Why 802.11ax is the next big thing in Wi-Fi

I know, I know, I’ve heard it before. A new technology comes along, and it promises to be the next big thing. Consumers and businesses buy it, and what happens? It fails to live up to the hype. In my opinion, almost every iPhone release over the past five years has been that way. Sure there were some cool new features, but overall it’s not something I’d say was game changing. 

One technology that does promise to live up to the hype is 802.11ax, the next standard for wireless LANs. I say that because this next generation of Wi-Fi was engineered for the world we live in where everything is connected and there’s an assumption that upload and download traffic will be equivalent. Previous generations of Wi-Fi assumed more casual use and that there would be far more downloading of information than uploading. 

I agree that 802.11ac made things somewhat faster, but it was a faster version of something that was designed with old-school assumptions in mind. I’m sure everyone reading this has been in a situation where you’ve been at a conference center, stadium or in another public space, and everything is great. Then the keynote or concert starts or something else happens to get tens of thousands of people SnapChatting, tweeting, Facebooking (or SnapFacing if your New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick), and things come to a crawl.

The problem with Wi-Fi isn’t always the speed of the system. 802.11ac wave 2 gets us to or over the Gigabit barrier, which should be plenty of bandwidth for most people. The bigger problem with Wi-Fi is congestion and how current Wi-Fi handles lots of people trying to do wireless things and overcrowding the network. The ax standard solves these problems and others by completely redesigning how Wi-Fi works and taking some best practices from LTE. 

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