What Is Wifi 6? And Reasons You Should Consider Upgrading to a WiFi 6 Router

What is Wifi 6?

Wifi 6 is the official market name for the wireless computer network operating in the 802.11ax standard. It is also known as AX Wifi or high-efficiency Wifi. It is the successor of 802.11ac (Wifi 5). Wifi 6 is quite an exciting improvement to the Wifi technology in general. Its principal design is to improve Wifi connectivity in highly dense environments such as malls, dense residential areas, corporate offices, buildings, etc. Released in 2019, IEEE 802.11ax uses the standard 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands.

Features Of Wifi 6

1. Target Wait Time (TWT)

Wi-Fi 6 also uses Target Wake Time (TWT), which allows devices to determine when they will normally wake up to begin sending and receiving data. Target wait time improves network efficiency and battery life for IoT devices. TWT helps appliances conserve power and prevents channel congestion. Since TWT enables scheduling of a device’s wake time, rather than being determined by connection, the internet of things (IoT) and mobile devices could remain off for long periods, thereby conserving battery life.

2. Basic Service Set (BSS) Coloring

This technology for dense network deployments lets several access points and equipment utilize a single radio frequency channel with increased capacity and less interference. Wifi 6 enables each access point radio to assign a BSS color (from 1-63) to be included in the PHY header of all HE transmissions from devices in its BSS. It differentiates between the BSS of access points and their clients on the same radio frequency channel.

3. 1024-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation mode)

Wifi 6 incorporates a very high optional modulation scheme called 1024-QAM, with each symbol encoding more data bits in a dense constellation. This radio frequency (RF) modulation enhancement increases Wi‑Fi 6 throughput speeds by 25%. This is done by varying both the amplitude of the radio waves and the phase; the technology improves spectral efficiency by incorporating more data into each transmission. This is necessary for consistently serving high-density locations such as convention centers, stadiums, transportation hubs, and auditoriums.

4. Multiple-User, Multiple-In, Multiple-Out (MU-MIMO) and Transmit Beamforming

Wi-Fi 6 offers eight-stream uplink and downlink Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), which streams data simultaneously rather than sequentially, allowing a more equitable sharing of bandwidth among connected MU-MIMO enabled clients. Wi-Fi 5 MU-MIMO topped out at four streams.

5. Wifi Protected Access 3 (WPA3)

WPA3 governs what happens when you connect to a passworded, closed Wifi network. Wifi 6 supports WPA3 and enhances user privacy in open networks. It simplifies configuring security for headless IoT devices and adds higher levels of protection to meet government, defense, and industrial requirements. It brings new capabilities to improve cybersecurity in personal networks, more secure encryption of passwords, and enhanced protection against brute-force attacks combined with safeguarding a company’s Wifi. 

6. Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)

Wi-Fi 6 uses Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation, which allows up to 30 clients to share a channel at the same time, thereby improving efficiency by boosting overall capacity while reducing latency. Long story short, OFDMA assigns time intervals to clients that allows them to better parse out available network channels. For example, if one person in your home is streaming a movie and another is checking social media on a phone, OFDMA allows a router to assign channels to each device based on when it needs it most.

Benefits Of Wifi 6

1. Improved security 

Wireless networks are beginning to take advantage of the new features of WPA3. It helps in providing secure wireless networking. This feature is not mandatory in previous Wifi networks, but accreditation from the Wifi Alliance mandates its usage in Wifi 6, resulting in an overall more secure setup. The user experience is the same, but with enhanced capabilities to thwart hackers, boost encryption, and, most crucially, for sites using the IoT devices. 

2. Increased battery life

Wifi 6 has features to effectively put specific devices’ Wifi settings to “sleep” when it’s not being used. This frees up bandwidth by sleeping connections, not in use and opening them up to other active devices. An environment that is more protected, interconnected, secure, and efficient must be developed across industries. One may accomplish this by leveraging the low power demands of Wifi 6 and boosting the use of tiny IoT sensors. Because these devices lack the battery capacity of larger personal devices, they rely on Wifi 6’s more efficient power requirements, which use fixed scheduled communications through Target Wake Time.TWT helps IoT and mobile devices maximize battery life by waking up infrequently to receive buffered data.

3. High speed even when congested 

Increased device density often leads to a speed reduction, which is not the case with Wifi 6. When a signal is sent, a new technique known as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) assists in dividing the load. That is, a single Access Point may communicate with several devices simultaneously. This is a significant benefit when one must connect several devices. This feature changes the long-established paradigm of “only one device can talk at a time,” which has defined the previous Wifi standards since their inception.  Wifi 6 dynamically uses resource units to enable the AP to support multiple clients simultaneously using smaller channels within channels for lower-bandwidth applications. Performance is enhanced in areas with several connected devices, and consumers would have less competition for bandwidth. 

4. Increasing access point capacity in support of IoT and mobile devices 

The device number for access points and network access control is not restricted to a particular workstation in today’s typical office environment. They will most likely own a desktop, a smartphone, and maybe a smart accessory. With a growing workforce, the number of sensor nodes, scanning devices, and other equipment would continue to rise.

With a growing workforce, the number of sensor nodes, scanning devices, and other equipment would continue to rise.

This necessitates providing a degree of usability in which users do not experience jitter, lag, or total freezing during video and audio sessions. This is possible because of the increased access point capacity provided by the Wifi 6 standard. Wifi 6 now supports configurations up to 8×8:8 antennas, up from the previous maximum of 4×4:4 — permitting more concurrent communication, increasing speeds, and enabling several users to “speak” simultaneously.

5. Beams focused on speed and dependability

Wifi 6 may even direct its signal to the site of a wireless device to increase dependability and throughput. Beamforming focuses the signal in that pathway instead of distributing it uniformly across the area. This aids in improving the reliability and speed of the connection.

6. 8X8 spatial streams for concurrent usage

In terms of access points, wireless vendors are shipping both 8×8 and 4×4 products. This nomenclature refers to the number of spatial streams, which is an essential building block in the overall Wifi LAN performance. Because of size and power limitations, many smaller wireless devices will never support more than 2×2. But having a Wifi 6 router capable of 8×8 spatial streams means one can service more devices simultaneously and achieve more general efficiency. The increase in the maximum spatial stream of Wifi 6 is a factor defining overall cell performance.

Overall, Wifi 6 delivers more throughput and capacity than previous generations of Wifi. It can use 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation compared to the 256 maximum used by Wifi 5 accounts for most of the improved performance. 

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