Wi-Fi 6 – The Next Step In The Evolution Of Wireless Networks

As we have noted in other articles, Wi-Fi networks have so far become an integral part of our lives that for many people the availability of a working Wi-Fi connection is of importance commensurate with the basic physiological needs of eating and sleep.

Wi-Fi 6 - the next step in the evolution of wireless networks
Wi-Fi 6 – the next step in the evolution of wireless networks

The new IEEE 802.11ax standard, which will be popularized under the Wi-Fi 6 name, aims to meet the ever-increasing demands of users for consistent connectivity and high performance in a device overcrowded by devices.

Why Wi-Fi 6?

Before going into the details of the new wireless standard, let’s take a look at the new naming approach that will be introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Currently, wireless standards are labeled 802.11 followed by one or two letters.

This hinders orientation and often leads to confusion for the average user, who is often unclear whether, for example, 802.11n or 802.11ac provides a better communication connection.

It is precisely because of this that these incomprehensible from the point of view of the consumer are yet to be simplified by introducing the use of only one digit. Here’s how they will look under the new naming scheme (note that Wi-Fi tags 1-4 in this case are conditional for illustration):

Commercial designation standard year of submission
(Wi-Fi 1) 802.11b 1999
(Wi-Fi 2) 802.11a 1999
(Wi-Fi 3) 802.11g 2003
(Wi-Fi 4) 802.11n 2009
Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac 2014
Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax 2019

So it is already clear that Wi-Fi 6 is better Wi-Fi 5, much as its numeric designation is. In the future, these numbers are also viewable on the devices themselves when the list of available networks is displayed so that the user can choose to connect to a faster network. New names are expected to appear in 2019 and be widespread by 2020

What does the new Wi-Fi 6 standard offer:

  • Faster wireless connection:

    As you can expect, the new standard provides better speeds. When using a single router device, up to 40% faster data transfer than Wi-Fi 5 is possible. More efficient data encryption allows more information to be transmitted in the same radio frequency band. This is true for both 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz frequencies. Speed ​​is the main advantage of the new standard;

  • Better performance in radio-saturated areas:

    Wi-Fi connection is usually worsened in places where multiple devices are connected at the same time – stadiums, airports, hotels, shopping centers and so on. Wi-Fi 6 uses several technologies to deal with this problem. Two of them are essential:

    • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) – Wi-Fi 6 can divide a single channel into a number of sub-channels. Each of them can carry data to different devices. Thus, the access point communicates with multiple devices simultaneously;
    • Improved MU-MIMO (Multi-user Multiple In / Multiple Out) – This technology allows the router to communicate with multiple devices in real time instead of broadcasting to a single device first, then to each other. Currently, MU-MIMO allows routers to communicate with four devices at a time. With the improved revision of this technology, Wi-Fi 6 will allow devices to communicate with up to eight at a time.
  • Longer battery life:

    With the new “target wake time” (TWT) feature, the router can tell the connected device (such as a smartphone) when to put your radio in sleep mode and when to activate it to get the next trasfer. This saves energy and the device’s battery lasts longer;

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