Wi-Fi 6 certified devices will be able to operate in the 2.5 and 5GHz bands and will include new features such as orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), multi-user multiple input/output, transmit beamforming, and more. (Image credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)
Wi-Fi has been slowly trickling out over the past year with several companies adopting the standard in their telecom chips... the Wi-Fi Alliance has opened the floodgates by officially launching the Wi-Fi 6 certification standard. It's also known as 802.11ax. According to the Alliance, “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 provides the foundation for a host of current and emerging uses from streaming ultra high-definition movies, to mission-critical business applications requiring high bandwidth and low latency, to staying connected and productive while traversing large, congested networks in airports and train stations.” It has a theoretical speed of 10Gbps, if you're wondering.
It’s not uncommon for people to have more than one wireless device in their homes or on their person- smartphones, tablets, laptops, IoT, and other smart devices. The more devices connected to a wireless network at once tends to slow that network, even to a crawl. Wi-Fi 6 takes that congestion into account and brings a host of new technologies that are combined to make Wi-Fi more efficient and faster.
Those new capabilities include orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), which shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latencies, as well as multi-user multiple input/multiple output that provides more downlink data to be transferred at one time. There’s also 160MHz channel utilization for increased bandwidth, and Target Wait Time (TWT) for improved network efficiency and device battery life.
Rounding out the feature set is a 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM) for increased throughput for emerging bandwidth-intensive applications, and beamforming, which provides higher data rates at given ranges to increase network capacity. It’s safe to say that the new Wi-Fi 6 standard was designed to handle the increased adoption of mobile devices that increases exponentially every year, which currently stands at over 9-billion and continues to grow.
The Wi-Fi Alliance states, “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 devices bring enhanced performance to emerging applications such as virtual and augmented reality used in e-Learning, telepresence, and healthcare. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 also provides carriers and public Wi-Fi operators with more capabilities to support advanced connectivity in retail, stadiums, and transportation hubs, including a growing array of location-based applications and services.
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