The new 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard has just been announced, and the headline feature is that it will support transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, which is almost 10 times faster than the current mainstream standard.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be able to own a home where you can wire Ethernet from room to room (and if you do, we seriously envy you), then chances are you’re probably relying on Wi-Fi for the majority of your internet usage. Most users are currently relying on 802.11ac, a standard that was first released in 2013, and frankly its time for the 1.3Gbps standard to get an upgrade.
801.11ax is the result. The new standard will offer theoretical speeds of up to 10Gbps, whilst also lowering power consumption as part of the deal.
The main way it increases speed is by fully combining the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands. Previously, 802.11ac and 802.11n were forced to work on the two bands separately, but the new standard will utilise them simultaneously. MU-MIMO technology will also be enabled for uplink data, in addition to the downlink data it already supports.
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Should I make the upgrade?
Not every Wi-Fi standard is for everyone. The recently released 802.11ad standard, for example, only offers a benefit if your device is in the same room as your Wi-Fi access point because the frequency band it uses (60GHz) is unable to penetrate through walls.
In contrast, the 802.11ax standard is going to offer speed increases to pretty much everyone. Eventually it’s going to be an essential upgrade.
Right now though? Don’t even think about upgrading. Since the standard has only just been fully confirmed, the hardware that currently supports it (including the ASUS RT-AX88U router and the Huawei AP7060DN) is doing so based off draft versions of the specification that are unlikely to be as good as what’s finally available.
Don’t expect devices that fully utilise the standard until at least the end of 2017, if not the beginning of 2018. Even then, you probably don’t want to think about spending any money until your most important devices also support the standard. That means no upgrading until at least your laptop and maybe your phone are 802.11ax compatible.
It’s going to take some time to see the benefits of 802.11ax, but it’s nice to know that it’s there waiting for us.
Will you be making the upgrade to the new Wi-Fi standard? Let us know @TrustedReviews.