The Continuing Advancement of Wi-Fi

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It is pretty clear that nowadays Wi-Fi appears to be everywhere. Unfortunately, such heavy Wi-Fi congestion has also created its own problems. Simply put, high-density environments can cause a poor user experience. Chances are you have experienced slow Wi-Fi at some point—as a matter of fact, chances are pretty good that you have experienced extremely slow Wi-Fi.

The IEEE wireless-local-area-networking (WLAN) standards have continued to progress throughout the years. The latest and greatest Wi-Fi standard is IEEE 802.11ax, which is currently in the process of being standardized. This new Wi-Fi standard promises to increase throughput in dense user environments. In other words, IEEE 802.11ax seeks to remedy today’s problem of experiencing slow Wi-Fi in congested areas. The IEEE 802.11ax standard is expected to be officially released in 2019.

A number of features will allow IEEE 802.11ax to achieve better throughput in crowded settings. For one, IEEE 802.11ax utilizes orthogonal-frequency-division-multiple-access (OFDMA) technology. Another feature is 1024-quadrature amplitude modulation (1024-QAM).

Recently, National Instruments made news by introducing its test solution for IEEE 802.11ax applications. The WLAN Measurement Suite, which provides users with the capability to generate and analyze a wide range of IEEE 802.11 waveforms, has now been updated to target IEEE 802.11ax. A number of key features of IEEE 802.11ax are supported by the software. Furthermore, as the process of standardizing IEEE 802.11ax develops, engineers will be able to update their existing PXI RF test systems with simple software updates.

LitePoint is another company that has set its eyes on IEEE 802.11ax. The company’s IQxel-MW test solution is intended to accommodate IEEE 802.11ax requirements. With all of this being said, it is clear that the next generation of Wi-Fi is moving along to satisfy our never-ending wireless appetite. Stay tuned!

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Chris DeMartino

Chris has worked in the RF/microwave industry since 2004. Throughout this time, he has helped to develop and test a variety of RF/microwave components and assemblies for both commercial and military...
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