WiFi 6 (802.11ax) will be the new wireless standard that, along with 5G, promises to change the landscape of connectivity to wireless networks with improvements in all sections compared to the current WiFi 5.
On paper, WiFi 6 will quadruple the speed of WiFi 5 offering a performance of up to 10 Gb / s thanks to the more efficient use of the spectrum. It will also offer greater reliability and lower energy consumption, improving the autonomy of the devices that use it.
Beyond the speed and range, the real key and improvement that WiFi 6 will bring will come in the way in which compatible routers can handle connected devices (smartphones, smart watches, wristbands and other wearables; smart TV, consoles, among others).
WiFi 6 Why is it called that ?
The standards that define wireless local area networks, WLAN, are (or were) a complicated technical language for the end user. Aware of this, the WiFi Alliance organization set up a new designation easier to understand:
802.11b → Wi-Fi 1
802.11a → Wi-Fi 2
802.11g → Wi-Fi 3
802.11n → Wi-Fi 4,
802.11ac (current) → Wi-Fi 5
802.11ax (2019) → Wi-Fi 6
In addition to nomenclatures, a new visual model has also been established that will appear on all devices instead of the classic versions with letters. Much easier to understand at a glance:
It is based on the current ac WiFi, but will offer more than 50 updated features. It is not known if all of them will be available in the final specifications, but at least some of them are generally indicated as:
- Greater global bandwidth per user for ultra high definition and virtual reality content transmission.
- Support for more simultaneous and faster data streams.
- More total spectrum. First in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and eventually bands in 1 GHz and 6 GHz.
- The WiFi spectrum is divided into more channels to allow more communication routes. (80 or 160 MHz versus a maximum of 40 MHz in the 5 GHz band).
- Packages contain more data and networks can handle different data flows at the same time.
- Improved performance (up to 4x) in the maximum range of an access point
- Ability to download wireless traffic from cellular networks where reception is poor.
- 256-QAM modulation versus 64-QAM of the previous ones.
- Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) that allows four downlink connections.
The WiFi Alliance organization expects to publish the final specifications of the new standard in the second half of 2019.