Wi-Fi Alliance on Monday officially started its Wi-Fi 6 certification program, informally kicking off the widescale adoption of the new Wi-Fi standard. As with the group’s previous certification programs, the Wi-Fi 6 certification program is focused on verifying the interoperability and feature sets of IEEE 802.11ax devices, ensuring that they work well with each other and that the devices feature all of the required performance and security capabilities of the new standard.
Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification comes as device manufacturers have already been shipping Wi-Fi 6 products for the last several months – essentially seeding the hardware ecosystem to get to this point. So the first task for the group’s members and test labs will be to certify existing Wi-Fi 6 devices. This includes existing access points, routers, and client devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, which has become the first smartphone to receive certification.
Under the hood, the new standard takes a bit of a departure from past Wi-Fi iterations by focusing more on improving performance in shared environments, as opposed to solely boosting peak device transfer rates. To that end, while the maximum throughput supported by Wi-Fi 6 is 2.4 Gbps, the crucial improvement of the Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax technology the standard’s enhanced spectral efficiency. Among other things, the technology adds OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) to allow different devices to be served by one channel, by dedicating different sub-carriers for individual client devices. Wi-Fi 6 also adds mandatory support for MU-MIMO – a feature first added in 802.11ac Wave 2 – as well as transmit beamforming for better reaching individual clients.
In fact, even existing Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) client devices can benefit from a Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AP, though Wi-Fi 6 Certified devices will deliver the best results.
Meanwhile, Wi-Fi Alliance mandates that Wi-Fi 6 certified devices support WPA3 security, 1024-QAM, 160 MHz channels, and that devices support target wake time (a battery-saving tech that minimizes device check-ins).
Finally, along with the launch of the certification program itself, the Wi-Fi Alliance has already certified its first dozen devices. The following network adapters, chipsets, and access points have all been Wi-Fi 6 certified:
- Broadcom BCM4375
- Broadcom BCM43698
- Broadcom BCM43684
- Cypress CYW 89650 Auto-Grade Wi-Fi 6 Certified
- Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) AX200 (for PCs)
- Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV600 Series (for routers and gateways)
- Marvell 88W9064 (4×4) Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band STA
- Marvell 88W9064 (4×4) + 88W9068 (8×8) Wi-Fi 6 Concurrent Dual-Band AP
- Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 Platform
- Qualcomm FastConnect 6800 Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Connectivity Subsystem
- Ruckus R750 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point
|Wi-Fi Names and Performance|
|Wi-Fi 4||802.11n||150 Mbps||300 Mbps||450 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 5||802.11ac||433 Mbps over 80MHz
867 Mbs over 160MHz
|867 Mbps over 80MHz
1.69 Gbps over 160MHz
|1.27 Gbps over 80 MHz
2.54 Gbps over 160 MHz
|Wi-Fi 6||802.11ax||867 Mbs over 160MHz
|1.69 Gbps over 160MHz
|2.54 Gbps over 160 MHz
Source: Wi-Fi Alliance