Saudi Arabia unveils first Wi-Fi 6e network

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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Wi-Fi 6e
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Saudi Arabia’s communications authority, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has declared that it would be the first nation in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to use the entire 6 GHz frequency band for Wi-Fi.

That means routers can now use 150 percent more open airwaves for the next generation of Wi-Fi networks. Saudi Arabia has made the 2,035 MHz of spectrum usable for a new generation of Wi-Fi and other license-exempt technology, more than any other country in the world, by allocating 1,200 MHz of radio spectrum for the WiFi6e.

The decision has paved the way for the next decade of Wi-Fi developments in Saudi Arabia, with numerous applications for users including telemedicine, education, and remote working. Promoting Wi-Fi 6e in Saudi Arabia was announced during a webinar titled “Fostering New Generation of Wi-Fi Technologies in Saudi Arabia,” which addressed the role of new Wi-Fi Technologies in digitizing the Kingdom.

Speaking during the launch event, Mr. Mohammed Al Tamimi Governor of CITC remarked that ‘‘Saudi Arabia has partnered with global manufacturers to demonstrate the technology and will continue working with the industry to facilitate its use in the Kingdom. Devices that embrace Wi-Fi 6e technology are expected to hit the market before the end of 2021. The latest Wi-Fi 6e technology would improve internet speeds by 5-fold for Wi-Fi users in Saudi Arabia at home and in public areas such as airports and shopping malls.”

Saudi Arabia remained the 7th fastest country in the world for mobile internet speeds, averaging 109.48 Mbps in Q4 2020, and the 4th fastest country in the world for 5G internet speeds, averaging 264.7 Mbps.

Saudi 5G users registered the world’s fastest peak download speed of 862.6 Mbps, surpassing South Korea in the second position by 11 percent. By the end of 2020, 5,358 new 5G towers will have been built across the country, taking the total number of 5G towers to 12,302. This number is projected to rise as the amount of spectrum available for commercial use increases, as does the demand for faster internet services.

Wi-Fi 6e will support future network applications across a wide range of uses, including the Internet of Things, smart homes, and virtual reality applications, in addition to faster internet speeds. By linking Wi-Fi networks with fiber optics to enable faster data transmission, Wi-Fi 6e can improve the efficiency of wireless applications in the education, health, and entertainment industries. Wi-Fi 6e also paves the way for Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of Wi-Fi.

Several multinational companies spoke at the CITC webinar, including Intel, Apple, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), Microsoft, Wi-Fi Alliance, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, among others.

The announcement follows the release of CITC’s latest spectrum outlook for commercial and creative usage, which aims to boost the innovative use spectrum and allow new generations of smart innovative wireless technologies by 2025.

Related: Saudi’s SABB launches instant international money transfer service; First in Kingdom