The new generation of Wi-Fi technology, Wi-Fi 6, offers a paradigm shift at the network edge: not just faster speeds as in previous generation changes, but a shift to high-efficiency Wi-Fi for substantially improved capacity, better coverage and reduced network congestion, using key technologies such OFDMA and Uplink and Downlink MU-MIMO
Wi-Fi network usage continues to grow therefore capacity must grow too. Wi-Fi 6 ensures that high demand networks can cope with the onslaught of corporate, guest, BYOD, and IoT devices that flood every organization today. With increased emphasis on network efficiency over capacity, Wi-Fi 6 is protecting bandwidth through traffic optimization and prioritization, instead of simply throwing more capacity at the problem, which let’s face it, the more bandwidth you put out there, the more that will be consumed so a different thinking is needed. Wi-Fi 6 takes a much more intelligent approach to the sustainability and longevity of your mobility infrastructure.
|802.11n (Wi-Fi 4||802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5)||802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)|
|Frequency bands||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz||5 GHz only||2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz|
|Channel size (MHz)||20, 40||20, 40, 80, 80 + 80, and 160||20, 40, 80, 80 + 80, and 160|
|Frequency multiplexing||OFDM||OFDM||OFDM and OFDMA|
|MU-MIMO||N/A||DL||DL and UL|
|OFDMA||N/A||N/A||DL and UL|
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Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) focuses on core technologies to enhance network performance and efficiency including:
Multi-user version of OFDM enabling concurrent AP communication (Uplink/Downlink) with multiple clients by assigning subsets of subcarriers, called Resource Units (RUs) to the individual clients. Based on client traffic needs, the AP can allocate the whole channel to only one user or may partition it to serve multiple users simultaneously.
To improve spatial reuse efficiency and performance, 11ax adjusts the carrier sense operation based on the ‘color’ of the BSS. Depending on the BSS the traffic is generated from, the station can use different sensitivity thresholds to transmit or defer. This results in higher overall performance.
Introduced in 11ac, MU-MIMO technology allows the simultaneous transmitting of multiple frames to different receivers at the same time on the same channel using multiple RF streams to provide greater efficiency. 11ax adds 8x8 and Uplink MU-MIMO services to provide significantly higher data throughput.
TWT allows the AP to schedule a series of times for a station to ‘wake up’ at scheduled intervals to exchange data frames. This allows the station to ‘sleep’ longer and reduces energy consumption. It’s a key capability for IOT devices.
Modulation techniques are used to optimize throughput and range. The number of points in the modulation constellation determines the number of bits conveyed with each symbol. 802.11ac uses 256 QAM which transfers 8 bits/symbol. 802.11ax supports 1024 QAM, using 10 bits/symbol for a 25% increase in throughput.
Modified frame formats provide High Efficiency (HE) and legacy information to support new advanced capabilities as well as information required to support legacy stations and backward compatibility.