WiFi 6 - The breakthrough in WiFi

Many emerging technologies will profoundly change our lives – Bluetooth 5, 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and quantum computing. Why? Because our wearable and mobile devices are going to be able to generate and process more data than ever before, advancing user experiences in ways we could only dream about when watching sci-fi series’ like Star Trek.

For this article I am more interested in Wi-Fi 6, what it will do, why it is important to me now and if it will allow me to teleport? Don’t get too excited about teleportation, Wi-Fi 6 isn’t for that. Wi-Fi 6 (or 802.11ax) is built with IoT in mind and it is coming real soon. It will enable more 'Things' to be connect to more 'Things' with faster speeds. In fact, Wi-Fi 6 speeds are expected to range between four to ten times current Wi-Fi speeds with less power requirements.

The higher (and theoretical) speeds of Wi-Fi have been the primary focus on more recent evolutions of Wi-fi. In the real world, the explosive consumption of wireless devices now connecting to networks has proven to be a headache for network administrators when capacity is concerned.

Wi-Fi 6 is designed to add substantially higher capacity, better coverage and reduced congestion.

Wi-Fi 6 Increased Power Efficiency

The Wi-Fi 6 power efficiency improvements are made possible by a technology called Target Wake Time (TWT). TWT enables devices to determine when and how frequently they wake to send and receive data. This enhanced sleep feature significantly improves battery life for devices which is particularly important for IoT. Target Wake Time enables negotiation and specific times to access the 'Thing'. If there is less traffic, we also gain the added benefit of an optimised spectrum and better Wi-Fi user experience.

Wi-Fi 6 Uplink Resource Scheduler

Wi-Fi 6 has a managed approach for when devices send data which schedules them, so they don’t clash with each other. This gives better resource utilisation and an impressive increase in efficiency.

Wi-Fi 6 OFDMA (Orthogonal frequency division multiple access)

Lessons learnt and efficiencies from 4G LTE technology have been applied to Wi-Fi 6. OFDMA from the LTE universe allows multiple users with various bandwidth needs to be served simultaneously. To expand, it is a multi-user version of OFDM which enables concurrent access point communication (both up and down links) with multiple clients by assigning subsets of subcarriers (Resource Units) to the individual clients.

Instead of one package on each trip, OFDMA divides the spectrum assigning it to multiple users if necessary. An access point could also allocate the whole channel to a single device if it doesn’t need to serve multiple devices at the same time. The solution is perfect for low bandwidth ‘Things’ as the result is better frequency reuse, reduced latency and increased efficiency.

Wi-Fi 6 8x8 MU-MIMO

If you are not sure what MU-MIMO is we recently wrote an article on it here. Wi-Fi 6 supports up to 8x8 MU-MIMO in both down and uplink which allows it to serve 8 users simultaneously giving a significant capacity boost. MU-MIMO also enhances the performance of legacy devices to improve every connected devices’ experience.

As you can see several features listed for Wi-Fi 6 all working together to improve the Wi-Fi user experience, and you don’t even need to wait anymore. You can obtain W-Fi 6 access points today such as the flagship Ruckus Networks R730.

Don’t forget you should have a recent wireless survey conducted to give you the reports you need to plan any new Wi-Fi network deployments to get the most out of your Wi-fi. If you would like to enquire about our Wi-Fi Survey services please call or read more from our WiFi Surveys page.

References

  • (Soderstrom, 2019)
  • (Gates, 2018)
  • (Wi-Fi with 802.11ax means unprecedented capacity and better efficiency., n.d.)