The number of devices on the World Wide Web is growing rapidly. According to EZELINK, in 2022 there will be six devices connected to the Internet for every person. The bottleneck for the development of IT infrastructure that provides users and Internet of things elements access to data centers and the applications running in them is the last mile of the channel to the client. The twentieth anniversary of Wi-Fi wireless technology, celebrated in June, can no longer provide increased connectivity. The technological response to the new business requirements is the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless standard introduced in June at a EZELINK press conference.
Benefits of New Technology
Wi-Fi 6 provides an average of four times faster performance than Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). The new standard supports modulation of 1024 QAM – and the previous only 256 QAM, respectively, a much larger amount of information can now be encoded into a unit of spectrum.
Another important benefit is less latency in accessing the medium. Unlike previous versions of Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi 6 standard does not use OFDM to encode a signal, but OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multi-access), this algorithm allows multiple access, or simultaneous access to a transmission medium for several devices. In previous versions of Wi-Fi, the access point and client devices transmitted only in the case of free air. With the simultaneous broadcasting of several devices, an error of overlapping frames (packets) occurred – a collision. The device that failed to establish communication periodically repeated access attempts.
With an increase in the density of devices, such a mode of working with collisions is no longer effective. The basis of the new standard is borrowed from mobile communications. Devices do not fight for air, spending their resources, but use the scheduler in the downstream channel. In fact, the device negotiates with the access point about the airtime, which does not allow collisions.
The new technology provides energy efficiency – electricity is not wasted on multiple attempts to occupy the ryokanal. This is especially important in light of the rapid development of the Internet of things, as it saves the battery power of sensors.
As a rule, sensors transmit a small amount of information at rare intervals. Wi-Fi 6 is optimized to work in this mode. Now the time interval of a communication session can be divided into small segments for interaction with devices of the Internet of things and plan the exchange of packets. For example, a water meter will be able to arrange communication sessions with an access point once a day.
New technologies provide greater connectivity. OFDMA allows you to simultaneously transmit traffic from nine devices. Improved MU-MIMO – receive / transmit technology for working with multiple users. Wi-Fi 6 can transmit to eight devices simultaneously with spatial diversity. The BSS colorization technology that came from mobile communications began to be used, which allows devices to highlight their access points and ignore the others when the devices are densely coated.
Wi-Fi 6 is compatible with previous standards, so you can switch to it gradually by smoothly changing the backbone switches and client devices. Each device will be serviced according to the standard with which it can work.
Wi-Fi 6 or 5G?
Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are becoming the main wireless technology. But 5G will take longer to deploy, as it is an operator technology that requires frequency allocation and an operator license. You can deploy a Wi-Fi network faster, because it does not need permissions for the open frequency spectra used in the technology, and Wi-Fi 6 works in two bands at once: 2.4 and 5 GHz.
Technologies complement each other in many ways. 5G is more suitable for the street, for autonomous transport, and Wi-Fi 6 is more focused on corporate use indoors. There are intersections – in small offices it may be more efficient to use 5G – no need to deploy and maintain your Wi-Fi network. At the same time, Wi-Fi can also be used outdoors, for example, in large factories. Wi-Fi 6 looks preferable when wirelessly connecting virtual reality devices and for obtaining high-definition images (4K, 8K), when high speed transmission of large amounts of data is required. Wi-Fi 6 technology can be effectively used in places with increased connection density: in stadiums, in lecture halls and conference rooms.
Wi-Fi chipsets are significantly cheaper than mobile communications chipsets. So, most likely, there will be many things with the Wi-Fi interface. Smartphone manufacturers are also interested in using the Wi-Fi 6 standard, as this extends the life of the device on a single battery charge.
New Standard – New Infrastructure
The Wi-Fi 6 standard is new and finally accepted can only be considered after ratification. “But the products will be available now, as there will be no technical changes to the standard.
EZELINK has announced the new line of access points that support BLE, Zigbee, and Thread IoT protocols. Four external antennas allow you to simultaneously work with four users. The market is offered a Wi-Fi 6-enabled low-end Catalyst 9115 and a more powerful Catalyst 9120, supporting more innovations. A built-in high-precision spectrum analyzer that assesses the effect of interference on the network and also detects malicious elements – for example, access points for intruders trying to intercept the usernames and passwords of users on the corporate network.
The entire network, including switches, should be ready for work with the Wi-Fi 6 standard. Radio performance reaches 5 Gb / s, so old access switches with gigabit ports become a bottleneck when transmitting packets on a network. Yes, and on aggregation and in the core of the network more efficient devices are required. The former flagship product of the Catalist 6800 line with a capacity of 160 Gb / s is no longer relevant. It is being replaced by a supporting network based on the intent of the Catalyst 9600 switch with a performance of 2.4 Tbps. Moreover, the switch is modular, which makes it attractive for large corporations. Modularity can be used for redundancy and scaling – ports are added without interruption to service the device.
Work is underway to create an ecosystem of solutions that support the new standard. There are device partners who are testing to interact with new EZELINK products. The company itself is testing the compatibility of new access points with Apple, Samsung devices and using the Intel chipset. As part of the interaction testing, coordination of the optional Wi-Fi 6 parameters between the network device and the client is being worked out. This practice was created by EZELINK for Wi-Fi standard 5. As a result of partnership with Apple, roaming optimization in Wi-Fi networks was achieved: switching between access points is four times faster than without such optimization, which is especially important when transmitting voice and video . Interaction with developers of applications for the mobile-cloud world in the framework of EZELINK DevNet. There is a partnership within the framework of the OpenRoaming consortium working on seamless roaming and authentication between LTE / 5G and Wi-Fi networks. Samsung, Boingo, GlobalReach, Presidio and other companies joined the project. “At the beginning of 2020, we expect a mass offer of devices with Wi-Fi 6 support for users. Wi-Fi 6 is a revolution in terms of technology, and the leap in technology development in particular leads to the emergence of new models for their application, leading to business development. We are entering a new era of wireless communications.