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All About the New 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Why You Need It

by carolina_pinto
Concept of Network, internet communication. 3d illustration

 

Whether at an airport, hotel or school campus, an increasing number of people are looking for Wi-Fi access wherever they go. This expectation of Wi-Fi access across industries has increased the need for a new Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax.

The 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard is coming soon and it will make everything faster and better. It is the next generation of Wi-Fi, also known as “Wi-Fi 6”. It addresses some of today’s biggest Wi-Fi challenges, high density and performance.

This new standard improves Wi-Fi network efficiency and performance in public spaces where many are trying to access the internet in the same place at the same time.

 

What is the difference between 802.11ac and 802.11ax?

Some of the main differences lie in the following aspects:

  • Increase in network throughput​, robustness outdoors and peak link throughput;
  • Efficiency in dense environments​​;
  • Reduction of power consumption​ for IoT devices;
  • Enhancement in Wi-Fi coexistence​.

The new standard will allow MU-MIMO up to 8 streams for higher throughput, supporting multiple concurrent clients, and downlink/uplink MU-MIMO. It also introduces a new version of OFDM called OFDMA. This allows simultaneous communication with multiple clients by assigning a subset of subcarriers called Resource Units (RUs).

Its modulation will go from 256-QAM (used in the .11ac standard) to 1024-QAM, which will transfer ten bits per symbol, increasing throughput by 25%.

Another high-efficiency feature is the Spatial Frequency Reuse, which will overlap with the Basic Service Sets (BSS). The 11ax standard will adjust the carrier sense based on color or identifier of the BSS. Depending on the BSS, traffic will be generated from the station, which can use different sensitivity thresholds to transmit or defer.

In addition, longer symbol times that come with the new standard will increase efficiency and improve robustness, especially in outdoor environments. The new standard will be able to improve the average data throughput per user in dense urban environments by four times. It is a multi-user technology, both in the form of MU-MIMO and MU-OFDMA, that will enable it.

Finally, a new feature named Target Wake Time (TWT) will allow IoT devices to wake up at scheduled times. It will grant longer sleep times, which consequently improves battery life.

 

When will it be available?

After exploring the new Wi-Fi standard’s features, giving it the title of High-Efficiency Wireless, it is safe to say that it will greatly attract the market, and adoption rates will be higher than ever. The 802.11ax version is expected to be available in early 2019. It will be a big step for businesses, as it will improve overall efficiency and Wi-Fi users’ experience anywhere.

 

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