Will Wi-Fi 6 be to wireless what 5G is to cellular technology?

One of the most talked-about topics of 2020 was 5G cellular technology. 5G promises to revolutionise cellular networks beyond the mobile cell phone and unlock IoT (Internet of Things). But what about the other wireless specification, Wi-Fi 6?

Is Wi-Fi technology still stuck in the stone age?

The rise of Wi-Fi 6

Not with the rise of Wi-Fi 6, which brings new possibilities to wireless networks. Developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi 6 is formally known as 802.11ax but often referred to as Wi-Fi 6 for marketing purposes.

Wi-Fi 6 will use Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). With OFDMA an access point can be configured to allow its entire channel to one user for a specific time or the channel can be set to accommodate multiple users.

This will result in increased efficiency and reduced latency. Ciscos’ Wireless CTO Matt Macpherson explains:

“What you can do is to say I need to get this much traffic off the network, and I’m going to schedule these devices to use different slots and avoid each other so that we can better optimise the network.”

The IoT revolution

The other issue Wi-Fi 6 like 5G needs to address is how to handle the IoT revolution. The struggle lies in high-density environments such as stadiums, concert arenas and enterprises.

MacPherson explains how it will improve network connectivity in high-density areas and thus optimise IoT. MacPherson adds:

“The fact that we can be more effective means that as density goes up, we can control the collision domain. And if we can control the collision, then we can give a predictable experience.”


  • Higher data rates with peak Gigabyte speeds
  • More robust outdoor network operations
  • OFDMA scheduling can optimise battery use
  • High-performance levels in dense environments.

Also read: This LiFi-enabled Oppo smartphone will be 100 times faster than WiFi Protection Status

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