What is “Wi-Fi 6 ready”?
You are choosing a device just right for you, and trying to compare each product by specifications: which is the most powerful? Does it support the latest technology, such as Wi-Fi 6? And then, you might stumble upon the terms Wi-Fi 6 ready or 802.11ax-ready. What does the “ready” mean here?
Wi-Fi 6 ready: how it started
Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of a wireless communication technology standardized by IEEE, and its outstanding performance and benefits are explained very well in the post by Earl.
For this post, we’re going to explore what “Wi-Fi 6 ready” is, its benefits compared to previous generation of Wi-Fi, and how it differs from standard Wi-Fi 6.
The term “Wi-Fi 6 ready” was used first by Qualcomm back in late 2018 when the new Snapdragon 855 processor was released. It included sets of new wireless communication technology that enables faster, stable connection, and support for multiple devices with same access point – a crucial feature for businesses who deployed a lot of mobile devices with high user density.
This happened before full 802.11ax standards were finally ratified. As a result, Qualcomm’s then new processor supported a subset of the 802.11ax standard, making it not fully compliant – hence the naming of Wi-Fi 6 ready, also known as 802.11ax-ready. However, this was still a great upgrade from the previous generation that might change the whole work process and a big step towards the world of IoT.
What makes Wi-Fi 6 ready an upgrade from Wi-Fi 5?
Target wakeup Time (TWT) and support for 8 spatial streams are two major features that are considered a technological breakthrough of Wi-Fi, which are also supported by Qualcomm’s Wi-Fi 6 ready processors.
Target Wakeup Time (TWT) enables devices to determine when and how frequently they will wake up to send or receive data. This allows a Wi-Fi 6 enabled AP to significantly increase device sleep time and conserve battery life. In addition, TWT also reduces contention and overlap between users.
Just like fully compliant Wi-Fi 6 devices, Wi-Fi 6 ready also support up to 8 spatial streams: if your device supports 802.ax-ready, it is able to identify the 8-stream configuration in the AP through a process called sounding, supporting twice the devices than when there are only 4-stream 802.11ac devices as visualized in the image above.
Difference between Wi-Fi 6 ready and Wi-Fi 6 IEEE standard
The full IEEE Wi-Fi 6 compliant device does support more features, including OFDMA, 1024-QAM, and a faster data rate. However, the efficient TWT (Target Wake Time) and 8 spatial stream support also makes Wi-Fi 6 ready a significant and reasonable upgrade from Wi-Fi 5, especially if you’re seeking to solve the congestion and slow data rate issue in your workplace.