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Wi-Fi 6: This can be the new wireless standard

2019-09-22T07:49:34.986Z

The new mobile radio standard 5G is on everyone's lips. With Wi-Fi 6 is a technical novelty in the starting blocks, which is at least as revolutionary. At least in theory.




Can you start with the terms 802.11n or 802.11ac? You have probably used the underlying technology many times and may be using it to read this text. The cryptic abbreviations indicate the two currently most important standards for wireless networks, ie WLANs.

With 802.11ax, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard issued a new standard a few days ago to make wireless networks fit for the future and, of course, much better than their predecessors.

The introduction of the new standard is accompanied by a change that will make linguistic handling of WLAN technology easier: Effective immediately, the IEEE will simply number the WLAN generations. In the future you just have to remember the version number and can forget the cryptic numbers-letter combinations. So the new standard is simply called Wi-Fi 6.

That can be better for Wi-Fi 6

Switching from 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 6 is technologically a big step, comparable to the leap from 4G to 5G in mobile. Necessary is the upgrade on the one hand, because the WLAN use increases. By 2019, nearly 15 billion devices will be connected via Wi-Fi, according to Statista. By 2021, it's expected to be 22.2 billion. In addition, the demands on bandwidth increase: If several family members want to stream movies in 4K resolution via WLAN, they need the necessary reserves.

The new streaming platforms for games also rely on the fastest possible Internet connection. The hitherto fastest Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 5, is reaching its limits.

Wi-Fi 6 is to remedy this, for example, with data rates of around 10 gigabits per second. This is far more than is possible with Wi-Fi 5. In addition, Wi-Fi routers can provide 6 more devices at the same time and exchange more data with them at the same time than older devices. For example, web surfing on free Wi-Fi hotspots in caf├ęs or public places should be significantly improved.

Since Wi-Fi 6 uses the new WPA3 encryption to secure the network, the security should also be better. In addition, Wi-Fi 6 is designed to conserve battery power for wireless-connected mobile devices because it organizes data transmission to them more efficiently than its predecessors.

Only a few can

For example, with the IEEE setting the specifications for Wi-Fi 6, hardware manufacturers can build standards-compliant wireless routers and smartphones. So far, the selection is still modest.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 and the iPhone 11 have Wi-Fi 6 technology on board, but most phones are still equipped with Wi-Fi 5. The same is true for wireless routers. The few that exist are comparatively expensive. For this purpose, Wi-Fi 6 routers are backwards compatible, so they also supply older devices with WLAN.

Too fast for this world

In addition to the small selection of devices and the cost of new hardware, there is another problem with Wi-Fi 6: Even if you have a suitable router and your devices dominate the technology, surfing the Internet is currently not clearly surfing the web Distinguish Wi-Fi 5 technology.

The reason: The bandwidth of your Internet service provider is unlikely to be high enough to take advantage of the speed of Wi-Fi 6. In Germany, the average download speed in August 2019 was around 74 megabits per second. This is far from the technical possibilities of the new WLAN standard. Basically you drive a sports car with new Wi-Fi 6 hardware, but stuck with this in a Tempo 30 zone.

The future is coming

Just like 5G, Wi-Fi 6 is a big technological leap forward. However, just like 5G, its dissemination has only just begun and with the standardization by the IEEE only the first important hurdle has been taken. It will certainly take a few more years for Wi-Fi 6 to prevail in all device classes and Internet connections in Germany are fast enough to keep up with the new technology.

Who operates a working home network with Wi-Fi 5, for which there is hardly a reason to switch in the near future. However, if you set up a completely new network, you should at least think about Wi-Fi 6 in order to be prepared for the developments of the coming years.

Source: spiegel

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