What? WiFi technology has names and versions now?
For those of you living under a rock, it does. Wireless internet technology has been evolving ever since its inception. If you intend to understand this article on WiFi 6 better, we highly recommend you take a quick few minutes to read the evolution of WiFi. This post will orient you to the facts around the onset of WiFi, its different versions and benefits.
Once done, understand that the next iteration is on its way. WiFi 6 will bring some radical changes to the already existing wireless standards in the market today. However, one of the first changes will be in its naming conventions.
To become more user-friendly, WiFi standard protocols will be renamed in ways that could be easily understood by laymen, who are ultimately the end-users of this technology.
Now before we understand what WiFi 6 is and what it has in store for us, let’s understand better our current generation of wireless standards.
Replacing the slower WiFi 4, WiFi 5 arrived as one of the most superior wireless standards in the market. It came with a lot of modifications and changes to keep up with the increasing portability and mobility demands. With WiFi 5, we got to experience:
With the next generation of wireless products, things are going to get only better. There is the simultaneous rise of devices that autonomously connect to the internet and form an ecosystem of their own. What technology calls the Internet of Things!
As more number of devices connected to the internet and ultimately the cloud, the wireless standards must be strong enough to accommodate these changes. Before we get into this, let’s quickly understand some of the basic advantages of WiFi 6 offers.
Speed is one of the first advantages of WiFi 6. Internet speeds with this latest standard are expected to increase by 40% compared to its previous generation. This data transmission rate is achieved through an efficient data encoding system, where more chunks of data are packed into the same radio waves. The under-the-hood chips that take care of encoding and decoding these signals have become more powerful with the upcoming standard.
This data transmission rate increases the internet speeds of even 2.4 GHz networks.
One of the significant improvements in WiFi 6 is the implementation of a technology called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. In simple words, this technology can classify one wireless channel into several sub-channels and each of these sub-channels have the ability to carry data for different devices.
Improved MIMO is another aspect to this. This technology is the deployment of more antennas on a device to foster better communication between connected devices. With WiFi 5, only the access points could communicate with connected devices but not the other way around. But with WiFi 6, connected devices can respond to access points as well.
This makes this latest wireless standard to be implemented in public areas like airports, stadiums, malls and other busy locations. Tying this back to the implementation of IoT, where companies, retail stores and cities are moving towards becoming smart, WiFi 6 can power this transformation by communicating with more devices at once.
Globalization and mobility are not new terms in the market but 4K UHD video conferencing currently, most of is the business meetings and video conferences start and end with just one question – “Can you hear me?” Lags and glitches are some of the meeting agendas today.
With WiFi 6, that won’t be the case as it will provide the necessary connectivity speeds and power to allow seamless video conferencing at 4K resolutions. This means you could see a CEO sweating in a video conferencing board meeting.
Another way of saying reduced power consumption would be longer battery life. Now, this is possible because of a new feature called Target Wake Time. With this implementation, an access point can exactly dictate a connected device like a tablet, laptop or a smartphone to put its wireless radio to sleep mode and when to turn it on again once the transmission is triggered. As the device awaits signals from the access point, it rests in sleep mode, conserving the battery life of connected devices.
So far, there’s not much information about its availability in the market. While its offerings look promising, we still have to wait a little longer to experience mass utilization and implementation of WiFi 6. As such, there are no vendors or client devices with this technology out yet.
But when they’re out, the new naming protocols would ensure everyone can understand that it’s WiFi 6-ready. If speculations are to be believed, the next generation of iPhones will be compatible with WiFi 6 technology. Probably by the end of 2020, we could expect one of the most popular malls or public spaces to roll out its first set of WiFi 6 routers open to the public.