What is WIFI 6? Is it better than WIFI 5?

WIFI 6 Technology

Tech Gadgets
8. Dec 2020
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What is WIFI 6? Is it better than WIFI 5?

WIFI 6 is the next generation WIFI it is focused on protocol efficiency. WIFI 6 officially known as IEEE802.11AX is 4 times faster than IEEE802.11AC. WIFI 6 enhances WIFI connectivity in locations where hundreds or thousands of device connects.

Theoretically, WIFI6 is 4 times faster than the last generation of WIFI. That means you could get up to 9.5gbps in a greenfield environment (when all your neighbors would have WIFI 6 routers) which is faster than the older generation of WIFI 5 that gives 3.5gbps. Although it seems practically impossible to get a theoretical speed of 9.5gbps however it is possible if all your devices and neighbors also use WIFI 6 technology.

History of WIFI 6 or IEEE802.11AX

IEEE802.11ax first came into consideration in May 2013. The High-Efficiency WLAN Study Group (HEW SG) has successfully developed PAR and CSD documents and the project has started in May 2014. WIFI 6 was finally announced in October 2018, it is proved that WIFI 6 has features as power efficiency, higher data rates, better performance with many connected devices. In MAY 2013, HEW SG had started considering improvements of spectrum efficiency to enhance the system area in high-density scenarios of APs and STAs.

Key features of IEEE802.11AX or WIFI 6

As we discussed earlier WIFI 6 has key enhancements over IEEE802.11AC. It is faster than the older generation, it is power efficient as well, it will give you lower latency rates, etc.

  1. Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), segregates the spectrum by frequency and allows channel sharing. It reduces the latency rate during periods of high demand.
  2. Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is available in both uplink and downlink channels and allows users to simultaneously use multiple devices without reducing connection quality. WIth downlink MU-MIMO an access point transmits data to multiple stations at the same time and with uplink MU-MIMO an AP may receive from multiple stations simultaneously.
  3. IEEE802.11AX utilizes 160MHz channels in 6Ghz to increase speed and stability when streaming high definition videos, playing online games, or virtual reality. WIFI 6E devices get the advantage of 160MHz channels to deliver high performance and supports multiple devices at the same time.
  4. Target Wake Time (TWT) reduces battery consumption as it allows devices to wake up at different periods than the beacon transmission period. It reduces battery consumption in IoT devices as well.
  5. Spatial frequency reuse enables devices to find the difference between their own network and neighbor networks. Devices refuse transmission simultaneously in other going.

Products

Smart Phones

  • On March 8, 2019, Samsung released the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy S10 family (S10e, S10, S10+ and S10 5G) supporting IEEE802.11ax.
  • On August 23, 2019, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 series (Note 10, Note 10+, Note 10 5G, and Note 10+ 5G) supporting 802.11ax.
  • On September 10, 2019, Apple announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max supporting IEEE802.11ax.
  • On 18 March 2020, Apple announced the iPad Pro (4th generation) supporting 802.11ax.
  • On August 5, 2020, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 20 series family (Note 20, Note 20 Ultra) supporting IEEE802.11ax.
  • On November 10, 2020, Apple announced that the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini based around the new Apple Silicon processor all support IEEE802.11ax.
  • The Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei P40, Honor 30 Pro, Oppo Reno3 5G, Oppo A91, Oppo Ace2, Oppo Find X2, Xiaomi Mi 10 5G, Xiaomi Redmi K30 Pro Zoom, Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro, Xiaomi Black Shark 3, Lenovo Legion Pro, Vivo iQOO 3 5G, Vivo Z6 5G, Vivo NEX 3S 5G, Vivo iQOO Neo3 5G, ZTE nubia Red Magic 5G, ZTE Axon 11 5G, Realme X50 Pro 5G, OnePlus 8, Sony Xperia 1 II, LG V60 ThinQ 5G, and Motorola Edge+, all support IEEE802.11ax.
  • Sony’s PlayStation 5 supports the IEEE802.11ax standard.
  • Apple’s all-new iPhone 12 series supports the IEEE802.11ax standard.

Access points

  • On September 12, 2017, Huawei announced their first WIFI 6 access point. The AP7060DN uses 8×8 MIMO and is based on Qualcomm hardware.
  • On January 25, 2018, Aerohive Networks announced the first family of IEEE802.11ax access points. The AP630, AP650, and AP650X are based on Broadcom chipsets.
  • On July 17, 2018, Ruckus Networks announced an IoT- and LTE-ready IEEE802.11ax or WIFI 6 access point, also known as the R730. The R730 shipped in September 2018.
  • In September 2018 Ruijie Networks announced the launch of the industry’s first tri-band IEEE802.11ax wireless access point RG-AP860-I up to 10Gbit/s and in June 2019 released cost-effective WIFI 6 Access point RG-AP840-I up to 5.2Gbit/s.
  • On November 13, 2018, Aruba Networks announced their first IEEE802.11ax access points, the AP510 series.
  • On January 22, 2019, Extreme Networks announced their first IEEE802.11ax access points, the 500 series.
  • On April 29, 2019, Cisco announced its first WIFI 6 access point. The ax enabled access points are Catalyst 9115, Catalyst 9117, Catalyst 9120, Catalyst 9130, Meraki MR45, and MR55.
  • On June 25, 2019, Juniper Networks, through their Mist Systems subsidiary, announced their Wi-Fi 6 compatible AP-43 as part of its AI-driven enterprise initiative.

Routers

  • On August 30, 2017, Asus announced the first IEEE802.11ax router. The RT-AX88U uses a Broadcom chipset, has 4×4 MIMO in both bands, and achieves a maximum of 1148 Mbit/s on 2.4 GHz and 4804 Mbit/s on 5 GHz.
  • On June 4, 2018, Asus launches the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000: the world’s first 10 Gbit/s SOHO -router.
  • In mid-2020, Netgear launched the Nighthawk RAX80 router with 802.11ax.

Chipsets

  • On October 27, 2016, Quantenna announced the first WIFI 6 silicon, the QSR10G-AX. The chipset is compliant with Draft 1.0 and supports eight 5 GHz streams and four 2.4 GHz streams. In January 2017 Quantenna added the QSR5G-AX to their portfolio with support for four streams in both bands. Both products are aimed at routers and access points.
  • On February 13, 2017, Qualcomm announced their first IEEE802.11ax silicon.
    • The IPQ8074 is a complete SoC with four Cortex-A53 cores.

There is support for eight 5 GHz streams and four 2.4 GHz streams.

  • The QCA6290 chipset which supports two streams in both bands and aims at mobile devices.
  • On August 15, 2017, Broadcom announced their 6th Generation of WIFI products with WIFI 6 support.
  • The BCM43684 and BCM43694 are 4×4 MIMO chips with full 802.11ax support,

while the BCM4375 provides 2 × 2 MIMO 802.11ax along with Bluetooth 5.0.

  • On December 11, 2017, Marvell announced 802.11ax chipsets consisting of 88W9068, 88W9064, and 88W9064S.
  • On January 4, 2018, Intel Announces 802.11ax Chipsets for Faster Wi-Fi 
  • On February 21, 2018, Qualcomm announced the WCN3998, a 2×2 802.11ax chipset for smartphones and mobile devices.
  • As of April 2018, Intel is working on a WIFI 6 chipset for mobile devices, the Wireless-AX 22560 with Harrison Peak code-name.
  • On October 23, 2018, Broadcom announced two new 2×2 WIFI 6 SOCs: the BCM6752 and BCM6755.

Both providing multi-core CPUs and Gigabit Ethernet

  • On January 8, 2019, MediaTek announced their 802.11ax chips being 2×2 and 4×4
  • On February 25, 2019, Qualcomm announced the QCA6390, a 2×2 802.11ax/Bluetooth 5.1 combined chipset for mobile and computing devices
  • On May 28, 2020, Qualcomm announced its first chips with support for Wi-Fi 6 E, including chips for phones and routers.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast the WIFI 6 or 802.11ax is?

802.11ax standard of WIFI is theoretically 4 times faster than its predecessor WIFI 5 or 802.11ac. WIFI 6 can give 9.5gbps of speed compared to its predecessors 3.5gbps.

Should you buy WIFI 6 router?

As we know WIFI 6 is better than WIFI 5 but that doesn’t really mean you need to buy a WIFI 6 router, if you already have a WIFI 5 router that works fine for your multiple devices, it wouldn’t make sense to buy WIFI 6 router.

Is it worth buying a WIFI 6 router?

The new WIFI 6 technology offers better speed, coverage, performance while using multiple devices like smartphone, smart televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, etc. at the same time

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