Wi-Fi completes 25 years, to get 802.11ax standard in 2019

Wi-Fi to get 802.11ax standard in 2019 says IEEE as it celebrates its 25th anniversary

The Wi-Fi that we know and use today came into existence 25 years ago in 1997, when the 802.11 WiiFi specifications were defined. Since then Wi-Fi has become the norm for data connectivity and surfing at higher speeds. The first version of the 802.11 protocol was released in 1997, and provided up to 2 Mbit/s link speeds. This was updated in 1999 with 802.11b to permit 11 Mbit/s link speeds, and this proved to be popular.

The latest standard of WiFi is 802.11ac which provides even more bandwidth and reliability than 802.11n. There is still further innovation yet to come in 802.11 with the upcoming 802.11ax standard.

“IEEE 802.11ax will enable higher throughput that addresses fairness issues that have been a challenge in some limited high-density deployments,” Adrian Stephens, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group explained to Enterprise Networking Planet.

According to IEEE, the 802.11ax could scale the bandwidth to 10 Gbps and beyond when the standard is implemented. The higher bandwidth will be achieved by way of innovations in multi-user techniques.

“802.11n introduced spacial multi-plexing, where multiple antennas can talk to the same device and 802.11ac introduced the ability to talk to multiple devices simultaneously using different spacial streams,” Stephens said. “802.11ax introduces the reverse of that where the access point co-ordinates transmissions from multiple stations simultaneously.”

Stephen explained that in 802.11ax standard, there is a technique that will divide a frequency channel into small slices and then devices will transmit their part of the message on that slice. That technique will make use of optimized slices for each particular device. The slicing technique also promises to offer greater range than 802.11ac.

The 802.11ax specification could also serve to further enable the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve range, though Stephen noted that today IEEE also has the 802.11ah specification which makes used of the 900 MHz spectrum for IoT.

Stephen said that 802.11ax specifications are being formulated and would be the market standard in March of 2019.

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