Wi-Fi 6 announced: what you need to know about the new standard

    In early October, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new version of the standard Wi-Fi - Wi-Fi 6. Its release is scheduled for the end of 2019. The developers changed the naming approach - they replaced the usual 802.11ax-type constructions with single digits. We understand what else is new.

    / Wikimedia / yonolatengo / CC

    Why change the name

    According to the developers of the standard, the new approach to the name will make the names of Wi-Fi standards understandable to a wide audience.

    In the Wi-Fi Alliance, it is noted that a situation is now quite common when users buy laptops that support a standard that their home router cannot work with. As a result, a newer device resorts to backward compatibility mechanisms — data is exchanged using the old standard. In some cases, this can reduce the data transfer rate by 50–80%.

    In order to visually show which standard a particular gadget supports, a new label has been worked out in the Alliance - a Wi-Fi icon, above which the corresponding figure is indicated.

    What features have provided Wi-Fi 6

    A detailed description of all the features and characteristics of Wi-Fi 6 can be found in the official document from the Wi-Fi Alliance (to get it, you need to fill out the form) or a document prepared by Cisco . Next, we will talk about the main innovations.

    Support 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Ideally, simultaneous support for 2.4 and 5 GHz will help increase the number of scenarios for working with multiple devices. However, in practice, this advantage may be of no use. There are too many legacy devices on the market (which support 2.4 GHz), because new devices will regularly work in compatibility mode.

    OFDMA support.This is Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). In fact, this technology is a "multi-user" version of OFDM . It allows you to divide the signal into subcarriers and allocate their groups for processing individual data streams.

    This will allow simultaneous transmission of data to several Wi-Fi 6 clients at once at an average speed. But there is one reservation: all these clients must support Wi-Fi 6. Therefore, the “old” gadgets, again, are “overboard”.

    Collaboration of MU-MIMO and OFDMA. In Wi-Fi 5 (this is 802.11ac in the old notation, which was approved in 2014) MIMO technology(Multiple Input Multiple Output) allowed data to be transmitted to four clients using different subcarriers. In Wi-Fi 6, the number of possible device connections has doubled to eight.

    The Wi-Fi Alliance states that MU-MIMO systems, along with OFDMA, will help organize multi-user data transfer at speeds up to 11 Gbit / s on the downlink . This result was demonstrated by test devices at CES 2018. However, residents of Hacker News note that ordinary gadgets (laptops, smartphones) will not see such speed.

    During the CES tests usedThe D-Link DIR-X9000 tri-band router, and 11 Gbps, is the sum of the maximum data rates in three channels. Residents of Hacker News say that, most often, devices use only one channel, because the data will be transmitted at speeds of up to 4804 Mbps.

    Target Wake Time function. It will allow devices to go to sleep and wake up on a schedule. Target Wake Time determines the time when the device is idle, and when it works. If the gadget does not transmit data in a specific period of time (for example, at night), its Wi-Fi connection “falls asleep”, which saves battery power and reduces network congestion.

    For each device, a “target wake-up time” is set - the moment when a conditional laptop always transmits data (for example, during business hours in corporate networks). During such periods, the sleep mode will not be activated.

    / Wikimedia / Guido Sorarù / CC

    Where will find the use of Wi-Fi 6

    According to the developers, the technology will be useful when deploying Wi-Fi networks with high density. Individual solutions, for example, MU-MIMO and OFDMA, will improve the quality of communication in public transport, corporate environments, shopping halls, hotels, or stadiums.

    However, members of the IT community see in Wi-Fi 6 a big minus in the context of technology implementation. The tangible result of the transition to Wi-Fi 6 will be noticeable only if all devices on the network will support the new standard. And this is definitely a problem.

    Recall that the release of Wi-Fi 6 will be held in late 2019.

    PS Several materials on the topic from the blog VAS Experts:

    P.P.S. Статьи по теме из нашего блога на Хабре:

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