The Wi-Fi Alliance has made a significant rebranding of the 802.11 Wi-Fi standards. 802.11 N will be known as Wi-Fi 4 and its successors AC and AX will be known as Wi-Fi 5 and 6.
It is not to ‘infinity and beyond’ but to Wi-Fi 4, 5, 6, and beyond – just like the seemingly infinite number of Rambo movies.
Strangely missing is 802.11 AD or WiGig – an orphaned standard that relies on a new 60GHz Wi-Fi band for multi-gigabit, low-latency connectivity. It seems that mainstream routers will skip that step and go to AX which remains backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 4 and 5.
Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, said
For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through
technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest
Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming
scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily
understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection.
There will still be a ‘speed’ rating using the combined
router’s bandwidth, and we will see terms
like Beam Forming, MIMO, MU-MIMO, Adaptive QoS, antenna numbers (8×8) and more.
Routers can be certified with Wi-Fi Alliance as well for extra consumer
So, what is Wi-Fi 6
It is the next generation of Wi-Fi and its faster, better,
more power efficient and designed to meet the needs of IoT and high traffic
devices like 4K video streaming. It is also backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 4, and 5 in that is
can fall back to single band 2.4GHz and dual-band
2.4GHz and 5GHz.
There are some new terms to come to terms with.
Uplink and downlink orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) increases efficiency and lowers latency for high demand environments
1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM) enables peak gigabit speeds for emerging, bandwidth-intensive use cases
Improved medium access control (MAC) control signalling increases throughput and capacity while reducing latency
Increased symbol durations make outdoor network operations more robust
Premium routers may have onboard security from AV partners, automatic fall back to 4/5G and Bluetooth connectivity to enable streaming to multi-room devices.
Mesh versions will come sometime after the normal versionS are released.
Prices are likely to start at A$800 and go up from there. Manufacturers see lots of life left in Wi-Fi 5 AC routers so don’t panic thinking you need to upgrade.
What all this means
It can provide up to 11Gbits (That is Wi-Fi 6 11,000) and a
dedicated 5Gbits to a device.