Wi-Fi 6 & Wi-Fi 6E

Interference-free high-density Wi-Fi

What are Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6, alias IEEE 802.11ax, offers the advantage of lower latency per WLAN client compared to older standards. When it comes to Wi-Fi, it is not so much about being faster: Now it is more about increasing the average throughput per Wi-Fi client. However, with the numbers of WLAN end devices and their transmitted data volumes growing steadily, as well as the increasing density of IoT devices, the load on the available Wi-Fi frequencies has made communication hardly possible without collisions. This is exactly where Wi-Fi 6E comes into play: It extends the existing Wi-Fi 6 by the 6 GHz band for exclusive WLAN use. Especially in high-density environments, such as football stadiums, airports, or universities, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E therefore play out their advantages to the full and ensure simultaneous and interference-free operation of many WLAN end devices or IoT devices at highest data rates.

Applications

Scenarios with large numbers of users

The weaknesses of previous standards were particularly evident in high-density environments with large numbers of Wi-Fi clients. Multiple clients trying to transmit at the same time will cause data transmissions to collide, so the aim is to reduce this. By making more efficient use of the available bandwidths and channels, Wi-Fi 6 und Wi-Fi 6E bring more stability and reliability to intensively used wireless LANs. The advantage of Wi-Fi 6(E) over former standards is a reduction in latency time for each Wi-Fi client. The available bandwidths are allocated to each client much more efficiently.

More and more IoT devices

The future will see increasing numbers of IoT devices coming into play, so the available bandwidths need to be managed and allocated even more efficiently. The OFDMA technology described below and the available subcarriers will make a significant contribution here. In environments with a very high density of IoT devices, such as in smart cities, high throughput and low latency have an important role to play. While the data generated by IoT sensors must be forwarded quickly, bandwidth-hungry applications should not be excluded or significantly slowed.

Wi-Fi 6E – The VIP area in wireless LAN

Since July 2021, the 6 GHz frequency band has also been officially released for WLAN use in Germany, opening up an exclusive radio field free of interference. With Wi-Fi 6E, the frequency range between 5.925 and 6.425 GHz becomes usable for Europe. 6 GHz WLAN is supported for the first time by the Wi-Fi 6E standard, but not by the predecessor standards Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 4 (IEEE 802.11n) – like a VIP area in the wireless LAN.

Learn more in our whitepaper Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E Access Point: LANCOM LX-6500

The LANCOM LX-6500 supports channel bandwidths of 20, 40, 80, and 160 MHz with 4 streams, thus doubling the previously available WLAN spectrum. This allows transmission rates of up to 4,800 Mbps in 6 GHz, up to 2,400 Mbps in 5 GHz, and up to 1,150 Mbps in 2.4 GHz. This ensures an exclusive, particularly high-throughput and reliable Wi-Fi experience that performs well even with bandwidth-hungry applications such as 4K and 8K video streaming and high device densities. Powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE++) according to IEEE 802.3bt, this Wi-Fi 6E access point unleashes its full performance potential with all the multi-Gigabit Ethernet benefits.

 

Technology

Illustration of available channels in the WLAN frequency range of 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz
Frequency scheme for WLAN in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands

6 GHz frequency band

Wi-Fi 6E opens up additional spectrum in the 6 GHz band exclusively for the device classes "Low Power Indoor" (LPI) and "Very Low Power" (VLP). The advantage: The 6 GHz band is free of interference and thus offers minimum latency and maximum data throughput. The available spectrum in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, on the other hand, often represents a bottleneck. For example, the 2.4 GHz frequency band is crowded with a high number of clients, such as baby monitors and microwaves. And the number of users is also rising steadily in the 5 GHz band, where DFS (radar detection) is also a problem.

Device classes for the 6 GHz band

The best-known class "Low Power Indoor" (LPI) includes devices that are operated indoors and via power plug or PoE in Europe, and the use of batteries is prohibited. The maximum equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) is 200 mW (23 dBm). The "Very Low Power" (VLP) class, on the other hand, describes devices that are usually worn close to the body and span a so-called "Personal Area Network" (PAN). Well-known examples are AR/VR headsets and head-up displays in car windows, which also receive their data from an on-board computer or smartphone via Wi-Fi 6E. Their transmitting power is limited to just 25 mW (14 dBm).


8x8 MIMO

Access points with MIMO technology support several independent data links, called spatial streams, for transporting data packets between the transmitter and the receiver. Depending on the number of antennas, an access point can send two, four, or even eight spatial streams at once. Wave 2 of the Wi-Fi 5 standard allowed up to four simultaneous data streams. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E now support up to eight of these widened fast lanes.

Wi-Fi 5, 80 MHz, QAM-256 with up to 4x4 MIMO
Possible download speeds for different transmitter-receiver pairs with Wi-Fi 5

1x1

2x2

3x3

4x4

433.3 Mbps

866.7 Mbps

1300 Mbps

1733.3 Mbps

Wi-Fi 6, 80 MHz, QAM-1024 with up to 8x8 MIMO
Possible download speeds for different transmitter-receiver pairs with Wi-Fi 6

1x1

2x2

3x3

4x4

8x8

600 Mbps

1.2 Gbps

1.8 Gbps

2.4 Gbps

4.8 Gbps


MU-MIMO for downloads and uploads

Wave 2 of the wireless standard Wi-Fi 5 introduced the multi-user MIMO principle (MU-MIMO): By distributing the various spatial streams between several different clients at the same time, rather than serving them one after the other, the efficiency in Wi-Fi has been massively increased—but only for the downlink.

With Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO is now available in both directions. This is especially useful in environments with large numbers of Wi-Fi users and bandwidth-hungry real-time applications, as it also improves latency and throughput.

Explanation

With MU-MIMO, the streams can be distributed to multiple clients. For example, an access point with 4x4 MIMO can divide its four spatial streams in parallel between a 2x2 MIMO client and two further 1x1 MIMO clients (such as a notebook or smartphone). This makes the most efficient use of all available spatial streams.

Transmitter x receiver = number of transmitting x receiving antennas
8x8 MIMO = 8 transmitting x receiving antennas

Assignment of streams between transmitter and receiver(s)

Transmitter

Receiver

8 streams

8 1x1 smartphones

8 streams

4 2x2 tablets bzw. 2x2 notebooks

8 streams

4 1x1 smartphones + 1 2x2 tablet + 1 2x2 notebook


Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)

OFDMA offers real advantages for Wi-Fi clients with smaller data packets, e.g. IoT devices. Wi-Fi 5 came with Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as a method for channel management: During data transmission, the entire frequency range of a Wi-Fi channel is occupied per time interval.

The introduction of OFDMA in Wi-Fi 6 brought subcarriers as narrow as 2 MHz, meaning that packets that only contain small amounts of data do not block the entire channel. Several subcarriers share a 20-, 40- or even 80-MHz channel, although if necessary they can be bundled and operated together. This allows Wi-Fi channels to be utilized far more effectively.

It's comparable to carpooling: Large numbers of cars with a single occupant will cause heavy traffic, while fewer, multi-occupant cars can travel faster.


Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)

QAM increases data throughput by increasing the information density during transmission. The following applies: The higher the QAM level, the higher the data throughput. Compared to QAM-256 (8 bits / symbol) with Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 introduces QAM-1024 (10 bits / symbol), delivering 25% more throughput than the previous standard.

Transmitted bits per symbol at different QAM levels

Modulation

Bit per symbol

Symbol rate

QAM-16

4

4 bit / rate

QAM-32

5

5 bit / rate

QAM-64

6

6 bit / rate

QAM-256

8

8 bit / rate

QAM-1024

10

10 bit / rate


Basic Service Set Coloring (BSS Coloring) and Spatial Reuse

The theory: BSS Coloring with Spatial Re-Use is a mechanism that maximizes network performance while reducing the interference between Wi-Fi devices. Wireless networks offer the access points a limited number of channels. If several neighboring access points use the same channel, they will inevitably interfere with one another. In previous Wi-Fi infrastructures, one device could transmit while all the other Wi-Fi devices on the channel had to wait their turn, even if they were far enough away to allow a parallel data transmission. With Wi-Fi 6, wireless devices are learning to communicate with each other more transparently. This is done with a pseudo-coloring of each SSID. Wi-Fi 6 devices can distinguish these colors, detect “different colored” radios on the same channel, and stop interfering with them.

Example for BSS Coloring from everyday life

This technology can be compared with the situation in a restaurant with different groups sitting at different tables. The group at table A is not interested in the conversations of the adjacent table B, so that the people at the next table can talk at a certain volume without the table group A feeling disturbed. Only when a certain threshold/volume is exceeded do the two tables have to discuss their compliance with this threshold; otherwise, one of the groups would have to move to another room.


Longer battery life thanks to Target Wake Time (TWT)

Before Wi-Fi 5 arrived, smartphones, tablets and notebooks had to be ready to receive all the time. If not, arriving data packets would be missed, which was at the expense of the battery charge. With TWT (target wake time), Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E cut down on power wastage on the client side, as the access point and client now negotiate exactly when the receiver should wake up to receive the traffic intended for it. For many a smartphone, this will mean less time tied to the charger.

Differences between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5

The progress from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 results from the close interaction of these features:

  • Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO)
  • OFDMA
  • QAM-1024
  • Target Wake Time (TWT)
  • Basic Service Set (BSS)

In the LANCOM White Paper 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 vs. 3x3 Wi-Fi 5 you can read about the advantages of a wireless LAN infrastructure based on 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi 6 access points as opposed to an installation with 3x3 MIMO access points with Wi-Fi 5. This document can help you choose the right WLAN infrastructure according to your needs.

Please feel free to download the whitepaper here

Our Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E portfolio

  • New

    LANCOM LX-6500

    Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E access point, 6 GHz Wi-Fi

    4x4 MU-MIMO (UL/DL), up to 8.4 Gbps

    Multi-Gigabit Ethernet, BLE and USB support

  • LANCOM LX-6402

    Business Wi-Fi 6 access point with OFDMA

    4x4 MU-MIMO (UL/DL), up to 3.6 Gbps

    Multi-gigabit Ethernet

  • LANCOM LX-6400

    Business Wi-Fi access point with OFDMA

    4x4 MU-MIMO (UL/DL), up to 3.6 Gbps

    Multi-gigabit Ethernet

  • LANCOM LX-6200

    Business Wi-Fi 6 access point with OFDMA

    2x2 MU-MIMO (UL/DL), up to 1.8 Gbps

    IoT support via USB and BLE

  • LANCOM LW-600

    Value Wi-Fi 6 access point with OFDMA

    2x2 MU-MIMO (UL/DL), up to 1.8 Gbps

    For medium user densities

  • LANCOM OX-6402

    Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 access point

    Up to 3.6 Gbps, IP67, -30° to +65°C

    Ideal for extreme environments

  • LANCOM OX-6400

    Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 access point

    Up to 3.6 Gbps, IP67, -30° to +65°C

    Ideal for extreme environments

  • LANCOM OW-602

    Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 access point

    Up to 1.7 Gbps, IP67, -30° to +65°C

    Ideal for extreme environments

  • LANCOM GS-4554XP

    54-port multi-Gigabit PoE+ switch (full L3)

    12x 2.5G / 36x 1G / 4x 10G / 2x 40G

    372 Gbps switch capacity, 1,440 W PoE budget

  • LANCOM GS-4554X

    54-port multi-Gigabit switch (full L3)

    12x 2.5G / 36x 1G / 4x 10G / 2x 40G

    372 Gbps switch capacity

  • LANCOM GS-4530XP

    30-port multi-Gigabit PoE+ switch (full L3)

    12x 2.5G / 12x 1G / 4x 10G / 2x 40G

    324 Gbps switch capacity, 720W PoE budget

  • LANCOM GS-4530X

    30-port multi-Gigabit switch (full L3)

    12x 2.5G / 12x 1G / 4x 10G / 2x 40G

    324 Gbps switch capacity

  • LANCOM GS-3528XUP

    28-port multi-Gigabit PoE++ switch (L3 lite)

    12x 2.5G / 12x 1G / 4x 10G (740W PoE budget)

    164 Gbps throughput

  • LANCOM GS-3528XP

    28-port multi-Gigabit PoE+ switch (L3 lite)

    12x 2.5G / 12x 1G / 4x 10G (370W PoE budget)

    164 Gbps throughput

  • LANCOM GS-3528X

    28-port multi-Gigabit switch (L3 lite)

    12x 2.5G / 12x 1G / 4x 10G

    164 Gbps throughput

  • LANCOM GS-3510XP

    10-port multi-Gigabit PoE+ switch (L3 lite)

    4x 2.5G / 4x 1G / 2x SFP+ (fanless, 130W PoE)

    68 Gbps throughput

Feel free to contact us

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