Blog iconThe Fast and the Furious: Wi-Fi 6

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The Fast and the Furious: Wi-Fi 6

The future of Wi-Fi is scheduled to officially arrive in 2019. Wi-Fi 6, the simplified name for 802.11ax issued by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2018, will support everything you want to do with your wireless LANs. Not only does it promise to live up to the hype, but it’s designed to deliver for the world we live in.

What makes Wi-Fi 6 so special? For starters, Wi-Fi 6 packs technological updates that will simplify challenges associated with wireless networks. In this day and age, everyone and everything is connected, and connectivity has become increasingly challenging because radio environments are congested with excess traffic. According to a recent article in Network World, current and previous generations of Wi-Fi cannot handle this congestion, a result of access points forced to divide their attention and bandwidth among simultaneous users. Wi-Fi 6 addresses this with orthogonal frequency division multiple access (ODMFA) – a technology the industry seems as revolutionary not evolutionary. OFDMA chops each channel into sub-channels with different frequencies, making simultaneous data transmission possible. On a user level, the network will seem less congested as compared to 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5.

Other benefits of Wi-Fi 6 include faster speeds and improved battery life. The multiple channel usage described above will increase throughput significantly, and ax will be between 4-to-10 times faster than existing Wi-Fi. New Wi-Fi standards generally improve battery life considering data is transmitted faster, and the client isn’t forced to work as hard. Another feature of Wi-Fi 6 is wake time scheduling, giving the ability to connect briefly to networks, transmit new data and sleep more often in short periods, which is beneficial to battery life. In fact, IoT devices with low power capabilities and limited battery life may adopt Wi-Fi 6 as a possible communications method. The advantages extending beyond higher data rates offer game changing advances within the evolution of wireless networking.

There’s no doubt, the future will be faster with Wi-Fi 6. Its new features will better handle the rapidly growing client density in our modern IT world and meet connectivity demands. Highly anticipated by vendors and companies alike, Wi-Fi 6 will drive innovation in mobility, networking, AR, VR, gaming and video communications. Though the Wi-Fi 6 standard is still evolving, major vendors like our partner Aruba Networks are already offering Wi-Fi 6 powered devices. A recent Cisco blog post says, “Wi-Fi 6 will dramatically improve the wireless experience, and it will enable new use cases for wireless that weren’t possible before.” And another wireless partner, Mist Systems says “Wi-Fi 6 is Coming: It’s Not Too Early to Plan for 802.11ax.

Initial drafts of the Wi-Fi 6 standard failed to make it past the IEEE committee, but full ratification is expected in 2019. Wi-Fi 6 is coming soon, and we are eager to explore its benefits to end-user experience, network contributions and integration within the security industry.