Wi-Fi 6: What’s Different, and Why it Matters

Wi-Fi 6 is the new generation wireless standard faster than 802.11ac. More than speed, it will offer better performance in congested areas, stadiums at your home filled with appliances. He arrives in 2019.

Wi-Fi has version numbers now

Visuals from the Wi-Fi Alliance for device manufacturers.

Yes, Wi-Fi now has version numbers! Even those old confusing standard Wi-Fi names such as "802.11ac" have been renamed to friendly names like "Wi-Fi 5".

Here are the versions of Wi-Fi you will see:

  • Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n, published in 2009.
  • Wi-Fi 5 is 802.11ac, published in 2014.
  • Wi-Fi 6 is the new version, also known as 802.11ax. Its release is scheduled for 2019.

The Wi-Fi Alliance also ad would like these numbers to appear in the software so that you can know which Wi-Fi network is the newest and fastest when connecting to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You may see Wi-Fi numbers on your phone, tablet, or laptop soon.

Older versions of Wi-Fi are not widely used and are not officially registered. But if they were, here is what they would call themselves:

  • Wi-Fi 1 would have been 802.11b, published in 1999.
  • Wi-Fi 2 would have been 802.11a, also published in 1999.
  • Wi-Fi 3 would have been 802.11g, published in 2003.

Wi-Fi faster

As usual, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer speeds. If you are using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, the maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 over Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this through more efficient data encoding, resulting in higher throughput. Primarily, more data is stored in the same radio waves. The chips that code and decode these signals become more and more powerful and can handle the extra work.

This new standard even increases speeds on 2.4 GHz networks. While the industry has moved to 5GHz Wi-Fi to reduce interference, 2.4GHz technology is still more effective at penetrating solid objects. And there should not be as much interference with the 2.4 GHz frequency as old cordless phones and wireless baby monitors are turned off.

Longer battery life

A new "target wake-up time" (TWT) feature means that your smartphone, laptop and other Wi-Fi enabled devices should also have a longer battery life.

When the access point communicates with a device (such as your smartphone), it can tell it exactly when to put its Wi-Fi radio in standby and exactly when to wake up to receive the next transmission. This will save energy, as it means that the Wi-Fi radio can spend more time in standby mode. And that means a longer life of the battery.

This will also help with low power "Internet of Things"Devices that connect via Wi-Fi.

Better performance in overcrowded areas

Wi-Fi tends to get bogged down when you're in a cluttered area with many Wi-Fi enabled devices. Imagine a stadium, an airport, a hotel, a shopping center or even a cluttered office with everyone connected to Wi-Fi -Fi.You will probably have a slow Wi-Fi connection.

The new Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, incorporates many new technologies. Intel Trumpets, Wi-Fi 6 will improve "at least four times" the average speed of each user in congested areas with many devices connected.

This would not apply only to busy public places. This could apply to your home if many devices are connected to Wi-Fi or if you live in a dense apartment complex.

How to Wi-Fi 6 Congestion Battles

Qualcomm touts various features that make up "11ax", now Wi-Fi 6.

You do not really need to know the details. A Wi-Fi 6 access point with a Wi-Fi 6 device will work better. But here's what's happening under the hood:

Wi-Fi 6 can now divide a wireless channel into a large number of subchannels. Each of these subchannels can carry data for a different device. This is achieved through something called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, or OFDMA. The point of Wi-Fi access can communicate with multiple devices at the same time.

The new unmanned standard has also been improved MIMO – Multiple In / Multiple Out. This involves multiple antennas, which allows the access point to communicate with multiple devices at once. With Wi-Fi 5, the access point can communicate with the devices at the same time, but these devices can not respond at the same time. Wi-Fi 6 has an enhanced version of multi-user or MU-MIMO This allows the devices to respond to the wireless access point at the same time.

Wireless access points close to each other can transmit on the same channel. In this case, the radio listens and waits for a clear signal before responding. With Wi-Fi 6, wireless access points close to each other can be configured to have different "colors" of Basic Service Sets (BSS). This "color" is a number between 0 and 7. If a device verifies if the channel is everything is clear and tuned, it may notice a transmission with a weak signal and a different "color". He can then ignore this signal and still send without waiting. This will improve performance in congested areas. It is also called "spatial frequency". reuse. "

These are just some of the most interesting things, but the new Wi-Fi standard also includes many more modest enhancements. Wi-Fi 6 will also include an upgrade beam formation, for example.

Search for "Wi-Fi 6" and "Wi-Fi 6 Certified"

When it comes to acquiring a new device, you will not look in the datasheet or try to remember if the 802.11ac or 802.11ax standard is the most recent standard. The maker of the device can say that he has "Wi-Fi 6" or "Wi-Fi 5".

You'll also start seeing the "Wi-Fi Certified 6" logo on devices that have gone through the Wi-Fi Alliance certification process. Previously, there was a "Wi-Fi Certified" logo that did not tell you the generation of a product, unless you looked at the specifications.

I hope that these Wi-Fi routers 6 should support WPA3 for easier secure connections to Wi-Fi networksalso, but WPA3 support is not required.

When will you get it?

ASUS announced its RT-AX88U router. It incorporates some 802.11ax technologies but does not support the final standard, which is not yet finished.

Some routers may already be advertising "802.11ax technology", but Wi-Fi 6 has not been finalized yet. There is also no Wi-Fi 6 client device available today.

The Wi-Fi Alliance expects the standard to be finalized and the material released in 2019. You should not even think about it: in the future, new routers, smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. Fi compatible devices will come with this technology.

As always, the sender and the recipient must support the latest generation of Wi-Fi to enjoy the benefits. In other words, if you want to enjoy Wi-Fi performance 6 on your phone, you'll need a wireless router (point of access) and a smartphone taking in. 6. If you connect a laptop that supports only Wi-Fi 5 on your Wi-Fi router 6, this particular connection will work in Wi-Fi mode 5. But your router can still use Wi-Fi 6 with your phone at the same time.

Version numbers are excellent but are not required

We are excited about the version numbers. It's a simple and easy change that should have been done a long time ago. It should be much easier for normal people to understand Wi-Fi. After all, many people can get faster Wi-Fi speeds by upgrade their home routers– but everyone does not know it.

However, the Wi-Fi Alliance has no power to compel companies to use these version numbers, although they "encourage" companies to adopt them. Some manufacturers may ignore these version numbers and simply call the new generation of Wi-Fi "802.11ax". Many companies will probably not be in a hurry to rename the existing 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 5 either.

We hope that most businesses will quickly adopt the new naming system.

Image credit: Sergey91988/Shutterstock.com, Wi-Fi Alliance, Intel, Qualcomm, ASUS

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