Wifi 6 Logo

Wifi 6 or 802.11ax or ‘high-efficiency wireless’ is going to be better and faster. It will bring with it new wireless capabilities ushering in next-generation networks that are faster and have less congestion. Wifi 6 offers quadruple the throughput to users even in crowded spaces, and it boosts device battery life due to its power efficiency.

According to Intel, wifi 6 brings the following:

  • More bandwidth per user in ultra-HD and virtual reality streaming
  • Increased throughput thus support for simultaneous streams of data
  • More spectrum (2.4GHz and 5GHz which bands in 1GHz and 6GHz)
  • Support more routes for communication
  • Better performance (4x) at the maximum range of an access point
  • Better performance in outdoor and cluttered environments
  • Offloading wireless traffic from cellular networks in cases where reception is poor

802.11n vs 802.11ac vs 802.11ax

Wifi 4Wifi 5Wifi 6
Released200920132019
Bands2.4GHz & 5GHz5GHz2.4GHz & 5GHz, spanning to 1GHz – 7GHz eventually
Channel Bandwidth20MHz, 40MHz (40MHz optional)20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, 80+80MHz & 160MHz (40MHz support made mandatory)20MHz/40MHz @ 2.4GHz, 80MHz, 80+80MHz & 160MHz @ 5GHz
FFT Sizes64, 12864, 128, 256, 51264, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048
Subcarrier Spacing312.5kHz312.5kHz78.125 kHz
OFDM Symbol Duration3.6ms (short guard interval) 4ms (long guard interval)3.2ms (0.4/0.8ms cyclic prefix)12.8ms (0.8/1.6/3.2ms cyclic prefix)
Highest Modulation64-QAM256-QAM1024-QAM
Data RatesRanging from 54Mb/s to 600Mb/s (max of 4 spatial streams)600Mb/s (80MHz, 1 spatial stream) 9607.8Mb/s (160MHz, 8 spatial stream)
SU/MU-MIMO-OFDM/ASU-MIMO-OFDMSU-MIMO-OFDM Wave 1, MU-MIMO-OFDM Wave 2MU-MIMO-OFDMA
Comparison between the 3 most recent wifi versions

Expanding wifi 6 to Include 6GHz

Companies propose that 6GHz is opened to unlicensed technologies and split into four sub-bands with different technical rules and interference protections. The additional spectrum was also to deal with increased demand for wifi.

“By opening this entire band to unlicensed radio local access network operations, the Commission allows us to bring consumers faster service, lower latency, and more pervasive coverage, and allow the nation to reap the economic and public safety benefits that are associated with unlicensed technologies,” the companies wrote in their proposal to the FCC in the USA.

All these newer and improved frequencies and spectrums some of which are unlicensed; comprise among other things 5G

View of wifi 6

Analyzing wifi 6 more broadly, multi-user support and in particular, the increase in simultaneous upstream connections arrives parallel to an increased demand for user data. Data consumed from IoT (Internet of Things) devices and used for purposes which include machine learning, fueling artificial intelligence, the future of technology and the ever-growing digital economy.

And with routers available that have allocations to allow these spectrums, we are ready.

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