If you have not yet upgraded or purchased 802.11ac you should wait before Upgrading as a new WiFi standard much faster and better will soon be available !
802.11ax standard is the sixth generation of Wi-Fi Why 802.11ax is the next big thing in Wi-Fi !
Last week Broadcom became the third major vendor to announce availability of chips supporting the latest evolution of Wi-Fi. Broadcom’s 802.11ax chipset release includes three separate products for residential gateways, enterprise access points, and smartphones.
Broadcom says that their 802.11ax solution will be a massive boost to Wi-Fi quality, speed, and efficiency: Four times faster download, six times faster upload, four times better coverage, and seven times better battery life compared to current Wi-Fi using the 802.11ac standard.
The company has dubbed their solution ‘Max Wi-Fi’ and has launched this website for more details. The 802.11ax standard is the sixth generation of Wi-Fi technology to be released.
OFDMA is key to better Wi-Fi with 802.11ax
Much of the speed boost will come from wider channels (160 MHz), higher-order modulation (1024 QAM), and support for four streams of 802.11ax. But the most important feature of 802.11ax is arguably uplink and downlink OFDMA (scheduling), which will make this new generation of Wi-Fi operate in a manner similar to cellular networks.
The purpose of OFDMA is to do away with on-air packet collisions thus making Wi-Fi data transmissions faster and much more spectrum efficient. The feature means that 802.11ax will serve up much-improved Wi-Fi especially where the density of users and devices is high.
Eying a big residential market
Broadcom’s 802.11ax solution is likely – at least for starters – to be targeting the huge residential market for Wi-Fi-capable CPEs: This year some 180 million Wi-Fi-capable residential gateways will be shipped and that number is projected to grow to 200 million units by 2020. The company says that a four-family home will need connectivity for up to 50 Wi-Fi devices by 2022.
How enterprises & carriers will benefit
Broadcom’s 802.11ax products are packed with features (read the press release here) including power-saving ‘Target Wake Time’ that puts devices to sleep when they’re not exchanging data. Another direct benefit of OFDMA is improved Wi-Fi coverage resulting from an increase in the effective useful radio signal that can be received by Wi-Fi devices.
Wider coverage will likely be a significant boost to outdoor Wi-Fi in cities or on campuses. Coverage and quality improvements with 802.11ax should also make Wi-Fi a lot more attractive to carriers looking to serve consumers with low-cost data. Other current chipset vendors with 802.11ax products include Qualcomm and Quantenna.
The first 802.11ax products are expected to hit the markets at Christmas 2017 and/or early in 2018.
Why 802.11ax is the next big thing in Wi-Fi ?
IEEE 802.11ax is a type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set of types of WLANs. It is designed to improve overall spectral efficiency, especially in dense deployment scenarios. It is still in a very early stage of development, but is predicted to have a top speed of around 10 Gb/s. IEEE 802.11ax is designed to operate in the already existing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums. In addition to utilizing MIMO and MU-MIMO, the new amendment introduces OFDMA to improve overall spectral efficiency, and higher order 1024 QAM modulation support for increased throughput. Though the nominal data rate is just 37 % higher than IEEE 802.11ac, the new amendment is expected to achieve a 4 × increase to user throughput—due to more efficient spectrum utilization.
802.11ax is significantly faster
Ax will be anywhere from 4x to 10x faster than existing Wi-Fi, but the wider and multiple channels greatly increase throughput. For example, if one assumes the speed is increased by 4x with 160 MHz channels, the speed of a single 802.11ax stream will be 3.5Gbps. The equivalent 802.11ac connection will be 866 Mbps. A 4×4 MIMO environment would result in a total capacity of about 14 Gbps. A client device that supported two or three streams would easily top 1 Gbps or much more.
If one knocked the channel width down to 40 MHz, which could happen in crowded areas like stadiums or college dorms, a single .11ax stream would be about 800 Mbps for a total capacity of 3.2 Gbps. Regardless of the channel size, 802.11ax will provide a huge boost in speed and total capacity.
802.11ax will be less congested
One of the big advancements in LTE is something called orthogonal frequency division multiple access (ODMFA), which is an alphabet soup way of saying it does frequency division multiplexing. With previous versions of Wi-Fi, channels were held open until the data transmission had finished. Think of a line at a bank with only one teller where people have to queue up. MU-MIMO means there can be four tellers and four lines, but the people still need to wait for the transaction ahead of them is complete.
With OFDMA, each channel is chopped up into hundreds of smaller sub-channels, each with a different frequency. The signals are then turned orthogonally (at right angles) so they can be stacked on top of each other and de-multiplexed. With the bank analogy, imagine a teller being able to handle multiple customers when they are free. So customer one hands the teller a check and while that person is signing the check, the teller deals with the next customer, etc. The use of OFDMA means up to 30 clients can share each channel instead of having to take turns broadcasting and listening on each.
From a user perspective, the network will seem much less congested than with 802.11ac. Another benefit is that the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands can be combined creating even more channels for data. The ax specification also includes something called QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) encoding, which allows for more data to be transmitted per packet.
802.11ax improves battery life
Any new Wi-Fi standard will improve battery life, since the range is typically further and data is transmitted faster so the client does not need to work as hard. However, ax has a new feature called wake time scheduling. This enables APs to tell clients when to go to sleep and provides a schedule of when to wake. These are very short periods of time, but being able to sleep a bunch of short times will make a big difference on battery life.
I’ve talked with chip, AP and client device manufacturers about when to expect 802.11ax products, and we should see the first consumer Wi-Fi routers in the early part of 2018 with an outside shot of late 2017. After that, the business grade APs and clients will follow. We are certainly close enough that network managers should be starting the educational process and planning now.
If you’re not sure what this means for your business, talk to your Wi-Fi vendor, as all the major wireless LAN suppliers are planning to support 802.11ax. One final point: If you need to upgrade now, I certainly wouldn’t put if off and wait for ax. Wi-Fi is extremely important to businesses of all sizes and will become more important as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more widely adopted.
The evolution of client devices has been “game changing,” as there’s almost nothing we do that doesn’t involve them. The 802.11ax specification finally brings a Wi-Fi standard to the network that can support all of the things we want to do with our wireless LANs.
With Downlink MU MIMO a device may transmit concurrently to multiple receivers and with Uplink MU MIMO a device may simultaneously receive from multiple transmitters. Whereas OFDMA separates receivers to different RUs, with MU MIMO the devices are separated to different spatial streams. In 802.11ax, MU MIMO and OFDMA technologies can be used simultaneously. To enable uplink MU transmissions, the AP transmits a new control frame (Trigger) which contains scheduling information (RUs allocations for stations, modulation and coding scheme (MCS) that shall be used for each station). Furthermore, Trigger also provides synchronization for an uplink transmission, since the transmission starts SIFS after the end of Trigger.
Is 802.11ax Wi-Fi?
Yes, 802.11ax is the next version of Wi-Fi, and 802.11ax devices should be backward compatible with all existing Wi-Fi devices. You should absolutely get an 802.11ax device when they become available. There’s a new version of Wi-Fi about every four or five years. 802.11a and b started in 1999, followed by g in 2003, n in 2009, and ac in 2013 (with another revision in 2015).
There are a lot of other standards starting with 802.11. For instance, 802.11ad is ‘WiGig,’ which has extremely high speeds but poor wall penetration. 802.11p is a special kind of Wi-Fi to allow moving cars to talk to each other. 802.11u describes a way to easily connect to public hotspots otherwise known as “Hotspot 2.0.”
How Does 802.11ax Work?
802.11ax improves performance with several major new technologies.
• Improved multi-user MIMO means routers can steer wireless beams directly at up to right users at a time, up from from with 802.11ac. They can also now do this with both uploads and downloads, not just uploads as in 802.11ac.
• OFDMA means rather than having users take turns broadcasting and listening on each channel, up to 30 users will be able to share each channel.
• Combining the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands creates more channels for data, and 1024 QAM encoding (which is an experimental feature in some 802.11ac routers) allows for more data per packet.
• Uplink scheduling takes some of the delay out of waiting for a free channel, as routers can tell clients when they’ll have time to listen for uploads.
• Wake time scheduling lets routers tell clients to take a nap until they have time to chat, scheduling when to wake up in advance. That helps save battery life.
What Are the Downsides of 802.11ax?
802.11ax is a hardware upgrade, not a software upgrade. To see real improvements with 802.11ax, you need both the router and client to support ax. Busy, public Wi-Fi systems like coffee shops and hotels may not upgrade their routers frequently.
You also need as many ax clients on the network as possible. As ax clients replace older, slower 802.11g or 802.11n clients, the overall network speed and capacity will increase. So, once again, it’ll take a few years before you really see 802.11ax capacity improvements on public Wi-Fi.
When Will 802.11ax Routers Go On Sale?
You should expect 802.11ax routers to come from all of the major router vendors, such as Netgear and D-Link, for the 2017 holiday season. The technology will appear in laptops and phones in 2018, and will probably be included in Qualcomm’s presumed next Snapdragon chip (along with Qualcomm’s new X20 modem) in 2018.
Please refer to the following article from PC Mag and Author Sascha Segan for all the details there : –