and downlink OFDMA, meaning that routers and CPE can intelligently allocate different levels of transmitting and receiving power per connected device, depending on variables such as distance, noise and other signal impediments.

As for mesh capabilities, consumer mesh routers have been growing at a fast pace over the last year, with total units expected 23 M this year. Operators are becoming smarter about identifying when mesh routers are required by means of delivering apps that allow new subscribers to describe their homes, the placement of their routers, and the types of devices throughout the home that might require closer proximity to a mesh base station or satellite. As such, they are either re-selling mesh routers or integrating mesh capabilities directly into their higher-end gateways.

About the Broadband Access and Home Networking 5-Year Forecast Report:

The Dell’Oro Group Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast Report provides a complete overview of the Broadband Access market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and port/unit shipments for Cable, DSL, and PON equipment. Covered equipment includes Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAP), Distributed Access Architectures (DAA), DSL Access Multiplexers ([DSLAMs] by technology ADSL/ADSL2+, G.SHDSL, VDSL, VDSL Profile 35b, G.FAST), PON Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Customer Premises Equipment ([CPE] for Cable, DSL, and PON), along with SOHO WLAN Equipment, including Mesh Routers.

About Dell’Oro Group:

Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT markets.  Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions.  For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit




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