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By Taj Manku, CEO | June 14, 2020

Woman monitors her network from her smartphone

Discovering new applications for existing technologies is the definition of innovation. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of because it opens the door to new ways of improving our quality of life, but we recognize it also comes with responsibility.

Here at Cognitive Systems, we’ve developed a solution called WiFi Motion that uses existing WiFi signals in the home to enable motion detection. Also referred to as WiFi Sensing, this technology already has numerous applications for service providers within the security, health care, enterprise and smart home markets. WiFi Motion’s capabilities are sure to expand as we work with partners and others in the space to uncover even more uses, but not without some necessary guardrails in place.

The need for a more complete set of standards

Current possibilities aside, WiFi Sensing technology won’t reach its full potential unless stakeholders work together to implement standards around its development. While there are currently adequate standards in place that cover the core functions of WiFi Motion, a more robust set is required to achieve new and more complex use cases. These standards will help others work with existing applications and also create new ones, while ensuring consistency across various platforms.

In the early stages of working on WiFi Motion, we found ourselves explaining WiFi Sensing to each new chip vendor we worked with. This simply wasn’t efficient or sustainable. Going forward, we need a universally recognized industry definition, and a defined set of API to be used as a guideline for anyone creating chips.

Finding the right partners to move WiFi Sensing forward

As one of the first companies to develop a commercially-viable solution using WiFi Sensing, we became aware of our responsibility to help shape the development of the wider technology. To make this happen, we knew we had to align ourselves with others working in the space. There is a lot of room for development, and even competition, in this space. It’s important that we all work together to realize the full potential of WiFi Sensing technology.

We identified the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) as an ideal partner to help raise awareness about WiFi Sensing, while also ensuring it is being explained accurately and consistently throughout the industry. The WBA’s mission is to enable collaboration among service providers, technology companies and organizations who want to drive seamless, interoperable service experiences via WiFi. This made them a natural fit.

Our next step was to establish a working group within the WBA. The NextGen Work Group is the first of its kind and works toward introducing and fostering the adoption of new WiFi applications. Part of the group’s work so far has included publishing the Wi-Fi Sensing Whitepaper, which outlines use cases and requirements for the technology to be utilized in home and enterprise environments. A goal of the whitepaper is to help other companies identify business opportunities or simply grow their revenue by enhancing their current offerings with WiFi Sensing. It also identifies gaps that need to be addressed to fully realize the potential of the technology in the broader industry.

Looking forward to a bright future

We’re proud to say that we’ve gotten the ball rolling on establishing a robust set of standards that will help WiFi Sensing move forward. Cognitive Systems senior engineer Chris Beg has been an integral player in aligning with the WBA, starting the NextGen Work Group and publishing the whitepaper. Last fall Chris presented to the Wireless Next Generation Standing Committee on the future of WiFi Sensing for service providers. Up next, Chris continues the conversation with key players by presenting at this summer’s Wireless Global Congress virtual event.

Ultimately, we’re looking to engage the software community and start coming together in an open source forum to explore what is possible. By strengthening the WiFi industry as a whole, we can all achieve great things together.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — GoZone WiFi, a leading U.S.-based WiFi analytics and marketing SaaS company, has unveiled a new product called Touchless Menu™ to help restaurants adapt to safety and health concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Touchless Menu creates a contactless ordering experience during dine-in service. Guests access the restaurant’s food and beverage menu by connecting to a special WiFi network, which pushes the digital menu to the guest’s smartphone, tablet, laptop or other WiFi-enabled device.

See How Touchless Menu Works

“Our team developed Touchless Menu after hearing from restaurant owners and operators across the country who are struggling to navigate a safe reopening,” said Todd Myers, GoZone WiFi CEO. “The Touchless Menu gives restaurants an opportunity to reassure patrons that they’re taking actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

The Touchless Menu is safer than sanitizing reusable menus, which require cleaning by staff members between uses. It also provides significant cost savings over printed single-use menus, while being environmentally conscious.

“Guests need to feel safe and comfortable in coming back to our restaurants,” said Mark Ferguson, who is using Touchless Menu at his restaurant, Ferg’s Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Many of my guests feel more comfortable using their personal devices rather than touching a physical menu. Touchless Menu encourages a comfortable experience.”

While other digital menu solutions are available, they are expensive to install and maintain, or they’re clunky offerings that required guests to follow complicated instructions. Touchless Menu, by comparison, is affordable and it’s the easiest digital menu to use.

Restaurant operators quickly upload their current menu to a drag-and-drop menu editor with pre-built menu templates. The Touchless Menu works by simply plugging in a pre-configured router box to a restaurant’s existing Internet router to set up guest WiFi access. Once set up, guests can instantly view the menu on their personal WiFi-enabled devices inside the restaurant.

The Touchless Menu includes a drag-and-drop menu editor, pre-built menu templates and a router box. GoZone is offering one-time complimentary design services to help restaurants quickly return to operation.

Learn more about GoZone WiFi’s Touchless Menu here. See release on PRNewswire here.

AdaptivMIMO technology provides flexible configurations for fast 6 GHz adoption

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Apr. 21, 2020 – ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ON), driving energy efficient innovations, announced sampling of its new QCS-AX2 chipset family that supports the 6GHz spectrum band based on the enhanced Wi-Fi 6E standard. Designed with a high performance, flexible architecture to maximize usage of the 6GHz band, the new product family is optimized for high-throughput Wi-Fi applications, such as access points, gateways, and mesh networking solutions for dense environments and underserved areas.

The QCS-AX2 series is built on an integrated baseband and RF (radio frequency) architecture that supports key Wi-Fi 6E features, such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), advanced MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output), and 160MHz channel support for faster speeds, and SmartScan channel selection for maximum band utilization. The new product portfolio will include the following:

  • QCS-AX2-A12: tri-band (6GHz/5GHz/2.4GHz) with AdaptivMIMO technology supports flexible 8×8 or 4×4 configurations
  • QCS-AX2-T12: tri-band concurrent 4×4 operation for high performance, cost-effective router solutions
  • QCS-AX2-T8: tri-band concurrent 8-stream configurations for mesh nodes and mainstream access points

 

As the Federal Communications Commission anticipates the opening of the 6GHz band in the United States later this year, up to 1,200 MHz of newly available spectrum will be designated for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed use. With almost 5 times of spectrum more than the current 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands combined, the 6GHz band is accelerating the development of next generation Wi-Fi 6 applications. While the 6GHz client ecosystem takes time to build out, Wi-Fi infrastructure devices, such as gateways, routers, and access points will need to continue to support existing dual band (2.4GHz/5GHz) clients; infrastructure applications such as 6GHz backhaul between gateways and mesh nodes will lead deployments.

ON Semiconductor’s Wi-Fi 6E solutions are designed to accommodate the transition to the 6GHz band with AdaptivMIMO technology while addressing mainstream 6GHz applications. A Wi-Fi 6E infrastructure device with AdaptivMIMO allows the network to operate in the 5GHz or 6GHz band depending on the clients present in a subscriber’s home network to maximize performance, coverage, and utilization. The QCS-AX2 series provides the Wi-Fi performance and connectivity in congested environments to multiple devices that applications demand.

“We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that Wi-Fi 6E opens for the industry. We are in the forefront of building Wi-Fi 6E platforms that enable even better speed, efficiency and performance for the Home, Enterprise, Automotive and IoT segments,” said Irvind Ghai, Vice President of Marketing, Quantenna Connectivity Solutions at ON Semiconductor. “ON Semiconductor is dedicated to innovation in Wi-Fi technology, and will continue to leverage its connectivity excellence to provide end-to-end solutions that accelerate key Wi-Fi 6E ecosystems.”

“Our new generation of QCS-AX2 with AdaptivMIMO allows OEMs fast time-to-market with optimized performance across the 3 bands. As Wi-Fi 6E infrastructure proliferates, it will seed the 6GHz ecosystems. Client devices will also benefit from improved efficiency, lower latency and jitter, and less interference, providing better user experience across applications and environments,” said Simon Duxbury, General Manager & Vice President, Quantenna Connectivity Solutions, ON Semiconductor.

ON Semiconductor is now sampling the QCS-AX2 solutions to customers.

About ON Semiconductor
ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ON) is driving energy efficient innovations, empowering customers to reduce global energy use. The company is a leading supplier of semiconductor-based solutions, offering a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficient power management, analog, sensors, logic, timing, connectivity, discrete, SoC and custom devices. The company’s products help engineers solve their unique design challenges in automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial, medical, aerospace and defense applications. ON Semiconductor operates a responsive, reliable, world-class supply chain and quality program, a robust compliance and ethics program, and a network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices and design centers in key markets throughout North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. For more information, visit https://www.onsemi.com.

Adaptive MIMO in the Era of 6GHz Wi-Fi

In 2018 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that opens up a maximum of 1.2GHz of spectrum between 5.925GHz to 7.125GHz for unlicensed use. The newly released spectrum has the potential to offer over twice the spectrum currently allowed in 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The additional channels allow for not only high speeds such as 10Gbps, but also support more users in dense environments such as Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs). It is obvious that 6GHz has the potential to usher in a new era for Wi-Fi computing. The FCC’s publication of the NPRM puts it on course for eventual legalization, by most accounts, towards the end of 2020. Other countries, such as those in the European Union and in Asia, will follow suit with their own adoption of 6GHz, most likely in 2022.

While there is little doubt that the introduction of 6GHz is a great development, the mechanics of its adoption into everyday devices that we all have and love are a bit more complex. We can look at the adoption of Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) technology as a good model of what will most likely happen. The official 802.11ac specification was published by IEEE in December 2013. By the end of 2016, all smartphones fully adopted 802.11ac. In 2016, there were over 1.4 billion new mobile phones shipped with the majority (over 1 billion) being 802.11ac (Figure 1). If we apply this model for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) 6GHz client devices, it will also likely be approximately 3 years from when IEEE publishes the 802.11ax specifications (June 2020) to when there will be over 1 billion new Wi-Fi 6 client devices, which will be middle of 2023. However, with the addition of 6GHz regulatory approval by the end of 2020, this timeline will most likely be slightly extended to the end of 2023, three years after the FCC fully legalizes 6GHz operation by end of 2020 (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) Adoption by Client Devices

Figure 2. Overall Timeline for Wi-Fi 6 and 6GHz Adoption

With the introduction of 6GHz, it may be deceptively simple to assume that next-generation Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure devices such as home gateways and access points launching in 2020 will all be designed with a fixed architecture, one that dedicates a fixed 4×4 radio to each of the 3 bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz (Figure 3). As previously stated, since there will be a small quantity of 6GHz Wi-Fi 6 clients until the end of 2023, a gateway solution that devotes any dedicated 6GHz circuitry will be mostly unused for a significant portion of the time. That means the cost and space associated with these new 6GHz components will essentially be wasted inside the gateway. However, service providers must produce and deploy forward-looking gateways as their replacement cycles tend to be longer than that of client devices. These two competing dynamics present an interesting challenge for service providers who are considering the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 with 6GHz support in their roadmaps.

Figure 3. Fixed, Triple Frequency 4×4 Design

A potential solution can be found in a technology called Adaptive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output). Adaptive MIMO was first introduced by Quantenna, now a part of ON Semiconductor, in June 2018 as a way for infrastructure devices to be dynamic and change their 5GHz MIMO configuration between one 8×8 radio and two 4×4 radios depending on the end user’s home environment, such as number of client devices, amount of interference from neighbors and other factors. However, this technology can be an even more powerful solution as it can address the complex issue of 6GHz market adoption for Wi-Fi 6 gateways. Adaptive 6GHz MIMO means that one hardware design can adapt itself between one 8×8 5GHz plus one 4×4 2.4GHz radios (Configuration 1) and three 4×4 radios, each operating at 6GHz, 5GHz and 2.4GHz (Configuration 2). When this design is first deployed, the device infrastructure will reflect Configuration 1. By the end of 2023 with the market adoption of Wi-Fi 6 6GHz, the infrastructure device will operate in Configuration 2. This configuration can be controlled using intelligent analytics which determines the prevalence of 6GHz Wi-Fi 6 clients in a network. It is important to note that Adaptive MIMO design incorporates a new, unique, loss-less 5-7GHz FEM (Front End Module).

Figure 4. Adaptive 8×8 Design

The introduction of 6GHz is expected to bring about new performance and usability for Wi-Fi 6 devices. While it offers remarkable improvements in upcoming Wi-Fi 6 networks, it also has the ability to dramatically transform the wireless landscape. The next Wi-Fi standard, IEEE 802.11be, is set to establish 320MHz channel operation in the 6GHz band using up to 16×16 MIMO configuration on infrastructure devices. The combination of these developments can increase speed to over 40Gbps, offer previously unseen range performance, and lead to a new age of advance Wi-Fi applications. However, to get there, infrastructure devices must adopt intelligent and cost-efficient architectures, such as Adaptive MIMO.