Wi-Fi 6 Explained? Here’s Everything You Can Find

February 23, 2019 by Shigraf Aijaz

Along with a change is date 2019 comes around with a new upgrade version of Wi-Fi. If you are a techie like me and have followed router development in the past recent years, you would know what I am talking about.

Yes, the most awaited 802.11ax or most commonly known as Wi-Fi 6 is finally here along with the promised upgrades. It is a step up in the Wi-Fi game the next generation technology.

Now, you all must be wondering about the upgrades, so here I have summed up everything you need to know about Wi-Fi 6:

Changed Name Scheming

Previously the Wi-Fi names were somewhat complex as they usually consisted of some numbers along with a string of random letters such as:

  1. 802.11ac released in (2013)
  2. 802.11n released in (2009)
  3. 802.11g released in (2003)
  4. 802.11a released in (1999)
  5. 802.11b released in (1999)

These tricky naming of Wi-Fi networks has been a real annoyance for anyone who wants to figure out what they actually mean. Not mention a nuisance to memorize. Now thankfully Wi-Fi 6 along with some awesome new upgrades comes along with a much easier name!

What lacks in Wi-Fi 5 that is in Wi-Fi 6?

The standard that is recently in use is referred to as Wi-Fi 5. Now the question arises that what exactly was lacking in Wi-Fi 5 that we felt the need to upgrade it to a much classier Wi-Fi 6? Well, the table below will hopefully answer your queries:

 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac)  Wi-Fi 6 ( 802.11 ax)
Works in 5 GHz range Works in 2GHz and 5GHz range
MU-MIMO works for downstream transmissions only MU-MIMO works with both downlink and uplink transmissions to provide simultaneous connections
Allows connection of up to 5 access points Allows connection to 8 access points
Uses OFDM Supports OFDMA

6 Definitely Guaranteed features of Wi-Fi 6

As aforementioned, Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of Wi-Fi available in the market.  This version has been introduced with the promise of a faster and a much more secure connection as compared to the recent Wi-Fi standard being used. Here are all the promised features:

1. Upgraded Speed

One of the key features that have forever grappled our interests is speed. Whenever we talk up of any updates speed is the first thing that crosses our mind, no?

Well, you can rest easy as Wi-Fi 6 comes up with much-improved speed performances.  Sure it won’t be as drastic as the one we experienced while shifting from Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 5 but there is a much significant improvement.

The speed and connectivity are however affected through with various obstructions such as walls or other signals. In the most ideal conditions, theoretically, the users experience a 40% increase in the Wi-Fi speeds.

The latest version provides high connectivity speeds by packing up more data into the same spectrum space. This is achieved through various much more enhanced chips that have outrun the previous counterparts.

With that being said speed has not been the main focus of the developers of Wi-Fi 6. Instead of speed Wi-Fi, 6 come along with a much more efficient connectivity setup.

Apart from this let’s go ahead and have a look at the number of various other enhancements in this new version: 

2. OFDMA enhancements

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access or preferably OFDMA is a particularly cool bit of technology. Now, this happens to be a tad bit tricky, but I’ve tried my best to simplify it.

This chunk of technology allows the improvement of latency, efficiency, and throughput.  The current in use Wi-Fi 5 or 802.11 ac used the OFDM technology. This had a method of using separate channels to carry the data of a specific client.

However, this method resulted in a massive wastage of data. The enhanced OFDMA technology chops up the data channel. As a result of this, the bandwidth of every device becomes collective causing no wastage of data.

Furthermore, this also causes an improvement in efficiency and a lower latency as multiple devices are now able to send data at the same time.

This method bundled up with MU-MIMO technology allows better connectivity to the same access point simultaneously.

Now am sure you all must be wondering what MU-MIMO is, so allow me to explain it next.

3. MU-MIMO upgrade

MU-MIMO or “Multi-user Multiple inputs, Multiple outputs,” technology for a techie like me is utmost fascination. This is a component that allows the one access point to have simultaneous connection to multiple devices. Awesome isn’t it?

Before mankind had been blessed with this technology, a Wi-Fi connection point had the liberty to connect to only one device at a time causing the other devices to wait.

The switch between one device, to other device was however so quick that it went unnoticeable, specifically if a small number of devices were connected. The problem, therefore, rose when a significantly large number of devices were connected.

A high number of device connections caused latency that is delayed response or drops in connections.

With much more improved Wi-Fi 6 connections these problems will cease to exist. This is because the new Wi-Fi 6 version allows a whopping 8 device simultaneous connection! Impressive isn’t it?

Now the previous wifi 4 and 5 versions also offered 5 device connections, but 8 is somehow better than 5, no?

4. Enhanced Spectrum Usage

This latest Wi-Fi 6 is said to operate is both 2.4 and 5 GHz channels. This would allow you to not only establish stable long-range connections, but the problems such as drops in connections would also disappear.

Some of the tech giants such as Apple and Facebook are also vouching for a release in 6 GHz bandwidth Wi-Fi usage. If this continues the connectivity issues due to congestion is bound to end.

5. Higher Battery Life

One feature that I absolutely fell in love with is the target wake up time feature (TWT) as it allows your smartphones, laptops and other devices to have higher battery life.

This feature allows the access points to tell your device when it should put its Wi-Fi radio to sleep and when to wake it up to allow transmission. This would enable the Wi-Fi radio to spend more time is hibernation and thus lead up to higher battery life.

6. BSS coloring enhancements

One of the major enhancements you would come across in Wi-Fi 6 is the BSS color improvements. Now, this doesn’t mean that it would automatically enhance the screen quality of your crappy devices, but rather it is more of an identifier.

It works by being connected to each data packet which allows it to identify which data network it is coming from.

Generally, the problem with recent Wi-Fi is not within the throughput, but rather the drop rate is affected by interference.  You see access points delay the transmission if there happen to be another data packet within range

BSS color, therefore, can tell which data packet is from other networks and successfully ignores them as long as they are low below the threshold level. This could thankfully allow the avoidance of setbacks.

Psyched about the new Wi-Fi set up?

Well, we all are pretty hyped about the new standard. With the latest promised improvements we all are definitely itching to get our hands on it!

Wi-Fi 6 is definitely something which is up to the standard of the lives we are living in. With the whole world revolutionized with technology, I think Wi-Fi 6 is definitely something that we needed.

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