Wi-Fi 6
In WiFi technology, each frequency band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) is made of component streams. It is on these streams that our WiFi data travels. WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 carry the highest number of streams, thus allowing for gigabit WiFi speeds. WiFi 6 increases the number of streams to a new high of 12 across the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, whereas WiFi 5 has a limit of 8 in a dual-band configuration.

This increase in streams provides higher connection speed, and your client devices have more paths to communicate with your WiFi router. WiFi 6-enabled client devices enjoy a 40% increase in speed over their WiFi 5 counterparts.

Feature802.11ac Wave 2802.11ax
Radio Bands5 GHz2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Multi-User OperationDownlink MU-MIMODownlink MU-MIMOUplink MU-MIMOMU-OFDMA
Max. Spatial Streams88
BeamformingExplicit SoundingExplicit Sounding
Channel Widths20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz
Subcarrier Spacing312.5 kHz78.125 kHz
OFDM FFT Sizes64, 128, 256, 512256, 512, 1024, 2048
OFDM Symbol Duration3.2 µs12.8 µs
OFDM Cyclic Prefix(Guard Interval)0.8, 0.4 µs0.8, 1.6, 3.2 µs
Dynamic Bandwidth AllocationYesYes
Non-Adjacent Channel BondingYesYes
Max. Modulation256 QAM1024 QAM
Max. Data Rate6.933 Gbps9.607 Gbps
WiFi 6 is designed for the Smart Home

Smart Home devices and IoT applications are proliferating. As a result, Wi-Fi-connected devices in the average home are growing from an average of 10 devices to as many as 50 or more. Each WiFi-connected lightbulb, smart switch, door lock, appliance, or camera is a load on your WiFi network. WiFi 6 has been designed to be able to handle an increase in devices without negatively impacting your WiFi speeds. This results in a smooth streaming experience while providing uninterrupted connectivity of lights, switches, thermostats, and any other IoT device you may add to your smart home.

WiFi 6 routers are ideal for 4K/8K UHD streaming

Streaming 4K or 8K resolution video requires a consistent high-speed connection. In households with multiple users, streaming high-definition video puts an even greater load on the network. With a combination of ultra-fast processors, increased memory, and the increased number of radio streams, WiFi 6 routers are up to the task of streaming multiple high-definition video sessions without stuttering, buffering or other annoying hiccups you will see with older WiFi technology.

WiFi 6
WiFi 6
WiFi 6 clients are available now

WiFi 6 products are already here, so if you’ve bought the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone (which is the first in the upcoming family of WiFi 6 smartphones with other tablets and laptops to follow), you’ll benefit from the faster WiFi speeds that the new NETGEAR WiFi 6 routers offer.

2019 will truly be a banner year for WiFi 6-enabled devices, as other mainstream companies are recognizing the importance of this latest WiFi technology and gearing up to present their WiFi 6 portfolio of products.

The greater speed of 11ax is provided by the 1024 QAM modulation and the support for up to eight spatial streams. Whereas 802.11ac also included support for up to eight spatial streams, no more than four have ever been implemented, but it is expected that eight spatial streams will be common for 11ax access points. The increase in the number of OFDM subcarriers and the reduced subcarrier spacing, together with the greater OFDM FFT sizes and longer symbol time, allow for improved robustness and efficiency in multipath-fading environments.

WiFi 6
WiFi 6

The expanded multi-user support is an area that is critical for the improvement of network efficiency. The 11ax standard not only supports beamforming and downlink MU-MIMO, but it also adds uplink MU-MIMO and a new multi-user Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) mode. The introduction of OFDMA enables 11ax networks to maintain much better performance in high-density environments and is a mechanism that is familiar to those knowledgeable about LTE (cellular) radio networks. Essentially, OFDMA removes the need for carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) protocols to avoid transmit collisions by providing contention-free access to multiple clients for both uplink and downlink. The 802.11 CSMA protocols are known to be a major cause of inefficiency when a large number of access points and clients exist in a high-density deployment. Therefore, the use of OFDMA in 11ax networks offers an immediate gain in efficiency without the need for CSMA protocols.

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By Ashish Bharnuke

My name is Ashish Bharnuke from Maharashtra (India). I have completed my Master’s in English Literature (2022) and recently pursuing my assistant professor job.

4 thoughts on “WiFi 6 provides the fastest real-world speeds and range: An upgrade on WiFi 5”
  1. This article is a breath of fresh air! It tackles a complex subject with clarity and simplicity. The author’s ability to break down complicated ideas into digestible chunks is commendable. I’m grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained from reading this.

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