Most global consumers currently rely on Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5, though the growing demand for fast, reliable connectivity has sparked the arrival of Wi-Fi 6, which increases Internet speed above the 700 Mbps achieved by its predecessors. Not only is Wi-Fi 6 faster, but also, its aim is different. Arguably its greatest advancement is its ability to operate over various devices simultaneously by using a different modulation technique called Multi-User Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (MU-OFDMA). This permits access points to connect to nine clients at the same time, thus creating a larger number of streams in high-density environments. The effect of the new technique is increased efficiency and reduced latency.
New Features For Wi-Fi 6
In addition to relying on updated modulation, Wi-Fi 6 also has a feature called ‘basis service set coloring’, which reduces interference from other Wi-Fi users close by who are opening on the same frequency. It also incorporates upgraded Wi-Fi security standards and relies on ‘target wait time’, which can help improve battery life. Wi-Fi 6 can connect physical devices (such as HVAC systems, home appliances, and vehicles) to the Internet, allowing them to communicate with each other. The advances afforded by Wi-Fi 6, says Cisco Executive Irving Tan, will be a greater reliance on the Internet. As Tan told CNBC, “By 2022, the amount of traffic generated in the single year will represent the entire last 32 years of the internet combined.”
Wi-Fi 6 And The Digital Divide
There is a big connectivity gap faced by rural communities across the globe, since the faster broadband speeds get, the further behind those with little or no access fall. Poorer communities also stand to lose, since many cannot afford high-speed Internet. The problem, in part, lies with the cost of installing new communication lines in areas with low population densities. In some cases, additional equipment such as access multipliers are required to amplify signals. Having access to high-speed communications is key for both children engaged in remote learning and workers who communicate online. It affects the economic health of these areas and enhances their desirability as a place to reside. LA-based database BroadbandNow found that around 42 million Americans do not have access to broadband. Although both Democrats and Republicans have pushed for the expansion of connectivity across the country, the cost of installation is still unacceptably high, and a big investment will have to be made if rural areas are to access Wi-Fi 6 within the next decade.
Wi-Fi 6 Already A Reality For Some
Wi-Fi 6 is still unknown to many Americans, despite the fact that it made its debut in 2019 and numerous businesses are already relying on this technology. Manufacturers report that public awareness of Wi-Fi 6 is growing, with devices such as smartphones from Samsung and Apple enjoying full support for the new standard. The interest goes both ways, with some consumers discovering and purchasing Wi-Fi 6 after buying popular devices such as iPhones. Although last year saw the launch of the first crop of Wi-Fi 6 routers, it is expected that subsequent routers will cost significantly less, and therefore be more accessible to average users in urban areas.
Wi-Fi 6 promises to play a big role in Internet connectivity in the near future. Not only does it offer human-to-machine connectivity, but rather, it also offers machine-to-machine connectivity so that various devices can connect up to each other. Although Wi-Fi 6 is not likely to make its presence felt in rural areas, it is hoped that due investments will be made to reduce the size of the connectivity gap.