“Wi-Fi 6 was created to be more than just an incremental upgrade over Wi-Fi 5, but rather a game-changing technology reflecting substantial technological changes that benefit the billions of Wi-Fi enabled devices today. and future in the world.”
The latest consumer version of the ubiquitous Wi-Fi standard, known as IEEE 802.11ax or “Wi-Fi 6”, offers substantial technological improvements over traditional Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi’s immediate predecessor. -Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11 ca). In particular, Wi-Fi 6 offers faster performance, lower power consumption and better battery life, while helping to reduce network congestion and latency. These substantial improvements to even the immediate predecessor of Wi-Fi technology are made possible by several key technological advancements.
Wi-Fi 6 has also been well-timed – its benefits are valuable and necessary improvements as consumers and businesses increasingly seek high-speed connectivity across a wide and ever-expanding range of devices and of uses, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and Autonomous Vehicles. While IoT and AR/VR devices have been around for several years, adoption of these technologies has been held back, in part, by network speed and congestion, an issue that Wi-Fi 6 directly addresses.
Why Wi-Fi 6 Matters
Wi-Fi has been an essential technology over the past two decades for connecting devices to the Internet wirelessly, allowing users to stay wireless and eliminating the need to wire homes and businesses or include additional ports to connect devices. Recently, Wi-Fi usage has increased dramatically as consumers and businesses connect more devices to the internet to power IoT and AR/VR technologies. It should come as little shock to anyone that user habits have changed in recent years with internet bandwidth increasingly focused on large-scale video consumption and changing workplaces, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and its consequences. All of this led to the need for more access points (for exampleworkers requiring high-speed connectivity at home instead of using existing office connectivity), a need for lower latency, and additional throughput demands (for examplehigh-speed video conferencing instead of in-person meetings).
Prior to the existence of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi capability up to Wi-Fi 5 was not technologically advanced enough to meet the growing and expected future requirements for high capacity, low latency and high speed for Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6 was created to be more than just an incremental upgrade over Wi-Fi 5, but rather a breakthrough technology reflecting substantial technological changes that benefit the billions of Wi-Fi enabled devices today and future in the world.
For example, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) is a multiple-access scheme for multiple users based on OFDM. OFDM was invented decades ago and at a high level splits a large transmission into multiple smaller signals which are transmitted simultaneously without interference due to the orthogonality of the multiple smaller signals. The main advantage of OFDMA over OFDM is that an entire channel can be assigned to a single user at a time, or it can be partitioned to serve multiple users simultaneously, depending on channel requirements. This flexibility creates superior throughput and functionality for modern Wi-Fi needs. Similarly, the subcarrier spacing in Wi-Fi 6 is 78.125 kHz, 25% of the 312.5 KHz subcarrier spacing of Wi-Fi 5. In other words, the ” density” of data transmissions in Wi-Fi 6 can be four times greater. superior to that of Wi-Fi 5, which offers substantial advantages.
Another key Wi-Fi 6 enhancement is Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) technology for the uplink channel, enabling a single point of access (for examplerouter) to communicate with multiple clients (for example, mobile phones) simultaneously. For example, Wi-Fi 6’s MU-MIMO for uplink allows multiple clients to send acknowledgment responses simultaneously, reducing response time. MU-MIMO tends to work best for multiple users with full buffer traffic communicating with an access point at a medium distance.
A third significant change in Wi-Fi 6 involves modifications to the physical layer (PHY) and the medium access control (MAC) layer for high-efficiency operation. An example of a PHY layer change is the 1024 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) modulation for Wi-Fi 6, which is four times higher than the 256 QAM in Wi-Fi 5 and 16 times higher than the 64 QAM in Wi-Fi 4. This higher QAM increases the modulation rate for transmission during peak data transfer times.
The technological origins of Wi-Fi 6
Technology standards, including the Wi-Fi standard, are promulgated by global technology experts, usually from leading technology companies, who come together to form what are known as Standards Organizations (SSOs). Wi-Fi protocols are created under the professional organization of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Global technology companies are involved at varying levels in creating and changing the Wi-Fi standard, with some taking a leading role in innovation (while others tend to stay on the sidelines). NGB Corporation to determine which entities have been the largest contributors to Wi-Fi 6 innovations. As part of its analysis, NGB has identified the number of contributions, or proposed technology changes, submitted to the Wi-Fi 6 standard, which showed that Qualcomm, Huawei, Intel, Marvell/NXP, Newracom and MediaTek had the highest overall number of contributions, in that order. NGB notes that Huawei was the main contributor before the release of Project 1.0, which included most of the fundamental features of Wi-Fi 6, while Qualcomm increased its number of contributions after Project 1.0 when chipset companies started designing. new chips based on the Draft 1.0 release. The list of top 20 contributors also includes some of the biggest telecommunications, mobile and technology companies, including Ericsson, Apple, Samsung, LG Electronics, ZTE, among others.
As the NGB report notes, the number of overall contributions to the standard does not necessarily correspond directly to the number of patents essential to the Wi-Fi 6 standard as a whole, or to the specific enhancements that contribute significantly to the value provided by Wi-Fi. -Fi 6. For example, arguably the most valuable technological improvement to Wi-Fi 6 is OFDMA because of the high-performance benefits it offers to Wi-Fi. For Essential Patents standards related to OFDMA, NGB has identified Huawei (#1 OFDMA SEP holder; #2 contributor) and Qualcomm (#2 OFDMA SEP holder; #1 contributor)) as major contributors to this key technology. Ultimately, as standards evolve, not all of Wi-Fi 6’s technological improvements will have the same value attributable to the technological, and presumably commercial, success of Wi-Fi 6.
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