The transition from 802.11ac to 802.11ax will bring Wi-Fi into modern-day times, delivering higher capacity, better coverage and less congestion. The IEEE 802.11ax standard will offer speeds that are four to 10 times faster than existing Wi-Fi, and it comes with some snazzy technologies.
Those technologies include support for up to 8x8 MU-MIMO in both downlink and uplink. It also uses LTE’s foundational OFDMA technology, and it has an uplink resource scheduler so that users don’t clash with one another.
But this transition is just one small part of the overall trajectory of Wi-Fi. Proponents are hoping to use the standard and its derivatives for everything from high-speed fixed wireless ISP services to widespread IoT connectivity. And as technologists look into the future, the open nature of the Wi-Fi ecosystem may well position the technology for even more uses.
But that’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing for Wi-Fi going forward. There are still issues related to deploying the newer technology, including security and compatibility issues. Perhaps more importantly, Wi-Fi still needs more spectrum, begging the question: Where will it come from? Finally, how might Wi-Fi work in a 5G world, one where cellular operators are hoping to expand their networks into every corner of users’ lives?