Preparing for Wi-Fi 6: Three Ways to Optimize the Wi-Fi Experience

When it comes to Wi-Fi, it’s essential to get everyone on the same wavelength. Wi-Fi Alliance defines the testing and certifications used by the entire Wi-Fi ecosystem and plays a role in making Wi-Fi a pervasive technology around the world. The group also contributes to consumer education. With its recent announcement about a new generational naming scheme, Wi-Fi Alliance is helping end users better understand the different Wi-Fi technologies and recognize the type of Wi-Fi capability in their devices and network connections.

At Intel, we have long supported the Wi-Fi standards and certified our products, but our work doesn’t stop there. With Wi-Fi 6—based on the upcoming IEEE 802.11ax standard—there are many new changes we need to prepare for, including the shift to a provisioned infrastructure that enables a managed user experience. For this reason, Intel is testing and fine-tuning the implementation in three key areas to deliver the best performance and user experience:

Ensuring the best performance for the whole home

Wi-Fi 6 will dramatically improve both upload and download speeds, thanks to more efficient use of the spectrum. When the certification is ready in 2019, it will ensure that clients and access points can communicate with each other under the new standard.

In addition, we recognize it’s also important to test for maximum throughput between the client and access point in close range, midrange and long range. This helps deliver peak performance into every corner of the home, even in the presence of interference from other access points and non-Wi-Fi sources, like microwaves and baby monitors.

Optimizing scheduling for more intelligent transmissions

Wi-Fi 6 will play a big role in delivering incredible connected experiences by shifting the management of airtime utilization to the home router or gateway. OFDMA is key to this. Under the new standard, clients and access points can transfer data packets via OFDMA, which splits bandwidth into more resource units so that many packets can be transmitted simultaneously. With a diverse mix of clients in the home, the access point must be able to schedule transmissions at the right time and allocate the right number of resource units to achieve the best results.

When Wi-Fi 6 certification is ready in 2019, testing will ensure the access point is interoperable with various clients. Intel takes this one step further by testing that the access point can perform the most intelligent scheduling to seamlessly support a variety of clients (including 802.11b/g/n/ac) and also prioritizes quality of service appropriately for each connected client.

Getting the most from power savings opportunities

The Wi-Fi 6 feature set includes target wake time, which can extend the battery life of clients with intelligently scheduled wake times and low-power modes. To truly optimize power savings, homes also need best-in-class access points that can reconcile the different types of connected clients and the traffic they generate to know which devices should be powered on longer.

With plans to deliver 802.11ax solutions for both clients and access points, Intel is in a unique position to optimize the end-to-end user experience. This is part of our continuing commitment to Wi-Fi solutions that transform connectivity. Intel supports Wi-Fi 6 and fully plans to undergo certification for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 when it becomes available next year. By conducting deep levels of interoperability testing and validation, we’ll ensure our market-ready products are able to deliver the best possible connected experiences. Learn more at intel.com/wifiax.

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Doron Tal

About Doron Tal

Doron Tal is the General Manager of the Wireless Infrastructure Group in Intel’s Smart & Connected Home Division. He brings over 20 years of experience in networking semiconductors and broadband access. Doron joined Intel in 2016 to lead a platform product marketing team for connected home infrastructure products. Under Doron’s leadership, the team focused on increasing the attach rate of Wi-Fi technology to connected home platforms across retail, cable and telco segments. Prior to Intel, Doron led Broadcom’s Fiber Access business and was previously the vice president of marketing and business development at BroadLight which was acquired by Broadcom in 2012.