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What is WiFi 6 and What are Its Benefits
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
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.
802.11n will be WiFi 4 (the previous generation
launched in 2009)
802.11ac will be WiFi 5 (which is the current
generation launched in 2014)
802.11ax will be WiFi 6 (slated to release this year)
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
WiFi 5 So Far
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:
More wireless devices getting connected over a single
Higher data rates (compared to WiFi 4) over wider
Beamforming, where WiFi 5 products focused on channelling
signals in one strong direction that scattering weak signals across all
Enhanced connectivity even in densely populated places
(where there were too many devices connecting to one access point)
The power of the 5GHz spectrum, which resulted in
lesser interferences from other devices and more
WiFi 6 – What’s In the Store?
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.
The Benefits of WiFi 6
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
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.
4K UHD Video Conferencing
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.
Reduced Power Consumption
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
When Is It Available?
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.