Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless standard; it can do more than just boost speeds for single users, busy and client-dense environments benefit significantly.

It brings both speed improvments and more efficient resource sharing, resulting in greater overall performance, for more users, lower latency and less pauses in connectivity.

To achieve this, Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax brings in several advanced new techologies and features, including some that have already been used to great effect in 4G and LTE networks, enhancing speeds while many users download  content at the same time.

As more devices need more bandwidth, more often, Wi-Fi 6 enables this with the key technologies detailed in the sections below:

OFDMA Higher Capacity with OFDMA and Multi-User MIMO
BSS Colouring Less Interference with BSS Colouring
Dual-Band Dual-Band Performance Boost and Improved Range with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 6
Target Wake Time Better Battery Life on Mobile Devices with Target Wake Time
WPA3 Security Stronger Security with the latest WPA3 Encryption

OFDMA

Higher Capacity with OFDMA and Multi-User MIMO


OFDMA is a key feature of Wi-Fi 6. It's short for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, which is an advanced technology for sharing a radio between multiple users. 4G networks and now Wi-Fi 6 use this to provide data to many users at once.

Previous Wi-Fi standards have access points communicate with wireless clients, one at a time. Sending to one client, then moving on to send to the next. This can become more inefficient as the number of clients connected increases, users wait longer for their turn, causing more packet loss, laggy video and buffering.

Wi-Fi 6 uses OFDMA to split up an access point's channel bandwidth into small chunks referred to as Resource Units. Then it uses complex scheduling in the background to determine which users need more resources at any one time.

Users watching videos can be allocated more, while a phone just checking email or on a voice call could be assigned less, just as much as each one requires, but each one receiving its requested data in good time.

Wi-Fi 6 OFDMA

Older Wi-Fi Standards

The result is that everyone receives data more regularly and with greater overall speeds, making each AP more able to service more clients, doing more.

In addition, 802.11ax makes improvements to Multi-User MIMO, where the previous standard only supported this for downstream, 802.11ax improves this to support both directions.


BSS Colouring

Less Interference with BSS Colouring


Managing interference with wireless networks can often be a difficult and time consuming task, whether conflicting with neighbouring networks or managing channel assignment for wireless networks spanning multiple APs; If another network is transmitting on the same channel, this will cause drops in performance for everyone, while clients and access points wait for the air to clear before sending.

Wi-Fi 6 introduces a feature called 'BSS Colouring', with BSS being the Basic Service Set, or Access Point. Each Wi-Fi 6 wireless network adds a unique identifier/number to its transmissions, as an additional identifier beyond just the frequency / channel, which is used to detect whether the wireless channel is clear to send, when the Access Point and Client are preparing to send data to each other.

Wi-Fi 6 clients use the BSS Colouring value to determine whether transmissions are coming from their own network or another.

If the detected transmission doesn't match the BSS Colour of the wireless network, or it's an older wireless network without a BSS Colour value, the client can choose to ignore the transmission. This check occurs where the remote signal is weak enough that it won't disrupt the client's wireless transmission, so that it then won't interfere with the client to access point communications.

The result is that Wi-Fi 6 installations can more safely overlap access points on the same channel. Giving better performance and better handling of interference, where wireless channels are shared with other networks.

Dual-Band

Dual-Band Performance Boost with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 6


There are two primary frequencies used for wireless networking at present, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz frequency band has a smaller and more crowded space to operate within than 5GHz, so it's comparatively slower than the larger and more spread out 5GHz band.

However, in some situations, it has a significant advantage over the 5GHz band because the lower frequency allows it to pass through objects, such as walls and floors, potentially better than 5GHz wireless. This means that in some home and office installations, 2.4GHz wireless can reach some locations that 5GHz wireless may not be able to cover, or struggle to provide good performance to, with frequent connection drop-outs. For instance, in a room at the other side of the house from the Access Point.

The 802.11ax standard brings performance improvements to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, giving better performance to each. The previous 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 standard only brought its performance improvements to the larger 5GHz band, which could limit the coverage possible in some scenarios.

This performance uplift on the 2.4GHz band allows for better performance at range and through walls, while still having all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 technology. Allowing the VigorAP and its clients to make full use of the bandwidth available.

VigorAP 960C - Dual Band Wi-Fi 6


Target Wake Time

Better Battery Life on Mobile Devices with Target Wake Time


With more and more connected devices, including IoT smart devices, mobile phones and tablets. Many of these devices run on batteries, so improving battery life is always a priority.

Target Wake Time allows client devices to extend their battery life with Wi-Fi 6, by staying in lower power states for longer. Only checking in with the wireless network when needed.

Instead of contacting an access point to stay connected at fixed intervals, which uses up power to 'wake up' and check in each time. Wi-Fi 6 client devices negotiate with the access point, arranging when to start transmitting again to suit their requirements. So mobile wireless clients remain connected and use less power to do so.

WPA3 Wireless Security

Stronger Security with the latest WPA3 Encryption


Wi-Fi 6 also updates security to include the latest WPA3 security standard

WPA3-Enterprise security offers greater 192-bit encryption strength for networks using RADIUS & 802.1x authentication. RADIUS authentication can be managed either with an external server or the VigorAP's built-in RADIUS server.

DrayTek wireless routers and VigorAP wireless access points support multiple wireless networks per access point. Fully segmented from each other with 802.1q VLANs, allowing for guest network access to be fully segregated from internal company data.

Click here to learn more about WPA3 Wireless Security with DrayTek products.

Select a DrayTek Wi-Fi 6 Product


See DrayTek's range of managed and Mesh capable Wi-Fi access points. Wi-Fi 6 capability is available in models with "AX" wireless, such as the AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 VigorAP 960C:

DrayTek VigorAP Access Points with Wi-Fi 6 and Mesh capability