Wireless networks keep us connected at home while traveling and at work. Yet these radio-based devices have problems. They tend to be slower than wired connections. At home, these connections can quickly stop working reliably when several people connect half a dozen devices to the same network. The boom in video streaming and conference call services means we are using our wireless networks more intensively than ever before. According to Variety, the average US household has 11 connected wireless devices! Keeping all of those devices fully operational with today’s Wi-Fi is tough!
Wi-Fi 6 technology is going to arrive soon and address those challenges by bringing more speed while using less power.
Wireless network technology has been around for years. Many of us take it for granted. However, conventional Wi-FI has significant limitations. If you are a few rooms away from the router, your connection speed will fall. Wi-Fi 6 is a significant leap forward. Let’s take a closer look at the technology’s key capabilities.
This innovation in wireless network technology is going to make life better. Let’s take a closer look at the hardware behind this innovation in communications infrastructure.
Wireless networks rely on a combination of hardware and software to deliver connectivity to users. Fundamentally, wireless networks rely on radio signals to move data around. As a result, reliable electricity and physical barriers like walls all have a role to play on the quality of a wireless network connection.
For Wi-Fi 6, two technologies play a central role: MU-MIMO and OFDMA. The first technology — multi-user, multiple input, multiple output — is not new. The wireless network router in place right now probably has this technology. In this case, Wi-Fi 6 represents an incremental improvement on existing technology. For those wary about relying on unproven technology, Wi-Fi 6’s emphasis on improving existing technology is a comfort.
However, Wi-Fi 6 technology also breaks new ground. With OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access), Wi-Fi 6 introduces new radio technology capabilities. Instead of forcing a device to make multiple transmissions at the same time, OFDMA gives you a different way to manage transmissions. In essence, this hardware means that a single transmission can service multiple devices. This approach means the device delivers more benefits per signal. Given how many signals we have bouncing around in the modern world, this is a good development.
Finally, Wi-Fi 6 also uses different frequencies than other wireless networks. The Wi-Fi 6 standard includes 160 MHz channels, which tend to have lower latencies and faster speeds.
There is good news and bad news about the arrival of Wi-Fi 6 technology. The bad news: You will need to purchase new hardware. Wi-Fi 6 speeds and power optimization are only possible with new software. There is no way to simply download a software update and get Wi-Fi 6 speeds. The good news: This technology is quickly becoming standard on new devices. As a result, you will not need to hunt around for it since it will be widely available.
In September 2019, the Wi-Fi 6 certification program became available. That means you will start to see more and more companies rolling out Wi-Fi 6 certified products in the coming months and years. The Samsung Galaxy Note10 and the Ruckus R750 are just a few of the devices that will have Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. Keep in mind that you will need to buy at least two devices (i.e., a Wi-Fi 6 device like a smartphone and a router) to access the gains of higher speeds.
Wi-Fi 6 is just one of the ways you can get more value from your wireless network. You can also do amazing things with Bluetooth networks. For example, you can build a glowing Christmas snowman and control it through Bluetooth! You can also build wireless light switches using today’s Wi-Fi technology. These technologies are a powerful way to get more value from your wireless networks while you wait for Wi-Fi 6 hardware.