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Wi-Fi 6: The Next Generation of Wireless

The total amount of internet traffic from 2017-2022 will be higher than in the previous 32 years of the internet. Wi-Fi will be the transport mechanism for more than half of that traffic. In addition to existing bandwidth challenges, an influx of new Wi-Fi 6 mobile devices is expected to hit networks in late 2019 and 2020. The data traffic per smartphone is expected to increase by ten times from 2016 to 2022. Adding to Wi-Fi data rate requirements, 5G networks will be offloading significant amounts of traffic to Wi-Fi. These developments will cause challenges for Wi-Fi networks, which are already dealing with a steady influx of increasing clients, higher client density, and high throughput applications. Bandwidth-intensive 4K video is expected to grow from three percent of all IP traffic in 2017 to twentytwo percent in 2022. 4K video already challenges networks with 15 to 18 Mbps throughput, but 8K streaming video is coming online as well, consuming roughly 1 Gbps of throughput. Augmented and virtual reality applications will have increasing use, and consume anywhere from 600 Mbps to 1 Gbps of traffic. These new bandwidth challenges will require worldwide Wi-Fi connection speeds to increase 2.2x between 2017 and 2022.

Wi-Fi 6: Capabilities and Benefits

Despite the challenges in the changing wireless landscape, users expect wireless deployments to be pervasive, and to support high capacity and a high density of clients. Wi-Fi 6 is designed to meet these changing needs — performance that will exceed 802.11ac Wave 2 by over 3-4 times, support for higher density with more efficient airtime, support for a higher scale of client devices, and significant battery saving. While Wi-Fi 6 will be able to deliver theoretical data-rate growth of around 37%, its largest benefit is the ability to deliver high-efficiency performance in real-world environments. As the number of clients increase, Wi-Fi 6 will be able to sustain far more consistent data throughput than previous 802.11n and 802.11ac amendments. There are controlled environments with a very small amount of clients where previous generations of Wi-Fi may provide higher throughput. This is due to the longer frames and wider guard intervals of 802.11ax, which help provide resiliency. In addition to consistent real-world data throughput, Wi-Fi 6 comes with the additional benefits of wider coverage ranges, better reliability, better IoT operation, and more

Wi-Fi 6 Benefits

Additional frequency spectrum for IoT and other devices

Power savings for wireless devices

 Improved outdoor performance

Consistent data throughput in dense environments

Wider coverage range

Increased reliability and reduced disconnections

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