Wi-Fi 6 is the new name given to the latest wireless standard 802.11ax by WiFi Alliance (includes companies like Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony). Until now, WLAN standards have been named after the standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), such as 802.11n, 802.11ac, etc. This will now be renamed together to make it easy to understand for normal users. Users will now have a better understanding of Wireless standards.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the successor to the Wi-Fi standard introduced in 2013 namely 802.11ax ( now also called Wi-Fi 5).
Wi-Fi 6 supports 11 Gbps data transfer
The upcoming Wi-Fi 6 standard will reach a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 11 Gbps(Gigabits per second). Wi-Fi 5 under optimal conditions can reach speed only up to 3.5 Gbps. 11 Gbps might be a value that can only be achieved under laboratory conditions. But the new standard also brings more efficiency in the allocation of bandwidth and processing of the transfer.
Wi-Fi 6 supports dual bandwidth
Wi-Fi 6 also supports multiple frequency bands 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz just like the previous version Wi-Fi 5. The 2.4 GHz bandwidth is usually overloaded, so the need for a second 5 GHz bandwidth. Modern routers are capable of detecting if any particular bandwidth is overloaded and overused. If the speed is affected and there is more disruption, the router automatically switches to the other bandwidth. Wi-Fi 6 routers and devices will also follow the same procedure.
Wifi 6 routers are able to address multiple receivers simultaneously with a “send” process and generally communicate with more devices at once. In addition, measures were taken to increase the stability with the individual devices to ensure low latencies. This benefits computers and gadgets that are not themselves designed for Wifi 6. To what extent, of course, still depends on the individual situation – used chip, number of devices in the WLAN, distance to the router, nature of the rooms, etc.
OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access)
OFDMA allows the router to understand which device needs how much bandwidth and allocates the data streams accordingly. It makes better use of frequency spectra to enable better average data rates and more stable connections from multiple concurrent clients. The transmission capacity is adapted to the user requirements so that the Netflix streaming device receives more than a device using a Skype call.
Wi-Fi 6 routers are able to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously in both directions. Both techniques work together by allowing OFDMA to more efficiently organize the data streams that grow through MU-MIMO.
Lower power consumption
The energy management for the antennas will also be improved. These now need to be powered less often to “listen” for signals. This means that 802.11ax tends to improve battery life and reduce power consumption. But here, in particular, those devices that – unlike the laptop, for example – do not constantly need to communicate, such as smart thermostats, benefit. Notebooks, smartphones or tablets feel this improvement, especially in sleep mode.
Also in terms of security, Wifi 6 also went through an upgrade. The new encryption standard WPA3 (previously WPA2) is mandatory for the new standard.
Hardware Support for Wi-Fi 6
If you want to benefit from the new standard, you will not be able to avoid the purchase of a new router. A software upgrade will not make your device Wi-Fi 6 compliant. The router should be Wi-Fi 6 compliant which is very costly at the moment. If you have a router which is Wi-Fi 5 compliant, it is better to wait for some time until more manufacturers come with more models at a lower price.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip, which is included in many of this year’s high-end smartphones, is already providing support for Wifi 6. However, it is up to cell phone manufacturers to make use of it. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 can already handle the next generation WLAN. In the specifications for the Xiaomi Mi 9, which also uses the Snapdragon 855, only support for 802.11ac is listed.
Intel processors of the ninth generation introduced at the end of April 2019 now supports Wi-Fi 6 standards.
More routers are now entering the market that supports Wi-Fi 6 standards. Asus RT-AX88U, Netgear Nighthawk AX8, ASUS ROG GT-AX11000, LINK DIR-X9000, etc are worth looking at if you plan to buy one.