This year will see the release of the new standard of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax otherwise known as Next-gen Wi-Fi. What does this mean for you? Here are 7 things we know so far!
1. It's super fast
802.11ax will see speeds of around 4.8 Gbps (in theory) this is nearly 4 x the speed of Gigabit Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and over 10x the speed of standard Wi-Fi (802.11n). There isn't going to be anything in your home that requires speeds anywhere near that so 4k streaming and gaming should be absolutely seamless.
2. It will be able to handle more devices
Although speed is first on the list, this is actually the bigger development. Next-gen will be able to handle loads of devices, meaning that routers will no longer be straining to keep up with the ever increasing demand. This combined with the additional speed will mean that some users will see a significant improvement in their service. On-line gamers will be happy to wave goodbye to lag and there'll be no more buffering.
3. It will cover both 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Unlike Gigabit Wi-Fi Next-gen will cover both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. What does this mean? It means that there will be improvements on both short range and the long range Wi-Fi. So those areas further from router will also see an improvement in speed and accessibility.
4. There will be less chance of interference
I'm not sure of the exact figures but in 2016 89% of households had internet and, since we're two years on, it would be a safe bet to assume that that figure is now even higher, and most if not all have Wi-Fi. All those people broadcasting Wi-Fi means a lot of competing signals in a relatively small spectrum. Next-gen is designed to provide a steady performance even in a high traffic area such as a block of flats.
5. There will be improved range (probably)
I'm not sure of this, and I certainly can't give specific details but it is likely the range will increase.
6. It will be backward compatible
Don't panic, Wi-Fi will be improving but that doesn't mean you'll have to go out and buy a whole load of new devices. Next-gen will be backward compatible, meaning it will work with your old devices, although obviously you won't see all the benefits.
7. It will be commercially available in 2019
The roll out starts this year, but it will take a while for it to filter down to the domestic market. It will likely be available in early 2019 and start to become standard towards the back end of the year.
So there you have it, on paper at least Next-gen Wi-Fi looks like it's going to see the end of all our Wi-Fi woes. Then again I'm not sure I have many problems at the moment! Either way the change is happening and now you're in the know.
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Want to know more? Here's some further reading.