Glossary

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) connectivity

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the cutting-edge standard developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization that certifies wireless device interoperability. Although it is based on the IEEE 802.11ax standard, the Wi-Fi Alliance decided to adopt a more straightforward name for the successor of the 802.11ac, 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11a wireless protocols.

The new technology pledges to resolve efficiency, capacity, performance, and coverage issues for even the most demanding networks. Although Wi-Fi 6 can deliver significantly increased data rates in comparison to its forerunners, the new protocol emphasizes connectivity in jam-packed wireless spaces like public venues and corporate networks. The primary purpose is to ensure optimal performance and low latency for each device, regardless of how many are connected at a given time. Besides everyday consumers and corporations, Wi-Fi 6 is expected to facilitate operations and expand possibilities for augmented reality, healthcare, and e-learning services, to name but a few sectors.

Wi-Fi 6 can make use of a broader ISM radio band spectrum, solving the current spectrum shortage once regulatory agencies approve the additional band usage. For now, improved security, speed, and connection reliability can already be experienced. However, as is the case with 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and all previous generations, the top speed remains speculative. Wi-Fi 6 could, in theory, provide 9.6 Gbps of data transfer speed, but one is unlikely to reach maximum speed in real-world wireless communications. The most significant change noticed by users will possibly be up to 75% of latency decrease and connection steadiness, even with multiple devices connected to the same network.

Certified Wi-Fi 6 devices are compatible with previous wireless generations, and the technology is slowly gaining traction in the consumer electronics industry. Samsung was the first major manufacturer to release Wi-Fi 6 compatible smartphones, with the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy S10 series.

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