The telecommunication user equipment is currently at full speed in terms of innovation and evolving too fast, faster than the EMC world could ever catch up. One of them is the evolution of WIFI standards. For those who are not familiar with WIFI standards, you may want to look up the internet that currently we are in the WIFI 6 or 6E (6/6E) generation. What is WIFI 6 you asked? Well, if the number 802.11 rings some bell, yes, WIFI 4/5/6/7 are the new names that have been given to 801.11 (perhaps an easier name to remember, similar to the cellular generation i.e. 5G). The term 6E means extended frequency to 7.125 Ghz actually, not just 6GHz! Hence, we should be worried. Why? Read on.
Back to our objectives, in the compatibility world, is your equipment immune to these frequencies up to 7GHz? Currently, for example, many emission tests in CISPR32 are only performed up to 6Ghz (as requested by customers). We are short of about 1Ghz of bandwidth in an unknown region. All this while, I have been stressing how your equipment has to be immune to this intentional interference to be able to operate smoothly and perhaps safely. However, things got a little more complicated with WIFI 6/6E. In previous WIFI generations, the quality of service (QoS) isn’t that important. The quality of service is deemed as the best effort. While in WIFI 6/6E, the QoS is taken into account very seriously that the QoS should be now regarded as the highest effort. Three aspects of WIFI 6/6E are high efficiency, high speed, and high reliability.
Well, on top of that, there is massive modulation improvement, bandwidth, and etc that you can read yourself on the internet. In case you have not noticed, these improvements are very sensitive to noise and have a limit of how much the signal-to-noise ratio that it can withstand to operate. In this situation, we should be worried about our own equipment becoming an unintentional radiator i.e. radiated emission. Your emission will be affecting how WIFI 6/6E equipment is going to operate. Theoretically, there are more users able to connect to an WIFI 6/6E access point (AE) for a 8×8 MIMO system. Imagine the amount of interference.
Back to the immunity issue of your equipment, if you think that WIFI signal, either 4,5, or 6 is not a coupling issue, be very surprised that when you hooked a measuring equipment onto your power rail, be amazed at how easy it has coupled into your power system. And that is only the power rail.
You better be quick before mutation occurs at WIFI 7 802.11BE: Extremely High Throughput (EHT) ETA 2023.
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