HPE Aruba Networking Blogs

HPE Aruba Networking and Akoustis win Wi-Fi NOW 2023 Best Enterprise Wi-Fi solution

By Farhan Hasnain, Senior Distinguished Technologist, HPE Aruba Networking

We are excited to share that Wi-Fi NOW has recognized us as the “2023 Best Enterprise Wi-Fi solution” for the HPE Aruba Networking 650 and 630 Series Wi-Fi 6E Access Points featuring patented ultra tri-band technology (UTB). These APs rely on state-of-the-art XBAW® filters from our collaborator, Akoustis, who shares this award. They are ideal for use cases that require low latency and high bandwidth—like high-definition video.

These Wi-Fi 6E APs are part of HPE Aruba Networking’s Unified Infrastructure that deliver secure, seamless, and reliable connectivity. Using HPE Aruba Networking Central with its AIOps capabilities, IT teams can streamline the network management and ensure optimal performance.

6 GHz Band and the importance of spectrum in Wi-Fi enterprise deployments

All enterprise Wi-Fi deployments are faced with how best to handle channel re-use. In deployments with multiple Wi-Fi APs to ensure full coverage, each AP will operate on specific Wi-Fi channels at any given time. When two neighboring APs operate on the same channel or even adjacent channels, interference issues can cause deteriorated client connectivity and lower quality of service.

With Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7, enterprises in many countries can take advantage of unlicensed 6 GHz spectrum, which more than doubles the number of channels available for faster speeds and wider channels. However, there is only a gap of 50 MHz between the 5 GHz band and the new 6 GHz band, which makes it that much more difficult to manage interference. 

Coexistence issues between 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands

What causes coexistence issues and why are they so challenging to fix? Coexistence issues occur when one channel is transmitting (aggressor) high RF energy, and the other is trying to receive (victim) simultaneously inside of the same access point. The issue is exacerbated when these channels are at the junction of 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands since the gap between the two is so small.

Traditional bandpass filters fall short of solving this coexistence issue because they are too coarse and can block significant portions of the 6 GHz channels (up to 1/3 of the 6 GHz channels in EMEA and 10% of the 6 GHz channels in North America) or the non-DFS channels at the upper edge of 5 GHz band. That’s why we developed a filtering solution with Akoustis that is fine-grained and dynamic, enabling APs to eliminate interference without sacrificing channels.

How does ultra tri-band filtering for Wi-Fi APs work?

Our ultra tri-band filtering solution combines hardware and software to dynamically apply Akoustis' XBAW® filters in a switched filter bank based on channels in 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, eliminating interference. This enables our Wi-Fi customers to fully realize the 6 GHz performance and capacity benefits and optimize their Wi-Fi 6E investments. It will also apply to the coexistence with 320 MHz channels, which is a new capability in Wi-Fi 7.

My colleague, Josh Schmelzle, describes how it works in greater detail, in his blog: The Wi-Fi 6E challenge: Bridging the (small) gap between 5 GHz and 6 GHz with ultra tri-band filtering.

Block diagram showing the high-level architecture for UTB

Block diagram showing the high-level architecture for UTB

Ultra tri-band filtering in Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 APs

Our Wi-Fi 6E APs (and in the future Wi-Fi 7 APs) with ultra tri-band filtering operate, maximize performance (range and throughput), and provide simultaneous service—without interference—on closely adjacent channels between bands, including the lowest available 6 GHz channel and highest available 5 GHz channel.

Ultra tri-band filtering becomes even more useful with Wi-Fi 7’s new capabilities: multi-link operation (in which channels from different bands can be combined) and ultra-wide 320 MHz channels. 320 MHz channels are tougher to deal with from an interference mitigation standpoint. This is because the amount of unwanted intermodulation energy outside of channel bandwidth is higher compared to narrower bandwidth channels. Multi-link operation (MLO) inherently promises lower latency by offering multiple channels. Using 320 MHz channels within MLO will achieve even lower latency and lead to enhanced experience in tomorrow's latency sensitive use cases. Both require RF front-end designs built on sophisticated, high-rejection analog filters and with ultra tri-band filtering. HPE Aruba Networking is well set to take advantage of these new Wi-Fi 7 features.

This recognition is a culmination of years of work with Akoustis on this innovative technology. We are already working with Akoustis on second-generation ultra tri-band filters for the next-generation of Wi-Fi APs that leverage multiple radios operating concurrently. We’re very proud of our collaboration  with them and this recognition by Wi-Fi NOW.

Additional Resources: