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Definition: 802.11ax


The IEEE working group formed to design the next-generation of Wi-Fi, which works more efficiently in crowded networks. Expected in 2020, earlier 802.11 devices can detect and bypass 802.11ax packets. The Wi-Fi Alliance decided to officially brand 802.11ax as "Wi-Fi 6." Previous 802.11 versions were retroactively branded as Wi-Fi 5, 4, etc. (see 802.11 versions).

Whereas previous 802.11 standards support one uplink stream at a time from a client to an access point (AP), 802.11ax handles several users simultaneously. 11ax uses the same channel bandwidths as 11ac but with more subdivisions, and unlike 11ac, which is 5 GHz only, 11ax operates in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. It also supports modulation 1024QAM (four times 11ac's 256QAM) as well as two multiuser uplink and downlink transmission methods (MU-MIMO and OFDMA). See 802.11ac, QAM, MU-MIMO, OFDMA and 802.11.