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SK Telecom cranks up speed of WiFi by four times

Sept 18,2018
SK Telecom said Monday it commercialized a next-generation WiFi service that is four times faster than existing services at key areas with dense traffic, including COEX in southern Seoul.

The new technology offers a maximum of 4.8 gigabits per second (Gbps) data speeds, which is about four times faster than the WiFi service commercialized in 2013, according to the mobile carrier.

The new “T WiFi AX” uses four antennas to transmit and receive radio waves and works on 160 megahertz bandwidth, twice as large as the bandwidth used by the existing WiFi services, according to SK Telecom. Broader bandwidth translates to faster data speeds just as eight-lane highways are better at relieving traffic congestion than four-lane highways. The bandwidth is spread across 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz bands.

The mobile carrier also cooperated with fixed-line service operator SK Broadband to offer network stability even in crowded areas.

Currently, SK Telecom has the new WiFi service operating in busy areas like COEX in Samseong-dong and U-Square, a large bus terminal in Gwangju. The mobile carrier said it will keep expanding services for nationwide coverage.

Customers, however, will not be feel a dramatic increase in data speeds with their existing smartphones, according to the mobile carrier.

“The WiFi service is built on a 802.11.ax standard set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers but smartphones in the market do not carry chips that meet that standard yet,” a spokesperson from SK Telecom said. “Phones released next year will carry chips that let users experience 1.2 Gbps data speeds.”

According to data from SK Telecom, the maximum data speeds for smartphones on WiFi connections until now was 866 megabits per second, and the speeds will continue to increase following upgrades in smartphone hardware.

The mobile carrier developed the technology last October. After test operations in various traffic scenarios, its technology and network equipment was approved for deployment by the Ministry of Science and ICT last month.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]