Twisted Pair Technologies

Complete Data, Connectivity & Voice Solutions


02920 099966

WIFI a guide to Wireless Standards

Posted on By

WIFI logoWIFI everyone knows about WIFI right? Well…. As with everything IT there’s allot more to it than that. There have been 7 standards to date.

To become more user friendly they are now given numbers rather than technical names. Before WIFI 5 they were only known by the standard. E.G. 802.11n is WIFI 4.

If you are planning a new network WIFI 6 is the minimum standard to aim for. WIFI 6E and 7 will provide faster connections but only where you have compatible devices and good signal strength.

A brief history – The old days

WIFI 0 – 802.11 first came out in 1997 believe it or not. However it was SLOW at 2 Mbit/s, insecure and almost no one used it

WIFI 1 – 802.11b came out in 1999 it increased the speed to 11 Mbit/s

WIFI 2 – 802.11a came out in 1999 as well and ran of the 5 Ghz band with support for up 54 Mbit/s

WIFI 3 – 802.11g arrived in 2003 running in the 2.4 Ghz band with support for 54 Mbit/s this was the first widely adopted standard

WIFI 4 – 802.11n 2008 with speeds of up to 600 Mbit/s and support for 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands WIFI finally became usable.

Recent Standards – Here’s a guide to Wi-Fi standards from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 7:

Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)

Wi-Fi 5, also known as 802.11ac, was introduced in 2013. It brought significant improvements over its predecessor, Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n), including:

  • Increased Speed: Wi-Fi 5 operates on the 5 GHz band and can achieve speeds of up to 3.5 Gbps.
  • Improved Range: It provides better range and coverage compared to previous standards.
  • Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO): Allows multiple devices to communicate with the router simultaneously, reducing congestion.
  • Beamforming: Directs the signal towards connected devices, improving reliability and performance.

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)

Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, was released in 2019 and offers several enhancements over Wi-Fi 5:

  • Higher Throughput: Wi-Fi 6 supports speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps, achieved through more efficient data encoding.
  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA): Allows the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously within a single channel, improving efficiency in high-density environments.
  • Target Wake Time (TWT): Enables devices to negotiate when and how often they will wake up to send or receive data, reducing power consumption.
  • Improved Performance in Crowded Areas: Wi-Fi 6 is designed to perform better in congested environments, such as crowded stadiums or urban areas.

Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax Extended)

Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of Wi-Fi 6, operating in the newly opened 6 GHz frequency band. Key features include:

  • Additional Spectrum: Wi-Fi 6E utilizes the 6 GHz band, providing more available spectrum and reducing interference from legacy devices.
  • Increased Capacity: With access to more channels, Wi-Fi 6E can support more devices simultaneously, leading to improved performance in dense environments.
  • Lower Latency: The additional spectrum and reduced interference contribute to lower latency, enhancing real-time applications like gaming and video conferencing.

Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be)

Wi-Fi 7, or 802.11be, is the upcoming standard expected to be finalized in the coming years. While specific details may evolve, anticipated features include:

  • Even Higher Throughput: Wi-Fi 7 aims to further increase data rates, potentially surpassing 30 Gbps.
  • Improved Efficiency: Building on the advancements of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 7 will continue to optimize spectrum usage and enhance performance in high-density scenarios.
  • Enhanced Security: Expectations for improved security mechanisms to protect against emerging threats.
  • Better IoT Support: With the proliferation of IoT devices, Wi-Fi 7 includes features tailored to the unique requirements of IoT deployments.

As technology evolves, Wi-Fi standards continue to advance, offering faster speeds, improved efficiency, and better user experiences. It’s essential to stay informed about these developments to make the most of your wireless network.

Remember with to that the network speeds depend on many variables and rarely get more than 50% of the theoretical maximum. Ensure all components are of the same standard for the fastest connections. Even with WIFI 7 router / wireless access point you will need to have a which is WIFI 7 compatible or the speeds will suffer.

Contact us for more information and advice on how to improve your network.

WIFI a guide to Wireless Standards Fibre Optic Revolution: Igniting Connectivity Wireless Surveys for WAP’s Placement The Power of Wireless Connectivity

Need More Information