What is Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation Wi-Fi standard, which is also called 802.11ax or AX Wi-Fi. This new version of Wi-Fi is more efficient, flexible and scalable, and allows new and existing networks increased speed and capacity with support for new age applications.
Unlike the current working and popular Wi-Fi standard (802.11ac), which gives maximum throughput of 1 Gbps theoretically, Wi-Fi 6 is expected to provide 10Gbps throughput. Apart from that, Wi-Fi 6 will operate in all band spectrums between 1 and 7 GHz in addition to the current 2.4 and 5 GHz that exists in current standards. Wi-Fi 6 is expected to be 37% faster than current wireless speeds with 75% lesser latency, which makes it a high-efficiency wireless.
Wi-Fi 6 standard brings together the freedom and high speed of Gigabit Ethernet wireless and the reliability and predictability in licensed radio. Wi-Fi Alliance will certify devices supported by Wi-Fi 6.
Wi-Fi 6 certified devices are expected to come with the following features:
- Higher data rate up to 10 Gbps
- Increased capacity up to 4 times than current
- 160 MHz channel to provide faster Wi-Fi for 4K, even 8K streaming, and stutter free Virtual Reality experience
- More bandwidth on wider channel that allows increased bandwidth with low latency including the feature - Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access
- Reduced power consumption, which improves battery life for devices using Wi-Fi 6 with the feature - Target Wake Time
Wi-Fi 6 and 5G
With technology developments in 5G and Wi-Fi 6 happening at the same time, there are questions like: will 5G replace Wi-Fi completely? While the ongoing speculations are interesting, Wi-Fi will continue to evolve and coexist with 5G. The key expectations are:
- Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will improve wireless connectivity with higher data throughput and new application support
- Wi-Fi 6 will continue to be the choice for indoor connectivity and enterprise networks with more user density like stadiums, halls, campuses etc., while 5G will be a good choice for outdoor networks such as smart city, public IoT etc.
- Wi-Fi 6 may roll out much faster than 5G due to the technology overhead and complexity
The Wi-Fi 6 potential
In enterprise networking, Wi-Fi 6 brings in a revolution to move to a Wi-Fi-only connectivity infrastructure. Cisco, HPE Aruba have already released Wi-Fi 6 capable wireless controllers and access points which can work with existing wireless infrastructure. This makes it easy for enterprises to move to the new standards. Cisco released its 9800 series WLC, 9100 series APs and Cloud controlled wireless series with Meraki MR45 and MR55 Wireless access points. While HPE Aruba released its Wi-Fi 6 enabled access points with artificial intelligence (AI)-powered analytics.
Release of Wi-Fi 6-enabled mobile devices and home broadband routers will deliver a better home broadband experience. Huawei, Asus, Samsung are some of the companies that have released Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices.