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In a world where everything needs to be fast, and more often than not, Wi-Fi falls short, Wi-Fi 6 will be the first major upgrade to Wi-Fi in a while that makes a noticeable difference. Wi-Fi 6 is finally here, but it’s not yet everywhere. Let’s look at what Wi-Fi 6 is and how it’ll affect the telecommunications industry.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is also known as 802.11ax and is the next major version of Wi-Fi standards. Previous versions have included an incremental “bump” in speed or an improvement to the way Wi-Fi works, such as 802.11ac and now 802.11ax. 802.11ax is the first major upgrade to Wi-Fi since 802.11ac and has been in the process of being rolled out since 2019.
The huge difference Wi-Fi 6 brings to the party is the ability to have more than one device streaming large amounts of data at the same time. That’s a big leap for Wi-Fi, as it previously struggled to deal with the increasing amount of available streaming services and high-definition video.
How Does Wi-Fi 6 work?
Wi-Fi 6 actually works in a similar way to Wi-Fi 5, with a few subtle changes that make a big difference. The overall structure is similar, as the radio part of Wi-Fi is still the same as in previous versions.
As with Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 is based on orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing is a way of transmitting data on radio waves. In short, it means that the radio is transmitting data at a bunch of different frequencies at the same time to get around interference.
One of the big changes is that instead of using a single channel, Wi-Fi 6 uses multiple channels to send data. Using multiple channels sounds like a simple idea, but it’s actually something that’s been thought about for a long time but never implemented. If a channel starts to get busy, the Wi-Fi 6 device will hop onto a different channel.
In this way, Wi-Fi 6 can send data over two channels, and they can both be sending data at full speed. This means that instead of one device slowing down the whole network, there can be multiple devices streaming and chatting at the same time.
How Fast is Wi-Fi 6?
Obviously, the speed of Wi-Fi 6 varies, but in general, it’s about four times faster than Wi-Fi 5. Speeds depend on the Wi-Fi router and what channels are being used. The more channels being used at the same time, the faster the network will be.
Theoretically, we could see Wi-Fi reach speeds over ten gigabits per second, which is more than fast enough to handle the fastest broadband speed limits.
Does Wi-Fi 6 Make a Difference?
Wi-Fi 6 will be rolled out by the big telecom companies, and initially, it’ll be limited to “businesses with high-density requirements.” That means places like shopping centres, hotels, and banks – places where the internet is used a lot, and there might be several people streaming gaming or browsing at the same time.
Eventually, Wi-Fi 6 will be rolled out to residential users and will result in faster, more reliable internet speeds at home. It’ll also mean that networking gear can be smaller since there are more channels to work with. You’ll be able to have a multi-user network with faster speeds and less interference.
The speed of everything is increasing – the speed of our internet access, the speed of our computers, and the speed of our Wi-Fi routers. With Wi-Fi 6, everything is about to get a lot faster.
When it comes to communications technology, Informatics is a name you can trust. We pride ourselves on knowing the industry inside out by helping out numerous organisations achieve sustainable growth through information communications technology, software, and telecom solutions. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Written by Daniele Paoletti