Difference between 5G and Wi-Fi 6Irene
Recently, I’ve found a lot of discussion on forums about 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and a lot of people are interested in both technologies.
As far as I know, Nokia HA-020W-C, HUAWEI 5G CPE Pro, HUAWEI 5G Mobile WiFi Pro are all WiFi6 ONTs. I also read one of the posts describing the differences between the two technologies: 5G VS. Wi-Fi 6.
Today, I want to continue to discuss the differences between the two, and I’m going to describe the differences more simply and directly in the form of a table:
|Supported Frequency Bands||low-frequency band (< 1 GHz), medium frequency band (1–7 GHz), high-frequency band (24–29 GHz)||2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz|
|channel edge||Max. 100 MHz (Sub 6 GHz), Max. 400 MHz (mmWave)||20, 40, 80, 160 MHz|
|Spectrum Type||Licensed spectrum (including unlicensed spectrum and dedicated network spectrum)||unlicensed spectrum|
|Carrier Aggregation||Supported||Supported (40, 80, 160, or 80 + 80)|
|Channel Access Mechanism||OFDMA||OFDMA|
|MIMO||Outdoor: 64T64R-16 streams Indoor: 4T4R-4 streams||8T8R/12T12R-8 streams|
|Latency||eMBB: 4ms uRLLC: 0.5ms||20ms|
|Inter-cell interference control capability||Strong||Weak|
|Coverage Area||100-300 m (small cell),
up to dozens of km (macro base station)
|Less than 50 m (indoor),
up to 300 m (outdoor)
|Deployment Cost||High (enterprise LAN coverage)
Low (macro site coverage)
|Deployment and O&M Capabilities||High||Low|
Traditionally, cellular networks work on licensed spectrum, and Wi-Fi works on unlicensed spectrum. But in the 5G era, this division is becoming blurred. On the one hand, some countries, such as Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France, and the United States, have allocated a localized spectrum for 5G private networks. Enterprises can use the spectrum after applying for approval. On the other hand, the NR-U defined in the standard is originally a 5G radio operating on an unlicensed spectrum. In this trend alone, Wi-Fi 6 faces greater competitive pressure from cellular networks than previous generations.
Cellular networks are designed for mobility and have a natural advantage over Wi-Fi. However, Wi-Fi can also support inter-AP roaming through the gateway, allowing the WLAN to be extended to a larger range. However, 5G has mature reselection, handover, and redirection mechanisms. Wi-Fi 6 requires disconnection and reconnection, resulting in longer roaming interruptions.
Because the licensed spectrum allows for higher transmit power, 5G Small Cells typically have a range of 100 to 300 meters, which is larger than indoor Wi-Fi (usually within 50 meters).
Wi-Fi 6 chips are cheaper than 5G chips and have significant cost advantages.
For wide-area coverage, 5G has advantages in coverage capability and can reuse the existing 2G/3G/4G site deployment. The deployment cost is lower than that of Wi-Fi. However, in enterprise LAN scenarios, the costs of building 5G networks and deploying terminals are much higher than those of Wi-Fi. However, 5G has advantages in anti-interference, reliability, low latency, multi-connection, and mobility. For services that have higher requirements on latency and reliability, such as automatic control, 5G private networks still need to be deployed. In the medium and long term, it is believed that 5G dedicated network deployment costs will decrease. Once the costs are reduced to a low enough level, more enterprises will consider replacing some or all Wi-Fi networks with 5G.
Overall, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are both competitors and complements. At the same time, as technologies and applications evolve and enter the 5G and Wi-Fi 6 era, the boundary between cellular networks and Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly blurred.