SK Telecom (SKT), the largest mobile operator in South Korea, is testing Wi-Fi technology based on the IEEE 802.11ax standard which delivered speeds of up to 4.8Gb/s at its R&D centre in Seoul.

In a statement, the operator said it is testing the performance in various deployment scenarios with a view to releasing access points in 2018, in particular in “high traffic density areas”.

SKT added chipset manufacturers have already released 802.11ax smartphone silicon capable of delivering theoretical data rates of up to 1.2Gb/s to devices running two antennas using 80MHz of spectrum. Smartphones featuring the chips are also due to be available in 2018, the operator noted.

The maximum data rate achieved during SKT’s trials is nearly four-times faster than the 1.3Gb/s peak rate available on current 801.11ac technology. With four antennas transmitting data, 802.11ax uses 160MHz in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, which is twice the spectrum of 802.11ac.

“By introducing the technology for next-generation Wi-Fi that can deliver as fast as 5G technology, we at SK Telecom have successfully laid the foundation to offer better mobile services,” said Park Jin-hyo, SVP and head of Network Technology R&D Centre at SKT.

The operator added it participated in South Korea’s 802.11ax standard research group led by the Ministry of Science and ICT, along with small- and mid-sized companies.