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Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
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Wi-Fi 6 Explained: What’s New and Why You Might Be Interested

The latest generation of Wi-Fi, known as Wi-Fi 6, brings with it some significant performance improvements that aim to address limitations in older generations. While plenty of routers and clients are already available with chips using the 802.11ax certification, Wi-Fi 6 is just beginning its rollout. It will become part of the official IEEE specification in September 2020. This is ushering in a wave of updated devices touting new wireless capabilities that will contribute toward next-generation networks with more speed and less congestion.

Before we get too far, it’s important to understand that 802.11ax, also known as “high-efficiency wireless,” is the same thing as Wi-Fi 6. It’s just easier to say Wi-Fi 6 than 802.11ax.

This is a new naming standard set by the Wi-Fi Alliance, with previous generations now being known as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n). This labeling convention is expected to appear on devices as shown below.

Technically, Wi-Fi 6 has a single-user data rate that is 37% faster than 802.11ac, but what’s more significant is that the updated specification will offer four times the throughput per user in crowded environments, as well as better power efficiency which should translate to a boost in device battery life.

To achieve those improvements, 802.11ax implements a variety of changes including several multi-user technologies which have been borrowed from the cellular industry – namely MU-MIMO and OFDMA – techniques that greatly improve capacity and performance by enabling more simultaneous connections and a more thorough use of spectrum.

Home users who upgrade their hardware can look forward to some improvements from these technologies, especially over time as the number of devices per household increases – some estimates suggest there will be as many as 50 nodes per home by 2022.

While Wi-Fi 6 isn’t designed to boost download speeds significantly, the new features will really shine as device count in an area increases. It has a more nuanced approach that is expected to bring move benefits over time. This will ultimately aid in laying a foundation for the number of nodes expected on upcoming smart infrastructure (e.g. Internet of Things devices). Along with addressing overlapping coverage from the sheer number of devices and network deployments emerging as IoT rolls out, Wi-Fi 6 will be equipped to handle the ever-increasing demand for faster multi-user data rates.

 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4)802.11ac Wave 2 (Wi-Fi 5)802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)Released200920132019Bands2.4GHz & 5GHz5GHz

2.4GHz & 5GHz, spanning to 1GHz – 6GHz eventually

Channel Bandwidth

20MHz, 40MHz (40MHz optional)

20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, 80 80MHz & 160MHz (40MHz support made mandatory)

20MHz/40MHz @ 2.4GHz, 80MHz, 80 80MHz & 160MHz @ 5GHz

Subcarrier Spacing

312.5kHz

312.5kHz

78.125 kHz

OFDM Symbol Duration

3.6us (short guard interval) 4us (long guard interval)

3.2us (0.4/0.8us cyclic prefix)

12.8us (0.8/1.6/3.2us cyclic prefix)

Highest Modulation

64-QAM

256-QAM

1024-QAM

Data Rates

Ranging from 54Mb/s to 600Mb/s (max of 4 spatial streams)

433Mb/s (80MHz, 1 spatial stream) 6933Mb/s (160MHz, 8 spatial stream)

600Mb/s (80MHz, 1 spatial stream) 9607.8Mb/s (160MHz, 8 spatial stream)

Channel Configuration

Single User MIMO & OFDM

Single User MIMO & OFDM Wave 1, Multi User MIMO & OFDM Wave 2

Multi User MIMO & OFDMA

Released in 2013, 802.11ac (now also known as Wi-Fi 5) was standardized in 2013. While this specification is largely adequate for today’s typical home usage, it only uses bands in the 5GHz spectrum and lacks the level of multi-user technologies that will support a growing number of devices connected at once.

expanded on 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4):

  • Wider channels (80MHz or 160MHz versus a max of 40MHz in the 5GHz band)
  • Eight spatial streams instead of four (spatial streams illustrated)
  • 256-QAM versus 64-QAM modulation (transmits more bits per QAM symbol)
  • Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) on 802.11ac Wave 2, enabling four downlink connections at once instead of only one on Single-User MIMO (still 1×1 on uplink)

The specification is backward compatible with previous standards, incorporating both 2.4GHz and 5GHz along with eventually expanding that spectrum to include bands in 1GHz and 6GHz when they become available.

Perhaps more noteworthy than the inclusion of this additional spectrum are the technologies that will put this bandwidth to use. With more spectrum available, Wi-Fi 6 can split the bandwidth into narrower (more) sub-channels, creating more avenues for clients and access points to communicate along with enabling support for additional devices on any given network. In the older 802.11n, you could essentially only have 3 separate channels going at once since there was so much overlap. This makes crowded areas like apartments a mess since everyone’s router is stepping on each others. 802.11ac added extra space in the 5GHz band, but 802.11ax does a much better job of handling this.

Another area to look at is multi-device performance on a single network. This is known as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output and allows a single device to communicate over multiple channels at once. It’s basically like having several wireless adapters connected to the same network. The extension of this on the access point end is called MU-MIMO or Multi-User MIMO. As the name suggests, it allows an access point to connect to multiple users at once through MIMO.

While Wi-Fi 5 can serve four users on downstream at once courtesy of MU-MIMO – a considerable improvement over the single-user MIMO on Wi-Fi 4 – this feature is not a requirement and was only added in newer 802.11ac devices. On paper, 802.11ax will increase that to eight users on both up and downlink, with the potential to deliver four simultaneous streams to a single client.

However, uplink MU-MIMO isn’t likely to see much use. Few if any current devices can benefit from four spatial streams, much less the eight supported on Wi-Fi 6, as most existing MU-MIMO-equipped smartphones and laptops only have 2×2:2 or 3×3:3 MIMO radios.

likes to put it, “the problem isn’t how fast Wi-Fi can go, but if the Wi-Fi network has enough capacity to handle the growing demand for many different connected devices and services.”

future of technology as a whole and a growing digital economy.

As mentioned in the introduction of this article, routers are already available based on draft 802.11ax specifications. We’re currently working on an updated mesh roundup featuring the newest Wi-Fi 6 devices, so stay tuned for that.

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