Wi-Fi 6 has officially landed, with industry consortium the Wi-Fi Alliance unveiling its certification programme for the next-generation wireless connectivity standard.
Broadcom, Cypress, Intel, Marvell, Qualcomm and Ruckus all now have devices that are part of the certification test bed — described by AT&T’s VP of roaming, JR Wilson described as a “game changer in unlicensed connectivity”.
Broadcom VP Vijay Nagarajan added: “Broadcom is thrilled to have three of our best-in-class devices included in the certification test bed for today’s official launch of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6.
He added: “[These] devices offer consumers lower latency, better battery life and as yet unseen throughputs, all of which are critical for 5G services. As the full 6 GHz band is made available for unlicensed use – with multiple 160 MHz-wide channels — the Wi-Fi 6 consumer experience will be turbocharged for the gigabit home and AR/VR.”
Wi-Fi 6, or as it’s more technically known 802.11ax, offers lower latency, energy efficient connectivity, with six key improvements cited by the Alliance (whose members include Apple, Samsung, Intel, Dell, Broadcom, Cisco, Qualcomm, Microsoft.)
- “Orthogonal frequency division multiple access” (OFDMA), or channel sharing to increase network efficiency and reduce latency in high demand environments
- Multi-user multiple input, multiple output (multi-user MIMO) that enables access points (APs) to handle more devices
- 160 MHz channel use capability for improved bandwidth
- Target wake time (TWT) to ramp up network efficiency and device battery life, including for Internet of Things devices
- 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM), which encodes more data in the same amount of spectrum for emerging, bandwidth-intensive uses
- Transmit beamforming enables higher data rates at a given range to increase network capacity
Wi-Fi 6 Certified: 11 Devices Approved
The standard can potentially improve the battery life of Wi-Fi connected devices, including IoT devices, by initiating Target Wake Time (TWT) protocols.
TWT helps to minimize contention between clients and reduce the amount of time a client in power save mode takes to wake up.
A key features of Wi-Fi 6 is OFDMA. This essentially allows a router to use a single channel to interact with multiple clients and devices; e.g. streaming a video conference while ten people at a table are also post updates across an array of devices
It does this by dividing up the channel it is using to send signals across the frequency bands 2.4 or 5GHz into frequency allocations known as resource units (RU).
Each RU and channel divide gives the router another avenue to send out data packages to devices. Wi-Fi 6 has a significantly increased bandwidth as its use 160 MHz channels.
Richard Edgar, Senior Director of Product Management, Ensigma, Imagination Technologies commented: “Wi-Fi 6 is a major step forward in the evolution of Wi-Fi. Not only does it bring higher maximum data rates, it also improves robustness in crowded Wi-Fi environments, creating a better user experience with a sustained level of performance for the user.”
“In addition, Wi-Fi 6 brings significant benefits to new low-power markets such as IoT and wearables, enhancing the current Wi-Fi 5 products targeting these markets with improved power consumption, low data rates, and the addition of OFDMA to share spectrum efficiently.”