As if WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E weren’t confusing enough, WiFi 6 Release 2 is here

As if WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E weren’t confusing enough, WiFi 6 Release 2 is here

We spend our lives connected to a WiFi network and more and more devices are connected to the Internet via wireless. From the computer or mobile to the lights or the home vacuum cleaner. In case it was not enough with the WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, now WiFi Alliance has announced WiFi Certified 6 Release 2. The new cutting-edge standard for wireless communication that evolves from WiFi 6, the standard announced in 2018, and WiFi 6E another improved version of it.

WiFi vulnerabilities are a big problem that can affect our connection no matter how new standards are introduced. The WiFi Alliance changed the naming scheme with the release of WiFi 6, as previously users had to look up the supported standards on WiFi-enabled devices such as a router or modem to find out which one was supported. This was changed with the change to numeric versions: Wi-Fi 6 certified devices support 802.11ax technology, while Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 devices only have 802.11ac and 802.n technologies respectively. Then came the launch of WiFi 6E which unlocked 6 GHz for WiFi devices.

Improvements brought by WiFi 6 Release 2

This new wireless connection standard adds support for multi-user multiple input uplink, multi-output (multi-user MIMO), providing smoother streaming and video conferencing services, faster uploads, and more reliable gaming. In addition, three power management functions enhance the energy efficiency of WiFi 6 Release 2. This benefits Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial business applications.

These new features apply to all bands supported by Wi-Fi 6 (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz), delivering capacity, efficiency, coverage and performance benefits to large residential, business and public networks. At the same time, it provides strong WPA3 ™ security.

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WiFi 6 Release 2, by including support for 6 GHz, means that it replaces both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. These new features include improved Wi-Fi uplink performance by adding support for uplink multi-user MIMO. The addition allows “devices to upload content simultaneously to an access point”.

Multi-user MIMO

Uplink Multiuser MIMO improves network performance and reduces latency while we are conducting a video conference, uploading documents or performing any task that requires more uplink capacity.

Regarding the sleep mode and low power, “they include the activation time of the transmission target (TWT), the extended sleep time and the energy savings of multi-user dynamic spatial multiplexing (SMPS), allowing the optimization of the energy of various battery-powered devices ”. These features allow multiple devices to receive extended sleep periods, specific “wake-up” times for data transmission, and “enable dynamic shutdown of redundant reception chains to optimize energy consumption in Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 ”networks.

Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 is already being certified and the new devices that support this new standard by the end of 2022. What is unclear is whether existing devices can receive firmware updates to support the new standard.