Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, companies often unveil new and innovative technologies.
This year at CES, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, announced the next big thing in wireless technology, 802.11ax. Although it may take a few years to release to the public, IEEE’s series of 802.11 standards is getting a big improvement.
What Is IEEE 802.11?
If you aren’t familiar, this is the IEEE’s standard for networking protocols. This includes 802.11g, 802.11n 802.11ac, and many other protocols. This forms the basis of the technology commonly known as Wi-Fi.
Essentially, the IEEE standards are a set of technological capabilities and features that devices must have. This is to ensure that devices made around the world are compatible with each other.
What Improvements Will 802.11ax/Wireless-AX Bring?
Despite being a few years from launch, 802.11ax will have many new capabilities.
With 802.11ac, the standard broadened the multi-antenna capabilities introduced in 802.11n, called MIMO, or multiple input multiple output. 802.11ax, however, will subdivide frequencies even further, using a technology called MIMO-OFDM. This stands for orthogonal frequency division multiplexing.
Generally speaking, MIMO-OFDM will be able to increase throughput. While second-wave 802.11ac technology can handle potential gigabit speeds, 802.11ax will be able to deliver as much as five times as much bandwidth.
Currently, routers use the standard 4×4 MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output). The new standard will be 8×8 MU-MIMO, on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. This means the 802.11ax standard will be able to supply eight data streams up and down your network as opposed to the previous four.
802.11ax offers more than just a speed upgrade. It will offer an efficiency and reliability upgrade as well, targeting large, high-density Wi-Fi deployments. The goal is to keep connections active even when interfered with heavily.
What Will 802.11ax/Wireless-AX Routers Look Like?
Alongside the unveiling of the new wireless standard, D-Link also announced two new home networking devices: the AX6000 and the AX11000 Ultra Wi-Fi routers.
The AX6000 is a dual-band router that D-Link states will deliver up to 6,000Mbps of bandwidth. The AX11000 is a tri-band device that will deliver up to 11,000Mbps. Of course, these numbers are only what the devices are capable of and are unlikely to be reached in practice.
These devices will come with eight high-performance antennas, a 2.5Gbps WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports, DLNA support, as well as a USB 3.0 port for networked storage.
As far as a release is concerned, D-Link expects the routers to release in the second half of 2018 due to 802.11ax still being in early development. This could be delayed until 2019 if 802.11ax features still need to be fleshed out.
Until Then, What Are The Best Routers?
Currently, the best wireless standard is IEEE 802.11ac or 802.11ad. Wireless-AC offers wide bandwidth capabilities of a mandatory 80Mhz channel with an optional 160Mhz. As mentioned before, 802.11ac introduced MU-MIMO, allowing communication of up to four different devices simultaneously.
However, the main strength of wireless AC comes from the introduction of a 5GHz band. Up until then, wireless-N and wireless-G only supported the 2.4Ghz band which is often cluttered with signal interference. Devices such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and microwaves could disrupt your wireless signal.
Here at FlashRouters, we improve upon these features even more by flashing open-source firmware such as DD-WRT and Tomato. This could be anything from wireless speed increases to fixing stability issues, although the biggest strength of a FlashRouter is the ability to install a VPN on the router.