A few days ago, Wi-Fi Alliance, which is responsible for setting and regulating standards for Wi-Fi networks, announced the new 802.11ax wireless networking standard, which it named Wi-Fi 6 to make it easier to identify and differentiate from other standards by the average user. This release brought with it some features and improvements related to data transfer rate and responsiveness, as well as its focus on reducing power consumption and many more.
In the past, wireless standards were not of interest to the average user, because the devices they were working on were not as diverse as they are now, as smartphones, laptops and IoT devices are everywhere. In this article we will talk about the most important features of the Wi-Fi 6 standard that may interest you as a user if you want to upgrade one of your devices to support it in the near future.
A new generation of Wi-Fi standard is launched every few years. For the average user who didn’t care about it in the past, the previous generation of Wi-Fi on the way was called 802.11ac which does not indicate anything for someone who does not know what these numbers mean in advance.
With the increasing prevalence of electronic devices based on Wi-Fi networks, Wi-Fi Alliance decided to put a clear and simple label for the previous two generations in addition to the new generation Wi-Fi 6 so that it is easier for anyone to distinguish between them and the names are as follows:
Standard 11n of 2009 became Wi-Fi 4.
The 11ac standard of 2014 became Wi-F-5.
The 11ax standard of 2019 became Wi-Fi 6.
Most Wi-Fi-enabled devices, especially phones and laptops, will start displaying the Wi-Fi network standard you connect to, similarly to generations of 4G, 5G and other cellular networks.
As for the previous criteria, they have remained the same because of their low prevalence, but if renamed in the future, they will be as follows:
The 11b standard from 1999 will become Wi-Fi 1.
Standard 11a from 1999 will become Wi-Fi 2.
The 11g standard from 2003 will become Wi-Fi 3.
Key features of Wi-Fi 6
Higher data transfer rate
It is natural to conclude that any new network generation will bring a higher data transfer rate than its predecessor, as it is theoretically possible for Wi-Fi 6 to achieve a data transfer rate of up to 10Gbps, which is almost seven times larger than the previous generation when launched. This was achieved by improving the data encoding system to become more efficient as well as increasing the amount of data exchanged per wave.
It is noteworthy that this large transfer rate does not mean that any device that supports Wi-Fi 6 will be able to achieve this speed, as the theoretical speed that can be achieved through this standard is different from the ability of some devices such as mobile phones, smart TVs, home networking devices, etc. About the fact that the internet speeds currently available to users are still much lower.
The number of larger devices on the same network
One of the biggest weaknesses of Wi-Fi networks is the problem of declining performance when multiple users, as many types of network devices, even modern ones can not bear many users without the problems of delay and slowdown in the network, especially in crowded places such as airports or hotels.
Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 thanks to its new technologies will significantly reduce the impact of this problem, but it will take a long time for companies to buy devices that support Wi-Fi 6 and start deploying phones and laptops that support this standard, since the presence of an access point (Access Point Device) Supports Wi-Fi 6 will not work for you if your phone, for example, is still working on an older standard. According to Intel, Wi-Fi 6 will deliver four times the performance of Wi-Fi 5 per user, even in crowded places.
One of the most important technologies that will help improve the performance of Wi-Fi 6 devices in crowded places is OFDMA for short (Orthogonal Frequency Divisoin Multiple Access), which will allow the division of a single communication channel into several partial channels that can transfer data independently of each other to enable devices Connect with the same channel at the same time and use only the full Internet speed you need.
One year after the deployment of Wi-Fi 5, a new generation of 802.11ac Wave 2 was launched, with some improvements, the most important of which was MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output). Communicate with multiple connected devices at the same time to minimize delays when multiple users are on the same network.
One disadvantage of this technology is that connected devices were not able to communicate with the wireless access point at the same time despite being able to communicate with them, but with Wi-Fi 6 both parties (access point device and connected device) will be able to communicate with each other At the same time, in addition, the number of devices that can connect at the same time has doubled to eight from four in 802.11ac Wave 2.
Reduce power consumption
One of the disadvantages of the previous Wi-Fi standards was the power consumption on connected devices, especially mobile phones, as smartphones and laptops, as well as some types of IoT devices all run on batteries, which is one of the main reasons to increase the consumption of Wi-Fi.
To solve this problem, Wi-Fi 6 brought with it a new technology called TWT (Target Time Wake) that helps reduce the number of times a device is alerted to receive or transmit data without the need for an alert. Longer sleep time, even when connected to the network, resulting in less power consumption.
Is it right to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 now?
TP-Link Archer AX6000
TP-Link Archer AX6000
For the average user or even businesses, upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 is not a good idea now even if you share your wireless network with a lot of users, although network device manufacturers are starting to produce wireless routers and access points that support Wi-Fi 6 only. Most smartphones, computers and other devices still don’t support this technology, so if you buy a wireless router or access point, the devices will work on Wi-Fi 5 so you won’t benefit from this upgrade.
If you want to upgrade your network or buy a new router or wireless access point, then choosing Wi-Fi 6 types might be a good idea.At the beginning of next year, most computer and smartphone companies will start to support the new standard so you don’t have to upgrade again yet. These devices that will support Wi-Fi 6 are becoming increasingly popular.