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WiFi 6


More and more people are working from home these days and companies are realizing the benefits.  Add to that the fact that business travel has basically vanished overnight and global organizations are relying on video conferencing on a daily basis, when they previously leaned towards in person, face to face meetings and you have a solid case for allowing staff to work from home where appropriate.

The results are in and productivity is up.

Many companies have vowed to continue with the home working structure for the foreseeable future, so what do homeowners need to consider to ensure efficiency, productivity and success?  Reliability of a robust WiFi network is key.

What is WiFi 6?

  • Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n, released in 2009.
  • Wi-Fi 5 is 802.11ac, released in 2014.
  • Wi-Fi 6 latest version, also known as 802.11ax

How fast is it? 

9.6Gbps (gigabits per second).  That’s a theoretical number, real world speeds are 1,320 Mbps, or roughly 30% faster than WiFi5.  It’s not just about speed, a single Wi-Fi 6 laptop connected to a Wi-Fi 6 router may only be slightly faster than a single Wi-Fi 5 laptop connected to a Wi-Fi 5 router.

The story starts to change as more and more devices get added onto your network. Where current routers might start to get overwhelmed by requests from a multitude of devices, Wi-Fi 6 routers are designed to more effectively keep all those devices up with the data they need.

How many WiFi devices did you own 10 years ago?

We want the devices we buy today to be smarter, faster, and simpler than those of earlier generations.

This is important, given that every time you bring a new Wi-Fi device home—phone, laptop, media streamer, etc.—your home’s current Wi-Fi network takes a toll. Connections get increasingly slower and spottier which could be a cause for concern if your existing network is already unreliable.

What does WiFi 6 do differently?

WiFi6 is 1024-QUAM (10 bits binary with each transmission) whereas Wifi5 is 256-QUAM (8 bits binary).  QUAM stands for quadrature amplitude modulation.  This means signals can go to more devices at once.

OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) meaning your router can serve more clients (phones for example) at once. 

MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) wireless access point (AP) can send data to four different Wi-Fi devices at the same time.  Instead of dividing channels into resource units, MU-MIMO uses spatial differences between devices to divide attention between them.

TWT (Target Wake Time) is a feature to save power and extend battery life.  This actually quite important.

Interference Rejection

Wireless access points often transmit on the same channel, in this case, the radio listens and waits for a clear signal before replying. With Wi-Fi 6, wireless access points near each other can be configured to have different Basic Service Set (BSS) “colors.” This “color” is just a number between 0 and 7. If a device is checking whether the channel is all clear and listens in, it may notice a transmission with a weak signal and a different “color.” It can then ignore this signal and transmit anyway without waiting, so this will improve performance in congested areas, and is also called “spatial frequency re-use.”

These are just some of the most interesting things, but the new WI-Fi standard also includes many smaller improvements. Wi-Fi 6 will also include improved beamforming for example.

How to Get Wi-Fi 6

A good first step is installing a Wi-Fi 6 wireless access point. As more Wi-Fi 6 products become available, they can be added to the network.

Call us to find out more or to schedule a no obligation home network health check.

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