Standardized in 1997, Wi-Fi has changed the way that we compute. Today, almost
every one of us uses a Wi-Fi connection on a daily basis, whether it’s
for watching a show on a tablet at home, using our laptops at work or even
transferring photos from a camera. Millions of Wi-Fi-enabled products are
being shipped each week, and it seems this technology is constantly finding
its way into new device categories.
Since its humble beginnings, Wi-Fi has progressed at a rapid pace. While the
initial standard allowed for just 2 Mbit/s data rates, today’s Wi-Fi
implementations allow for speeds in the order of Gigabits to be supported.
This last in our three part blog series covering the history of Wi-Fi will
look at what is next for the wireless standard.
The latest 802.11 wireless technology to be adopted at scale is 802.11ac. It
extends 802.11n, enabling improvements specifically in the 5.8 GHz band, with
802.11n technology used in the 2.4 GHz band for backwards compatibility.
By sticking to the 5.8 GHz band, 802.11ac is able to benefit from a huge 160
Hz channel bandwidth which would be impossible in the already crowded 2.4 GHz
band. In addition, beamforming and support for up to 8 MIMO streams raises the
speeds that can be supported. Depending on configuration, data rates can range
from a minimum of 433 Mbit/s to multiple Gigabits in cases where both the
router and the end-user device have multiple antennas.
If that’s not fast enough, the even more cutting edge 802.11ad standard
(which is now starting to appear on the market) uses 60 GHz ‘millimeter
wave’ frequencies to achieve data rates up to 7 Gbit/s, even without
MIMO propagation. The major catch with this is that at 60 GHz frequencies,
wireless range and penetration are greatly reduced.
Looking ahead: Wi-Fi 6 to kick-off a new connectivity age.
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ ensures interoperability and an improved
user experience across all devices running IEEE 802.11ax technology. Wi-Fi 6
benefits both the 5 and 2.4 GHz bands, incorporating major fundamental
enhancements like Multi-User MIMO, OFDMA, 1024-QAM, BSS coloring and target
Source: Wi-Fi Alliance
Wi-Fi 6 delivers faster speeds with low latency, high network utilization and
power saving technologies that provide substantial benefits spanning all the
way from high density enterprises to enabling battery operated low power IoT
Wi-Fi Alliance forecasts that over 1.6 billion devices supporting Wi-Fi 6 will
be shipped worldwide by 2020. NXP’s broad
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 portfolio
is ready to kick-off a new connectivity age.
Part 1: The early years of Wi-Fi
Part 2: Wi-Fi on the run for speed improvements
NXP’s Wi-Fi portfolio