Better WiFi

2 April 2021


“Wi-Fi 6” isn’t particularly new (came out in 2019), but is now making its way into mainstream devices;
Wi-Fi 6 isn’t just about better speeds, there’s other benefits that will become increasingly important over the coming weeks, months & years:

  • Maintains good network connection when lots of Wi-Fi devices are connected;
  • More reliable when other Wi-Fi network might cause conflicts;
  • More secure – supports latest security standard (“WPA3”);
  • More energy efficient

You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 compatible client device though. e.g:

  • Samsung’s Galaxy S10
  • iPhone 11
  • (New) Dell XPS laptops
  • (New) Lenovo Yoga hybrid laptop
  • (New) Microsoft Surface Laptop
  • (8th gen) iPad

Our opinion

Don’t rush out and buy new Access Points and network adapters and mobile devices…
BUT if you are considering replaced Access Points, make sure they support the WiFi 6 standard.
(or even Wi-Fi 6E – but that’s most filed under “coming soon…”!)

Technically speaking

Official designation by “Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers” (IEEE) for the standard is “802.11ax” – but it’s going to be known as Wi-Fi 6 generally; (And the new standard they’re already working on will be “Wi-Fi 7” (aka: 802.11be !)

Theoretical maximum speed is 9.6Gbps (up from 3.5Gbps on Wi-Fi 5);

Operates in both 2.4Ghz AND 5Ghz frequencies (not just 1 or the other as with older Wi-Fi standards);

There are two key improvements behind Wi-Fi 6 performance:

  • MU-MIMO
    • “Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output,” is already in use in modern routers and devices, but Wi-Fi 6 upgrades it to allow communications with 8 devices simultaneously (up from 5 in Wi-Fi 5)
  • MU-MIMO
    • “Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access,” allows one transmission to deliver data to multiple devices at once.

Energy efficiency is due to “Target Wake Time” which schedules check-in times with devices so the wireless adapter can power-down in-between times.

For anyone interested, there’s a more detailed write-up at: https://www.draytek.co.uk/information/blog/how-does-802-11ax-wi-fi-6-work And: https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-certified-6