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802.11ax enhancements: What’s all the hype about?

Take a deeper look at the 802.11ax enhancements, including its pivotal role in emerging technologies

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Devin Akin, the Principal Wi-Fi Architect for Divergent Dynamics, recently gave a great webinar presentation on the upcoming release of the new 802.11ax standard.

When any new technology is introduced, there is a tendency for companies to over-rotate and get caught up with the hype. Devin is anti-hype; he balances the discussion with education, and shares the detailed realities of the new underlying technology. As with past introductions of 802.11 enhancements, it is important to pay attention to the standard ratification date, silicon production schedules, and in particular, 11ax client introductions.  

What’s So Different About 802.11ax?

802.11ax is quite different than the prior 802.11 enhancements, such as 802.11n/11ac wave 1 and wave 2. These generations included:

  • More spatial streams
  • Wider channels
  • Increased QAM
  • Technology like MIMO and MU-MIMO

The 802.11ax enhancements change the fundamentals of 802.11. Changed fundamentals include:

  • Reducing channel widths down to 2 MHz
  • Not making channels larger
  • Using OFDMA to increase the efficiency of the available spectrum, for both Uplink and Down Link traffic.

However, legacy clients will reduce the efficiencies of 11ax, so it will be more important than ever to upgrade the clients to 11ax to experience the full benefits. The keys to getting as much efficiency gain from 11ax clients as possible, include:

  • Replace legacy clients with 11ax clients as soon as possible
  • Greenfield (separate them from legacy PHYs) as many of the 11ax clients as possible using techniques such as D5G with 11v support

You can learn more about this in Devin’s blog 802.11ax’s Achilles Heel.

Playing a Critical Role in the Digital World

With the introduction of this latest Wi-Fi generation, in many ways, Wi-Fi appears to be progressing towards a carrier-class network to address the critical role mobility plays in enterprises today. But Wi-Fi will also play a pivotal role in the success of the Internet of Things, because billions of devices need to be enabled and managed across enterprises in every vertical.  

It is important to us at Extreme Networks that you understand what the new technology is and what it will be capable of, so you can better plan and achieve the network results you want to meet your organization’s needs.

Also, a part of understanding the technology is knowing what it isn’t. To that end, please check out Devin’s other blog, 802.11ax is NOT.

Taking a Closer Look at 802.11ax

If you missed Devin’s webinar, it can viewed whenever you want here. Also, check out what Broadcom has to say about 802.11ax, in the on-demand webinar Will 802.11ax Super Charge Your Mobile Network?

And finally, if you want to learn more about 802.11ax technology and all the other Extreme Networks networking products, join us at Extreme Connect 2018 User Conference, April 17-20, at the Westin Kierland Resort, Scottsdale, AZ. Devin will be presenting on this topic and you could talk to him at the event.

Mike Leibovitz is a Director of Product Strategy at Extreme Networks.