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What is different, and why it applies

Wi-Fi 6 is the next-generation wireless standard that is faster than 802.11ac. More than speed, it will provide better performance in busy areas, from the stadium to your own unified home. It comes up to 2019.

Wi-Fi has version number now

Wi-Fi Alliance images for device manufacturers.

Yes, Wi-Fi now has version number! Also, the old confusing Wi-Fi default names like "802.11ac" have renamed user-friendly names like "Wi-Fi 5".

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

  • Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n, released in 2009.
  • Wi-Fi 5 is 802.11ac, released in 2014.
  • Wi-Fi 6 is the new version, also known as 802.11ax. It is scheduled to be released in 2019.

The Wi-Fi Alliance also announced that these numbers should appear in software so you can see which Wi-Fi network is newer and faster when connecting to your smartphone, tablet or laptop . You can see Wi-Fi numbers on your phone, tablet or laptop soon.

Older versions of Wi-Fi are not widely used and are not officially used.

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

Faster Wi-Fi

As usual, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer rates. If you are using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential rates should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this by more efficient data coding, results in higher throughput. More data is mainly filled in the same radio waves. The chips that encode and decode these signals are becoming more powerful and can handle the extra work.

This new standard also increases the speed of 2.4 GHz networks. While the industry has moved to 5GHz Wi-Fi for minor interference, 2.4GHz is even better to penetrate fixed objects. And it shouldn't be as much disruption to 2.4 GHz as old wireless phones and wireless child monitors are retired.

Longer battery life

A new "TWT" function time means that your smartphone, laptop and other Wi-Fi compatible devices should also have longer battery life.

When the access point speaks to a device (like your smartphone), it can tell the device when to put its Wi-Fi radio and sleep and exactly when to wake up to get the next transfer. This will save power as it means that Wi-Fi radio can spend more time in sleep mode. And that means longer battery life.

This also helps low power "Internet of Things" devices that connect via Wi-Fi.

Better Performance in Narrow Areas

Wi-Fi tends to be bogged down when you are in a narrow space with many Wi-Fi enabled devices. Picture a busy stadium, airport, hotel, mall or even a crowded office with everyone connected to Wi-Fi. You will probably have slow Wi-Fi.

The new Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, contains many new technologies to help with this. Intel trumpets like Wi-Fi 6 will improve each user's average speed by "at least four times" in busy areas with many connected devices.

This would not only apply to busy public places. It can apply to you at home if you have many devices connected to Wi-Fi, or if you live in a tight apartment position.

How Wi-Fi 6 Battles Congestion

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

You don't really need to know the details. A Wi-Fi 6 access point with a Wi-Fi 6 device works better. But here's what happens under the hood:

Wi-Fi 6 can now share a wireless channel in a large number of subchannels. Each of these subchannels can carry data for another device. This is achieved through something called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access or OFDMA. The Wi-Fi access point can talk to multiple devices at once.

The new, irreconcilable standard has also improved MIMO Multiple In / Multiple Out. This means several antennas, which allow the access point to talk to multiple devices simultaneously. With Wi-Fi 5, the access point could talk to devices simultaneously, but these devices could not respond simultaneously. Wi-Fi 6 has an enhanced version of multiple users or MU-MIMO that allows devices to respond to the wireless access point simultaneously.

Nearby wireless access points can transmit on the same channel. In this case, the radio is listening and waiting for a clear signal before being answered. With Wi-Fi 6, wireless access points in the vicinity can be configured to have different Basic Service Set (BSS) "colors". This "color" is only a number between 0 and 7. If a device checks if the channel is all ready and listens, it may notice a transmission with a weak signal and another "color". It can then ignore this signal and still transmit without waiting, so it improves performance in congested areas and is also called "room frequency reuse."

These are just some of the most interesting things, but the new Wi-Fi The standard also contains many minor improvements. Wi-Fi 6 will also include improved beam shaping, for example.

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

When it comes to buying a new device, you will not dig through the special sheet and try to remember if 802.11ac or 802.11ax is the one latest standard. The device manufacturer can say that it has "Wi-Fi 6" or "Wi-Fi 5".

You will also begin to see a "Wi-Fi 6 Certified" 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 which generation a product was from, unless you looked at the specifications.

Hopefully, these Wi-Fi 6 routers will support WPA3 for easier secure connections to Wi-Fi networks, but WPA3 support is not necessary.

When will you get it?

ASUS has announced its RT-AX88U router. It contains some 802.11ax techniques, but does not support the final standard, which is not yet complete.

Some routers may already advertise "802.11ax technology", but Wi-Fi 6 is not ready and yet. There are also no Wi-Fi 6 client devices.

Wi-Fi Alliance expects the standard to be completed and hardware released sometime in 2019. You should not even think about it Too much – in the future, new routers, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other Wi-Fi compatible devices only with this technology.

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

Version number is good but is not mandatory

We are proud of the version numbers. It is a simple, simple change that should have been done long ago. It should make it much easier for ordinary people to understand Wi-Fi. After all, many people can get faster Wi-Fi speeds by upgrading their home routers – but not everyone knows.

However, the Wi-Fi Alliance has no way of forcing companies to use these version numbers, even if they encourage "Companies to adopt them. Some manufacturers may ignore these version numbers and just call the new generation Wi-Fi" 802.11ax "instead. Many companies are unlikely to rush to rename existing 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 5.

We hope that most companies will quickly board the new naming system.

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

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