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What is Wi-Fi 6 and why it is worth switching to a new standard

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What is Wi-Fi 6 and why it is worth switching to a new standard

What is Wi-Fi 6 and why it is worth switching to a new standard

09.06.2022

Internet

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The first high-frequency Wi-Fi format provided speeds up to 54 Mbps, and the modern Wi-Fi 6 standard allows you to reach speeds up to 9.6 Gbps.

Wireless Internet access is a comfort for laptop users, a necessity for tablets and smartphones, as well as the operation of smart devices (watches, coffee machines, smart home systems). The use of new standards of Wi-Fi technology allows you to make the work of devices as efficient as possible and bring even more pleasure from using them.

What is Wi-Fi?

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a technology for wireless data transmission over radio channels. Connection to the Internet is carried out through a router, which, in turn, is connected to the network via a cable. The technology appeared at the end of the XXth century, and since then its standards have been improved many times.

The first high-frequency wireless connection format provided speeds up to 54 Mbps, and the modern 802.11ax standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6, allows you to reach speeds up to 9.6 Gbps. Of course, this speed can be achieved only under ideal conditions. However, Wi-Fi 6 certainly has significant advantages over its predecessors.

Benefits of Wi-Fi 6

Benefits of Wi-Fi 6

Speed is one of the primary indicators of the technology standard improvement. Video conferencing, streaming, watching videos in good quality, downloading large files and playing computer games without interruptions depend on the speed of the Internet connection. But that's far from the only benefit of Wi-Fi 6.

What are the other advantages of the new standard:

Support for more Wi-Fi devices

Support for more Wi-Fi devices. Thanks to OFDMA technology (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) there is a parallel exchange of data with many devices. If each individual user of a shared wireless network used to exchange data through the router following the queue, then now all connected devices can simultaneously and continuously exchange it. Like a highway, a communication channel is divided into subchannels (separate traffic lanes), and each client moves freely along his channel without “traffic jams”.

Network unloading

Network unloading. In previous standards, neighboring Wi-Fi networks intersected with each other, which caused delays and interference in data transmission. So, in an office or high-rise building, individual wireless networks need to wait until the channel is free from data transmission by other networks. That is, a queue is formed again, which no longer depends on the number of your connected devices, but on other neighboring local networks. OBSS (Overlapping Basic Service Sets) is a feature of the Wi-Fi 6 standard that provides the access point with a specific “color” to identify the network. Therefore, the traffic of networks of a different color is ignored and does not affect your data transfer process. In addition, it not only eliminates latency, but also improves network reliability and security.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency. Thanks to the TWT (Target Wake Time) function, each device connected to the wireless network consumes less power. TWT analyzes the activity of all gadgets, and if any of them does not use the network for a certain time, then its Wi-Fi receiver goes into sleep mode. Thus, this function allows several times to reduce energy consumption.

Wi-Fi 6 Data Security

Wi-Fi 6 Data Security. The advanced WPA3 security protocol, combined with the SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals) key exchange system, provides a higher level of data protection than Wi-Fi 6 predecessors.

What is Wi-Fi 6E?

What is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of the available frequencies of the Wi-Fi 6 standard in the 6 GHz band, providing faster speeds, lower latency and greater network security. It represents the largest change to the available spectrum for Wi-Fi since its inception and provides new ways to use high-performance connectivity.

The last three generations of wireless technology have used two signal bands. The first 2.4 GHz band is overwhelmed by obstacles from many household devices, including microwave ovens. The second – 5 GHz subsequently also became overloaded with outdated devices and Wi-Fi networks. 6 GHz is a new frequency band from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz, allowing up to 1200 MHz of additional spectrum. Unlike previous bands, which had clogged channels, 6 GHz exists without overlap or interference. Access to this frequency provides more bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency, opening up resources for future innovations such as AR/VR, 8K streaming, and more.

The main difference between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E:

  • Wi-Fi 6 operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6E operates in the 6 GHz band;
  • Wi-Fi 6 is backwards compatible with previous Wi-Fi standards, while Wi-Fi 6E is not.
  • Unlike Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E has 59 additional 20 MHz channels, 29 additional 40 MHz channels, 14 additional 80 MHz channels, and 7 additional 160 MHz channels.
The key difference between the Wi-Fi 6 standard and the new Wi-Fi 6E extension is that Wi-Fi 6E essentially creates a “fast lane” for compatible devices and applications.

The main benefits of Wi-Fi 6E:

  1. High speed data transfer between devices that support Wi-Fi 6E. In addition, the newly expanded 6 GHz spectrum does not have slow legacy devices competing for bandwidth.
  2. Safety. Traffic is more secure than ever, as networks in the 6GHz band are harder to hack.
  3. Larger bandwidth and wider channels to support multi-gigabit traffic, ideal for high-definition video, AR/VR, and transmission of large files such as healthcare MRI images.
  4. No interference from other appliances such as microwaves, since only 6E-enabled devices can use the 6GHz band.
  5. Data latency optimization. Wi-Fi 6E can provide reliable and stable, low-latency connectivity for mission-critical applications.

Wi-Fi 6E is like the new, wider lane that came with the previous two-lane Wi-Fi highway, with all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6.

What do I need for Wi-Fi 6 to work?

What do I need for Wi-Fi 6 to work?

For switching to the Wi-Fi 6 standard, you need to consider the following:

  • Does your router support Wi-Fi 6? The most important upgrade you'll need to take advantage of the new protocol is a Wi-Fi 6-enabled router. Otherwise, even if you have devices that support this standard, you won't be able to use it.
  • Do your PC and other Internet devices support Wi-Fi 6? To take full advantage of it, you need devices that support the new standard.

All devices and components compatible with Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E are often labeled as such. When choosing a new device, look for this label.

Summary

The constant increase in the number of devices using wireless connection requires high bandwidth, speed, and reliability of networks. Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) is a new generation of wireless technology that combines the strengths of its predecessor (802.11ac) and gives flexibility, scalability, and speed.

Wi-Fi 6 allows you to support new applications and provides better service for older programs through backwards compatibility. And its extension using the 6 GHz spectrum – Wi-Fi 6E solves the problem of wireless networks range lack, providing additional and adjacent bandwidth.

The sixth generation of Wi-Fi is a step forward in wireless technology. It offers many benefits both for personal use and for businesses and service provider organizations.

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