Transformation and upgrading of automobiles, planting new technologies of WiFi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

The automotive industry is entering a fantastic era where technological advancements and electronics have transformed ecosystems and value chains. Cars are fundamentally changing from being just a tool to get us from point A to point B to a smart, fully connected hub, bringing a variety of new experiences to consumers and OEMs and service providers new profit opportunities. Wi-Fi is critical to driving the global automotive transformation.

The automotive industry is entering a fantastic era where technological advancements and electronics have transformed ecosystems and value chains. Cars are fundamentally changing from being just a tool to get us from point A to point B to a smart, fully connected hub, bringing a variety of new experiences to consumers and OEMs and service providers new profit opportunities. Wi-Fi is critical to driving the global automotive transformation.

Transformation and upgrading of automobiles, planting new technologies of WiFi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

‍‍‍‍‍‍Smart cars need to be connected

Connectivity has always been a focus for automakers. Today’s cars are highly intelligent, generating vast amounts of data from numerous sensors about how they are being used, where they are, and what’s around them. With vast amounts of telematics data uploaded to the cloud, automakers can analyze engine performance parameters, braking and steering systems, and energy efficiency to inform the development of next-generation products. Automakers can offer premium service packages that are more service-focused and personalized by analyzing data collected from external sensors such as surround-view cameras and LiDAR detectors about real-time traffic conditions, roadside assistance, and travel concierge services.

In-vehicle connectivity is key to driving a differentiated consumer experience. The next-generation infotainment system or digital cockpit is being reinvented as a more social and connected space with rich content and services. As consumer usage changes, robust connections with higher bandwidth and lower latency are required for frequent software upgrades. According to McKinsey’s 2020 Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared Mobility (ACES) survey, 37% of consumers would switch car brands for better connectivity. This figure is even higher in some countries, for example, 56% in China.

Today, many premium cars are equipped with Wi-Fi 5 to connect vehicle and passenger devices to the cloud. Considering new trends and value propositions, automakers are increasingly adding the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E infotainment and telematics systems to future-proof and meet vehicle lifecycles digital transformation and service needs.

‍‍‍‍‍‍Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E adoption and benefits

Today, connected cars generate about 25 GB of data per hour. As intelligence levels move toward greater autonomy, the number of sensors increases rapidly, generating data that can range from 5 to 10 terabytes per day in a passenger car to hundreds of terabytes per day in self-driving taxis. Much of this data will be uploaded to the cloud for inference and analysis. That’s where Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E come in to provide ubiquitous, high-bandwidth and cost-effective connectivity.

Wi-Fi 6 has seen substantial market adoption since its initial release in 2019, with nearly 2.3 billion devices expected to ship this year[1]. Given the long development cycles and longevity of vehicles, automakers are increasingly looking to add the latest in Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi 6E brings extended capabilities that greatly benefit connected vehicles.

■ Tri-band capability: The 6 GHz band provides twice as much spectrum as the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands combined, plus 14 80 megahertz (MHz) channels and seven 160 MHz channels—essentially eliminating today’s Wi-Fi Congestion problems faced by Fi networks. A connected vehicle will be able to connect to a home or business network or electric vehicle (EV) charging station and achieve the best possible connection at that location. This will allow terabytes of telematics data to be uploaded or new firmware to be downloaded at higher speeds without interference or network congestion.

■ 160 MHz wide channel: Today, existing connected cars are 80 MHz capable due to Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6E’s 160 MHz capability enables speeds of 2.4 GB per second (Gbps) in a 2×2 MIMO architecture, which is 2.5 times faster when connected to an external Wi-Fi 6E network. For an infotainment system that distributes content as a hotspot in the car, even a 160 MHz single-stream network can provide 1.2 Gbps of capacity; enough to serve multiple passenger devices, rear-seat displays, wireless cameras, and more at the same time. This greatly reduces the complexity and cost structure of the wireless subsystem while meeting next-generation requirements.

■ Higher speeds with advanced Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM): In Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, higher modulations are applied to all three frequency bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. As mentioned above, 5 GHz and 6 GHz are 2.5 times faster than Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 also increases 2.4 GHz speed and capacity by about 2x with advanced QAM. For a given amount of data transfer, higher speed means shorter talk time, which results in lower power consumption.

■ Extended Range: Part of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 states that Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E include range enhancements with a more robust packet structure. This new feature improves all modulation and coding scheme (MCS) rate ranges. As connected cars increasingly utilize external Wi-Fi infrastructure to upload data, automakers can take advantage of the uplink extended range feature to improve the performance of the connecting link.

■ Low Latency: Currently only Wi-Fi 6E devices can access the 6 GHz band. Thus, the use of 6 GHz will effectively be a greenfield, reserving more efficient protocols for low-latency and time-sensitive applications. Automakers implementing Wi-Fi 6E in infotainment systems can advertise a better user experience, enabling rich multimedia and gaming services or telephony connectivity such as Carplay.

Transformation and upgrading of automobiles, planting new technologies of WiFi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

Transform the value chain and monetize

In addition to benefiting automakers and consumers, smart, connected vehicles reward other partners in the value chain.

■ Insurance providers can partner with automakers to offer individual drivers customized policies based on driving behavior such as route selection, braking patterns and trip length. They will use massive cloud data and sophisticated algorithms to analyze policy risks and provide innovative solutions.

■ As EV charging becomes more commonplace, automakers can partner with EV charging providers to offer rich cloud services while the car is charging and connected to the EV charging network via Wi-Fi.

The possibilities for connected cars to open up new partnerships and profitable business opportunities beyond traditional means for automakers through data analytics are endless.

Connectivity has increasingly become the flagship feature of any automaker. Consumers expect connectivity everywhere and seamless service, whether in the car, parked at home, or waiting at an electric vehicle charging station. Wi-Fi is ubiquitous and will remain the most powerful and cost-effective connectivity technology for automakers to create differentiation and unlock new revenue streams.

[1] IDC Research, January 2022

The automotive industry is entering a fantastic era where technological advancements and electronics have transformed ecosystems and value chains. Cars are fundamentally changing from being just a tool to get us from point A to point B to a smart, fully connected hub, bringing a variety of new experiences to consumers and OEMs and service providers new profit opportunities. Wi-Fi is critical to driving the global automotive transformation.

The automotive industry is entering a fantastic era where technological advancements and electronics have transformed ecosystems and value chains. Cars are fundamentally changing from being just a tool to get us from point A to point B to a smart, fully connected hub, bringing a variety of new experiences to consumers and OEMs and service providers new profit opportunities. Wi-Fi is critical to driving the global automotive transformation.

Transformation and upgrading of automobiles, planting new technologies of WiFi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

‍‍‍‍‍‍Smart cars need to be connected

Connectivity has always been a focus for automakers. Today’s cars are highly intelligent, generating vast amounts of data from numerous sensors about how they are being used, where they are, and what’s around them. With vast amounts of telematics data uploaded to the cloud, automakers can analyze engine performance parameters, braking and steering systems, and energy efficiency to inform the development of next-generation products. Automakers can offer premium service packages that are more service-focused and personalized by analyzing data collected from external sensors such as surround-view cameras and LiDAR detectors about real-time traffic conditions, roadside assistance, and travel concierge services.

In-vehicle connectivity is key to driving a differentiated consumer experience. The next-generation infotainment system or digital cockpit is being reinvented as a more social and connected space with rich content and services. As consumer usage changes, robust connections with higher bandwidth and lower latency are required for frequent software upgrades. According to McKinsey’s 2020 Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared Mobility (ACES) survey, 37% of consumers would switch car brands for better connectivity. This figure is even higher in some countries, for example, 56% in China.

Today, many premium cars are equipped with Wi-Fi 5 to connect vehicle and passenger devices to the cloud. Considering new trends and value propositions, automakers are increasingly adding the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E infotainment and telematics systems to future-proof and meet vehicle lifecycles digital transformation and service needs.

‍‍‍‍‍‍Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E adoption and benefits

Today, connected cars generate about 25 GB of data per hour. As intelligence levels move toward greater autonomy, the number of sensors increases rapidly, generating data that can range from 5 to 10 terabytes per day in a passenger car to hundreds of terabytes per day in self-driving taxis. Much of this data will be uploaded to the cloud for inference and analysis. That’s where Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E come in to provide ubiquitous, high-bandwidth and cost-effective connectivity.

Wi-Fi 6 has seen substantial market adoption since its initial release in 2019, with nearly 2.3 billion devices expected to ship this year[1]. Given the long development cycles and longevity of vehicles, automakers are increasingly looking to add the latest in Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi 6E brings extended capabilities that greatly benefit connected vehicles.

■ Tri-band capability: The 6 GHz band provides twice as much spectrum as the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands combined, plus 14 80 megahertz (MHz) channels and seven 160 MHz channels—essentially eliminating today’s Wi-Fi Congestion problems faced by Fi networks. A connected vehicle will be able to connect to a home or business network or electric vehicle (EV) charging station and achieve the best possible connection at that location. This will allow terabytes of telematics data to be uploaded or new firmware to be downloaded at higher speeds without interference or network congestion.

■ 160 MHz wide channel: Today, existing connected cars are 80 MHz capable due to Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6E’s 160 MHz capability enables speeds of 2.4 GB per second (Gbps) in a 2×2 MIMO architecture, which is 2.5 times faster when connected to an external Wi-Fi 6E network. For an infotainment system that distributes content as a hotspot in the car, even a 160 MHz single-stream network can provide 1.2 Gbps of capacity; enough to serve multiple passenger devices, rear-seat displays, wireless cameras, and more at the same time. This greatly reduces the complexity and cost structure of the wireless subsystem while meeting next-generation requirements.

■ Higher speeds with advanced Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM): In Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, higher modulations are applied to all three frequency bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. As mentioned above, 5 GHz and 6 GHz are 2.5 times faster than Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 also increases 2.4 GHz speed and capacity by about 2x with advanced QAM. For a given amount of data transfer, higher speed means shorter talk time, which results in lower power consumption.

■ Extended Range: Part of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 states that Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E include range enhancements with a more robust packet structure. This new feature improves all modulation and coding scheme (MCS) rate ranges. As connected cars increasingly utilize external Wi-Fi infrastructure to upload data, automakers can take advantage of the uplink extended range feature to improve the performance of the connecting link.

■ Low Latency: Currently only Wi-Fi 6E devices can access the 6 GHz band. Thus, the use of 6 GHz will effectively be a greenfield, reserving more efficient protocols for low-latency and time-sensitive applications. Automakers implementing Wi-Fi 6E in infotainment systems can advertise a better user experience, enabling rich multimedia and gaming services or telephony connectivity such as Carplay.

Transformation and upgrading of automobiles, planting new technologies of WiFi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

Transform the value chain and monetize

In addition to benefiting automakers and consumers, smart, connected vehicles reward other partners in the value chain.

■ Insurance providers can partner with automakers to offer individual drivers customized policies based on driving behavior such as route selection, braking patterns and trip length. They will use massive cloud data and sophisticated algorithms to analyze policy risks and provide innovative solutions.

■ As EV charging becomes more commonplace, automakers can partner with EV charging providers to offer rich cloud services while the car is charging and connected to the EV charging network via Wi-Fi.

The possibilities for connected cars to open up new partnerships and profitable business opportunities beyond traditional means for automakers through data analytics are endless.

Connectivity has increasingly become the flagship feature of any automaker. Consumers expect connectivity everywhere and seamless service, whether in the car, parked at home, or waiting at an electric vehicle charging station. Wi-Fi is ubiquitous and will remain the most powerful and cost-effective connectivity technology for automakers to create differentiation and unlock new revenue streams.

[1] IDC Research, January 2022

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Author: Yoyokuo