Access and Feeds

Wireless Standards: 5G and WiFi6 Rollouts to Promote new Round of Innovation

By Dick Weisinger

Wireless technologies will get an upgrade this year as 5G cellular and WiFi6 (802.11ax) next generation standards begin to be rolled out.

Both new standards promise faster speeds, higher density support, and better power efficiency. 5G is a wide-area technology that will be deployed across cities and rural areas by phone carriers like AT&T and Verizon. WiFi6 is a local-area technology that is primarily used indoors and can connect an organization, like a business location or a school. Estimated speed bumps for the technologies are 10x faster for 5G over 4G and 4x faster for WiFi6 over WiFi5.

Scott Harrell, Cisco executive, said that “users on Wi-Fi 6 devices will see improved individual experiences. People in crowded areas that have traditionally offered hit-or-miss performance (waiting rooms, student lecture halls, meeting spaces, and so on), will have better experiences.”

Benedict Evans, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said that “5G speeds, and ever-faster home broadband, will mean that existing applications will get richer, and also that new applications will emerge—new Flickrs, YouTubes or Snapchats. We don’t know what yet.”

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