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The shift to Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless-networking protocol, has officially begun.

Today the Wi-Fi Alliance, an international consortium of more than 800 companies, announced its Wi-Fi Certified 6 program. The new program will distinguish Wi-Fi 6 products and networks that meet the highest standards for security and interoperability.

The Alliance also announced that the first smartphone has achieved Wi-Fi 6 certification. It’s the Samsung Galaxy Note10.

Samsung Galaxy Note10

Samsung Galaxy Note10: first phone with Wi-Fi 6 certification

So what’s the big deal about Wi-Fi 6?

Capacity, mainly. For a world increasingly full of connected devices, Wi-Fi 6 has been designed to handle more devices with simultaneous streaming.

One big feature of Wi-Fi 6 is known as MU-MIMO, short for Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output technology. Basically, it allows a greater number of devices to operate at the same time on a single Wi-Fi channel.

Wi-Fi 6, technically known as IEEE 802.11ax, increases the performance and reliability of network connectivity at a network level. Operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, it offer greater capacity than previous generations and double the number for spatial streams. (Wireless signals are transmitted by antennae using different spaces within the same spectral channel. These spaces are known as “spatial streams” and in general, more are better.)

Device support

While Samsung’s Galaxy Note10 is the first device to receive the new certification, quite a few other devices have been introduced with Wi-Fi 6 support. These include new Latitude laptops from Dell, selected EliteBook x360 laptops from HP, and selected Asus routers.

Older devices will have some backwards compatibility, too. Many should be able to pull a signal from a Wi-Fi 6 router.

Intel is among those offering Wi-Fi 6 modules for inclusion in PCs that support Windows 10 and Bluetooth 5. These modules, Intel says, enables smooth streaming of high resolution videos, fewer dropped connections, and faster connections farther away from the router and in dense environments.

Intel Wi-Fi 6 module

Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX201 module: supports Win10

Intel also says these features significantly improve the user experience in dense deployments, supporting fast uploads and downloads, lower latency and longer battery life than solutions supporting the older 802.11ac wireless standard. And when combined with Intel Core processors, Intel’s new Wi-Fi 6 modules can provide Gigabit wireless speed.

Undoubtedly, many more devices will be receiving Wi-Fi 6 certification soon. So if you have customers who need high-speed wireless networking for a rapidly growing base of devices, Wi-Fi 6 could be their new connection.


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