The new IEEE 802.11ax standard promises to significantly improve the performance of Wi-Fi networks. But what are these improvements? And will IEEE 802.11ax really be a significant upgrade over IEEE 802.11ac? These topics are discussed in a new white paper from Qorvo titled “Wi-Fi .11 AX – What’s It All About?”
The white paper explains that performance and range are two significant factors associated with Wi-Fi, with performance essentially being data rates. In practical terms, the common scenario one encounters when in search of a Wi-Fi network is presented. This scenario involves turning on a laptop and then seeing a long list of routers or access points. Many of these routers are using the limited number of overlapping channels. In essence, these channels are being shared by users, meaning the end result is interference.
Essentially, throughput in dense environments can suffer as a result of two devices talking through each other in the same channel at the same moment. Furthermore, this form of interference is actually worsened by routers and access points utilizing the highest possible output power to improve range, according to the white paper. Essentially, more output power causes more interference, as well as causing a signal to “bleed” from one channel into other channels.
According to the white paper, the goal of IEEE 802.11ax is not necessarily higher data rates. Rather the objective is to use as many channels as possible in the 2.4- or 5-GHz band—at the same moment in the same area. A scenario is then illustrated in which a home is reaping the benefits of IEEE 802.11ax.
The impact of IEEE 802.11ax for both product suppliers and consumers is discussed. Specifically, “flat power,” which means uniform output power across the band, is one important aspect. Also mentioned is the consumer desire for smaller Wi-Fi routers, which is possible with IEEE 802.11ax because it uses all available channels with the highest efficiency. The white paper concludes by discussing the implications of using either the 2.4- or 5-GHz band.
Qorvo Inc., 7628 Thorndike Road, Greensboro, NC 27409; (336) 664-1233