Technology – WiFi Speeds Up

The speed at which we browse, download and upload data are about to get a whole lot quicker due to a refresh of the Wi-Fi standard. Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax to give it its technical name is just around the corner – the sixth change of the standards since it was invented, so how will it affect us?

According to analysts, it will be 30-40% faster than Wi-Fi 5. This is a more than most devices need, but it will significantly speed things up where there are multiple receivers tied to a single router.

If you picture Wi-Fi signals as transactions between an access point, like a router and a device, like a phone, Wi-Fi 6 will pack more information into one transaction, while also delivering to more customers in one go. Because it uses more binary code, more information is sent, which means data gets to you faster. Wi-Fi 6 will also be fitted with a technology to divide its bandwidth between various sub-channels, letting your router communicate with various devices at once.

This will be beneficial in places such as student residences, stadiums, malls, convention centres or airports. In those environments Wi-Fi, 6 will deploy a new technology standard ‘BSS Colouring’ so that networks can intelligently decide to avoid congested channels. Another useful setting is Target Wake Time (TWT), which should increase your device’s battery lives as devices will only connect when they need to.

However, because Wi-Fi works as an ecosystem, the benefits of the new technology won’t filter through until your devices and router are upgraded. You won’t see improvements if you are in an area with low speed or are on a lower-cost wireless plan.

Forecasters predict that only 22% of notebooks will have integrated Wi-Fi 6 technology by 2022. One thing is for sure though and that is that the new standards and technology are constantly being developed. This in itself drives the demand for accessories to facilitate and enjoy these new speeds.

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