As the number of IoT devices grows at home, homeowners will need faster Wi-Fi connectivity. The good news is that the next Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ax, will arrive at some users’ houses by the end of this year.
Chip companies such as Broadcom, Qualcomm and Quantenna recently started shipping chipsets embedded with the sixth-generation Wi-Fi standard. Tech giants including Asus, D-Link, Netgear and Microsoft are developing devices using the next-gen chips.
802.11ax runs more efficiently on the 5GHz band and has a connectivity speed four times of the 802.11ac standard, based on the performance of Asus’ first 802.11ax-enabled router. The RT-AX88U model has a data transfer speed of 1,148Mbps on 2.4GHz band and 4,804Mbps on 5GHz band.
In addition to delivering a faster speed, the new Wi-Fi standard comes with other features too. Uplink and downlink Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is improved, so that several devices can exchange data simultaneously and multiple data streams are put in place.
Multi-user MIMO is also supported so that per-user throughput is improved in dense user context. The Target Wake Time feature aims to improve device wake-up and sleep efficiency so as to increase battery life. Some mobile devices supporting the 802.11ax standard will support Bluetooth 5.0, the latest version of the connectivity standard, to enable a broader connecting range.
While the connectivity speed is claimed to jump, considering the number of connected devices will also grow, it is unclear if users will really see four times faster Internet connecting speed.
Each household is estimated to have 10 Internet-connected devices on average, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which forecast that the number will increase to 50 by 2022.
According to IHS Markit, the total shipment of 802.11ax-enabled devices will increase from 116,000 units in 2019 to 58 million units in 2021.