The next generation of Wi-Fi technology is going to hit the market this year, it is known as 802.11ax. Intel has made an announcement that it will manufacture chips compatible with the new Wi-Fi generation. Obviously 802.11ax will be faster than 802.11ac but it is made to perform faster in the environments with large number of connected devices. Generally, these are public Wi-Fi hotspots but IoT has got so many devices at your house that even you need optimal performance for your Wi-Fi.
Even when Intel has told people that it will start delivering 802.11ax compatible chips for routers and consumer retail devices in the same year, it will take more time before most of us start making use of the new generation of Wi-Fi technology.
In fact, we can’t expect that there will be mass adoption of 802.11ax in products until 2019.
The Wi-Fi standards are set by an industry group known as the Wi-Fi Alliance. It has told that we can’t expect the mass adoption of 802.11ax until 2019 because certification of these products will begin next year only. Certification is crucial as it increases the adoption of the product by industries.
However, there are companies who have already come up with 802.11ax compatible devices like Asus has already announced a router. Yet, industries will wait for the finalization of standards. The certification is important because it ensures that all the Wi-Fi products work in the same way as expected. Alliance believes that it marks the beginning of a new era of Wi-Fi tech. For example we can consider the update for the current 802.11ac generation, the certification for “wave 2” devices was announced in 2016 and Linksys rolled out a wave 2 router for business after one month, and it has become normal among high-end consumer routers.
Actually, Intel is not very early in the game. Qualcomm has announcedabout availability of 802.11ax chips last February. While chips from Intel are used in Arris routers –used by Comcast making them popular by inheritance –Intel is not even close to some other chip companies in the connectivity space. Thus, the availability by Intel is not what will run the game of 802.11ax.
And even when the certification for 802.11ax begins in 2019, you can’t expect to take advantage of the tech pretty soon. You will have to wait for several months for the certified products to come in the market. At first, you will have to get the new router for utilizing the tech. But your router can’t do anything if your device can’t make use of the router. You will have to upgrade your devices to those with 802.11ax chips and those devices will also come after an additional wait time. This may take years as the chips would have to be manufactured and certified for your small devices as well.
Undoubtedly, release of new generation of Wi-Fi is important in improving our connectivity. But 802.11ax will take more time to become our primary way to use the Wi-Fi.