Max: the Wi-Fi that’s a Match for WWE (and Taylor Swift)

These days, being event-ready is a more digital experience than ever before. Around one in five smartphone users in the United States are interested in live video broadcasting, and one third of Facebook’s 1.6 billion plus users have watched a live video of a celebrity, politician, musician, or other influencer. Attending an event like a game or a concert now goes hand-in-hand with the ability to livestream and upload content to share with friends and family. To do that, event goers largely depend on Wi-Fi.

We’ve seen Wi-Fi in action at events such as Taylor Swift shows and Wrestlemania: in 2015, Taylor Swift fans used more than 3 terabytes of data in a single night—two nights in a row—during Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, and fans at Levi’s Stadium for Wrestlemania 31 used over 4.5 terabytes of data. That’s a truly impressive amount of data. What’s even more impressive is that fans are continuing to use even more data: fans at Super Bowl 2017 generated a whopping 11.8 terabytes of data.

Sports and music fans have depended on Wi-Fi to handle their data needs, and it has delivered. However, Max WiFi—built on the latest generation of Wi-Fi—would seriously upgrade WiFi capacity, reducing the strain on the venue’s wireless networks.

For starters, devices equipped with Max WiFi have some serious bandwidth. With Max WiFi, they can use twice as much bandwidth as the best-in-class Wi-Fi devices running on the current standard, 802.11ac. Max WiFi is also much more efficient, thanks to Target Wake Time (TWT) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology. Max WiFi can deliver more data at blazing fast speeds—up to six times faster than today’s Wi-Fi standard. Stuck up in the nosebleed seats? No problem. Max WiFi also lets event goers enjoy four times more range. Because Max WiFi is so efficient, devices that use it don’t need to work as hard to connect to a network or to send a livestream, meaning they can also stay online longer—Max WiFi delivers a battery life that lasts seven times longer.

That means more Snapchats of Taylor Swift, more video chatting with the people you love as your favorite wrestlers battle it out in the ring, and more seamless livestreaming so that you can share that perfect touchdown in the moment—no matter where you are. Plus, you won’t need to worry about your signal cutting out: Max WiFi eliminates Wi-Fi dead zones and has you covered, whether you’re inside in a private box or out in the stands.

It’s time that we had a Wi-Fi standard that’s as social as we are. No matter where your event is or how crowded it is, Max Wi-Fi can help you livestream and upload more, faster. For more about Max WiFi technology, visit maxwifi.org.

What’s Next for Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi has come a long way in the past quarter-century. Prompted by engineer Michael Marcus, in May of 1985 the FCC released a ruling opening up spectrum—including the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz frequencies—in what was then called “junk bands.”

The first iteration of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997, offering up speeds of up to 2 Mbps. “This was updated,” TechWorm’s Vijay Prabhu writes, in 1999 with 802.11b to permit 11 Mbit/s link speeds, and this proved to be popular.”

Then came, over the next few years, 802.11a/g, 802.11n, the current 802.11ac standard—and now the latest standard, 802.11ax, also known as Max WiFi. With each subsequent Wi-Fi standard, users have been able to enjoy faster and faster speeds than ever before. Wi-Fi technology has become a critical component of our world, and demand for it has never been higher and continues to grow. More than 15 billion Wi-Fi connected devices were shipped around the planet in 2016 according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, and IEEE anticipates that there will be 50 billion connected wireless devices by 2022. Gartner estimates that an average family of four will have about 50 connected devices by then.

Unfortunately, that intense demand is where the current Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, begins to meet its match. “Previous generations of Wi-Fi,” Network World’s Zeus Kerravala writes, “assumed more casual use and that there would be far more downloading of information than uploading.” Current consumer trends—demand for more data, with more devices, for more downloading and uploading—challenge even the fastest Wi-Fi networks as we expect them to accomplish more, faster, while handling more connected devices simultaneously. 802.11ac can hold its own well enough with five to eight connected devices per access point, but its performance declines when you add more devices.

Enter Max WiFi. “This next generation of Wi-Fi was engineered for the world we live in,” notes Kerravala, “where everything is connected and there’s an assumption that upload and download traffic will be equivalent. For years, the goal has been to make each Wi-Fi standard faster. Not anymore.

Max WiFi is built for capacity, not just speed. Sure, it’s fast—on average, up to six times faster than the current standard can offer—but that’s not what’s most exciting about this groundbreaking standard. Max WiFi has been expertly crafted to make the best possible use of available spectrum, thanks in large part to orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and scheduling technologies like Target Wake Time (TWT).

OFDMA allows Max WiFi to direct data traffic in a much more efficient way than the current Wi-Fi standard can, and adding TWT to Max WiFi upgrades that already impressive efficiency. Beyond making for enviable specs, this also makes for real-life benefits for users in both enterprise and residential environments. Thanks to this hyper-efficient Wi-Fi standard, people will be able to use many more connected devices, up to six times faster, at four times the range, and with up to seven times longer battery life.

With Max Wi-Fi, dead zones are also a thing of the past—you can get the highest-quality voice and video, on more devices and for longer, no matter where you are or how crowded your environment is. Max WiFi “will enable higher throughput that addresses fairness issues that,” Adrian Stephens, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group, admitted, “have been a challenge in some limited high-density deployments.” Max WiFi’s ability to handle high-density deployments will make it indispensable as the industry begins to take on 5G.

We’re way past looking solely at speed. Max WiFi offers the full package; the literal standard by which true excellence in wireless broadband may be set. The future is here, and it looks fantastic. For more about Max WiFi technology, visit maxwifi.org.  

Wi-Fi: Solving the Mystery of the Disappearing College Football Fan

Notre Dame football fans are legendary, and they’ve just hit a new record. They’ve hit the highest Wi-Fi traffic number ever recorded for a single-day college event, according to Mobile Sports Reports. At the Fighting Irish’s September 9th home game against Georgia, the Wi-Fi network saw 6.2 Terabytes of data traffic. That’s roughly equivalent to 1,620 hours of high-quality video! That’s impressive. What’s also impressive: attendance for the game was near capacity.

This is good news because it could mean the beginnings of a change for declining college football attendance. At the end of 2016, NCAA reported that home attendance at all major college football games was down–for the sixth consecutive year. The attendance decline is slowing, down by less than 1 percent in 2016 from 2015, thanks in part to college athletics departments taking a look at what fans want and trying their best to deliver.

Just a few years ago, very few professional stadiums and even fewer college stadiums provided free fan Wi-Fi. But schools are now fighting for fan’s attention from a competitor that is hard to beat: the cozy confines of a fan’s living room. So, beginning around 2012, teams began putting together plans to encourage fans to attend and engage, attempting to make the live game experience as comfortable and easy as the couch.

Enter Wi-Fi. It’s an amenity that many of us value over food and sleep, according to some studies. And it’s crucial, for many college football fans, for sending celebratory selfies, videos of victories, and photos of football fun. Beyond just straight Wi-Fi access, teams are also developing apps to help fans order concessions from their seats, offer in-venue reporting and use data to learn more about who is coming to games and what they need.

The real game changer for networks in these stadiums is the emergence of live video. From Facebook Live, to Snapchat and Instagram stories, consumers today expect to be able to share where they are and what they’re doing via video at any time. Facebook reports that 1 in every 5 Facebook videos is a Live broadcast. And more often than not, those live broadcasts are happening on university and college campuses (including in stadiums). In fact, in 44 states, colleges and university campuses are in the top 5 most instagrammed places in that state. For college football, this could translate into bigger sales: according to New York Magazine, 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or a similar one.

Depending on the size of the stadium, that means that 70,000-100,000 fans could be accessing their phones at once. That type of use cannot be handled by cellular providers alone. Even best-in-class Wi-Fi networks today need to be calibrated carefully to handle the increasing terabytes of data fans expect to throw around.

This situation is where Max WiFi shines: it makes better use of the limited spectrum available and can handle more devices, transmitting at the same time on one access point. And not only will fans in Max WiFi-enabled stadiums experience faster, more reliable connections, but they’ll get better battery life, too. Because Max WiFi is so efficient, devices don’t need to work as hard to connect to a network or to send a livestream, meaning they can stay online longer.

We’re looking forward to transforming college gameday with Max.