Wi-Fi 6 certification program sets minimum standard

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chris Oakley / Flickr)

The Wi-Fi Alliance is to launch a certification programme for devices that support the new Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Earlier this year, the Wi-Fi Alliance decided to adopt a more consumer-friendly nomenclature, ditching technical standards like ‘Wi-Fi 802.11ac’ for a more generational approach. This means that the next major iteration of the technology – Wi-Fi 802.11ax – will be known as ‘Wi-Fi’ 6.

Among other things, Wi-Fi 6 enables faster speeds, increase capacity and improved performance in congested areas or during periods of high demand.

Wi-Fi 6 Certified

Wi-Fi 6 is already appearing in devices on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and it is hoped the standard will improve connectivity in consumer electronics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and public Wi-Fi networks in busy locations like sports venues and transportation hubs.

The certification programme requires Wi-Fi 6 devices to support several characteristics and technologies that support the promised boosts in performance so consumers and businesses can be confident when making a purchase. It also aims to promote interoperability within the sector.

These include uplink and downlink via orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), which improves network efficiency and lowers latency, MU-MIMO, which allows networks to support more simultaneous users and data transfers, and Transmit Beamforming which improves signal quality.

Other requirements are 1024-QAM which increases throughput and Target wake time (TMT) which significantly improves battery life in Wi-Fi devices.

“Wi-Fi 6 delivers features to satisfy users’ evolving connectivity needs and to enable more efficiency in the expanding places where users rely on Wi-Fi,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 continues a nearly 20-year history of providing standards-based, interoperability testing to ensure Wi-Fi devices meet expectations for quality and interoperability.”

The programme will start in Q3 of 2019.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.