Wi-Fi 6, is it available?
New Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) ratified standard 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) availability scheduled for end of 2019. Developers changed their approach to standard titles - replacing traditional ones like 802.11ax with generation number of Wi-Fi technology.
Network managers should start thinking about 802.11ax, especially if you’re still using 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) access points or if you’re considering deploying many new wireless devices into new spaces where WLAN will be in high demand.
Wi-Fi 6 offers many benefits, however the most significant are:
1. Better raw performance. The multiple user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) downlink/uplink and ability to scale up to 8 streams help increase throughput by up to 4 times, and support for 1024-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) packs more bits further increasing capacity.
2. Better dense client environment support with orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), for the massively connected world of users and the Internet of Things (IOT).
3. Lower latency which translates into better performing applications.
4. Supports 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, which will help increase the number of scenarios for multiple devices.
Wi-Fi 6 usage
Wi-Fi 6 will help industries that have heavy throughput demand and high-density requirements. Industries such as airports, higher education institutions, healthcare, smart cities - all industries which need better network performance, and the list goes on.
Comparision of Wi-Fi Generations
|Standard||Year Released||Max data rate||Frequency bands||Spatial streams|
|Wi-Fi 4||IEEE 802.11n||2009||150 Mbps||2.4 GHz and 5GHz||1|
|Wi-Fi 5||IEEE 802.11ac||2014||3.5 Gbps||5GHz||4|
|Wi-Fi 6||IEEE 802.11ax||2019||9.6 Gbps||2.4 GHz and 5GHz||8|
|Feature||802.11ac Wave 2||802.11ax||Benefit|
|MU-MIMO||DL (Up to 4SS)||UL-DL (Up to 8SS)||Improved Network Througput, UL deferred to 802.11ax Wave 2|
|Frequency Multiplexing||OFDM||OFDM & OFDMA||Improved Network Concurrency + Latency. Combination of OFDMA + MU-MIMO is deferred to 802.11ax Wave 2|
|Modulation||Up to 256-QAM||Up to 1024-QAM||Increased peak data rates|
|Target Wait time||NA||Supported||Redused power consumption. TWT allows stations to wake up at scheduled times which allows longer sleep times improving battery life|
|Guard Interval||0.4, 0.8us||0.4, 0.8, 1.6, 3.2us||Outdoor performance improvement|
|Symbol duration||3.2us||3.2, 6.4 & 12.8us||Outdoor performance improvement|
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise announces readiness for next-generation Wi-Fi 6
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise vendor, represented in Baltic countries by Adventus Solutions, announces next-generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) access point range: Stellar Wi-Fi AP1320 and AP1360. They are designed for indoor and outdoor use, delivering higher speeds, greater customer capacity, improved IoT applicability and location-based services. They are ideal for high user density areas as well as for voice and video customers asking for high throughput and minimal delay. Like other Stellar series devices, they provide a secure network connection for IoT applications. Product availability is expected for Q4 2019.
When to start upgrading your network?
Most companies plan to upgrade their Wi-Fi infrastructure every 4-5 years, but with Wi-Fi 6 some will start the upgrade sooner. We predict that within the next 24 months, most companies will already be running some of the infrastructure components with this latest technology.
Given that network upgrades are not as fast as replacing personal devices, now might be a good time to start planning your network infrastructure upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 before your network becomes overloaded.