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An 802.11ax survival guide: Expectations for the Wi-Fi standard

Last updated:May 2019

Editor's note

The upcoming 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard is the sixth generation of 802.11 standards, which the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers first developed and ratified in the 1990s. IEEE began working on 802.11ax -- also known as Wi-Fi 6 -- in 2014 and expects to ratify the standard by 2020.

As with most new technologies, separating 802.11ax facts from constant hype isn't easy. This 802.11ax survival guide provides essential information about key moments and features of 802.11ax, as well as expectations around 802.11ax-capable devices. It also highlights practical advice on how to prepare for Wi-Fi 6 and dives into how the new standard will affect networks everywhere.

1Back to the basics of 802.11ax

To gain a complete understanding of 802.11ax and what the upcoming Wi-Fi standard can do for networks, organizations should start at the beginning. Some good starting points include learning how Wi-Fi standards are developed, evaluating the necessary steps to prepare networks for 802.11ax and differentiating Wi-Fi 6 from its predecessors. Discover the fundamentals of Wi-Fi's next generation and see how it can change your network.

2Fundamental features of 802.11ax

The 802.11ax standard will introduce several new features to differentiate it from previous Wi-Fi generations, and these elements will affect various network architectures. Some new features are updated variants of older Wi-Fi capabilities, while others were developed to improve upon past faults. Explore how 802.11ax's relationship with the other newer technologies, such as IoT and 5G, will send the networking industry into a transformative new era.

3Differentiating 802.11ax devices

Several vendors released prestandard Wi-Fi 6 devices, including access points (APs) from Aerohive Networks, Cisco and Aruba (Hewlett Packard Enterprise). The following articles provide information on vendor releases, as well as when to consider investing in these appliances. Read about how innovative these devices are and see which would work best for your network.

4A trustworthy timeline of Wi-Fi 6 deployment

Though 802.11ax isn't ratified yet, a dedicated IEEE group has worked on the standard for years. Use these articles to navigate your way through a timeline of key events, including the introduction of the name Wi-Fi 6 and predictions for when widespread enterprise adoption will occur. The standard's debut means something different to individual networks, but organizations are confident in what 802.11ax's debut will mean for the networking industry.

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