Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 adds multi-user MIMO, capacity, power efficiency - Embedded.com

Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 adds multi-user MIMO, capacity, power efficiency

The Wi-Fi Alliance said it is evolving Wi-Fi 6 certification to meet increasing demands from today’s Wi-Fi use cases, with its new release adding support for uplink capacity and greater power management, which will benefit dense enterprise and IoT deployments.

Wi-Fi Alliance has announced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 is now available, bringing new features to support increasing device and traffic density to deliver greater performance and power management with Wi-Fi devices and applications.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 adds support for uplink multi-user multiple input, multiple output (multi-user MIMO) to deliver smoother streaming services and video conferencing, faster uploads, and more reliable gaming. Additionally, three power management features improve Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 power efficiency, benefitting enterprise, industrial, and internet of things (IoT) applications. New features apply across all bands supported by Wi-Fi 6 – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz – bringing capacity, efficiency, coverage and performance benefits to residential, enterprise, and large public networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 delivers the a good experience with advanced applications, while providing strong WPA3 security and promoting interoperability between Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices.

Wi-Fi uplink performance

In its announcement, the Wi-Fi Alliance said nearly two billion Wi-Fi 6 devices will enter the market in 2022, with today’s Wi-Fi supporting increased device density, more bandwidth-hungry applications, and surges in uplink data demand in residential and enterprise environments. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 adds support for uplink multi-user MIMO, enabling devices to upload content concurrently to an access point (AP). Wi-Fi networks are supporting more upstream activity, with users frequently uploading work documents and videos to social media sites, and the trend toward greater uplink data consumption will further increase as more IoT devices send data via Wi-Fi to the cloud.

Uplink multi-user MIMO improves network performance and reduces latency while video conferencing, uploading documents, and running any other mission-critical applications that require greater uplink capacity. Wi-Fi 6 deployments are increasing worldwide in large office buildings, public arenas, education campuses, high-rise dwellings, and mass transportation hubs, and advanced Wi-Fi 6 capabilities drive innovation in the countless applications that rely on Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 delivers comprehensive multi-user MIMO implementation to deliver strong Wi-Fi performance even in challenging environments with many Wi-Fi devices.

Wi-Fi power management

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 includes new features that bring power management improvements for devices in enterprise and IoT deployments. New low power and sleep mode enhancements – including broadcast target wake time (TWT), extended sleep time, and dynamic multi-user spatial multiplexing power save (SMPS) – enable power optimization of multiple battery-powered devices. This trio of features allows multiple devices to receive extended sleep periods, allow for specific “wake up” times for transmitting data, and enable dynamic shut off of redundant receive chains to optimize power consumption in Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 networks. Power management features benefit smart home, smart city, and industrial IoT (IIoT) environments, and enable Wi-Fi to further its role in delivering IoT applications.

Wi-Fi 6E features - The Wi-Fi Alliance
(Image: Wi-Fi Alliance)

Phil Solis, research director at analyst firm IDC said that Wi-Fi 6 adoption has outpaced previous Wi-Fi generations, driven by demand for better Wi-Fi connectivity in phones, tablets, PCs and access points to support high-performance, low latency uses in both residential and enterprise environments. He commented further, “Technological advancements continue to bring speed and efficiency benefits to a wide number of users and use cases, most importantly, in areas with high densities of users or client devices connecting and transferring large amounts of data. Reduction in chipset costs and advancements in Wi-Fi 6 power management will also help shift the IoT space to more broadly adopt Wi-Fi 6 in the coming years.”

Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance, said, “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 furthers Wi-Fi’s evolution to address today’s market needs, and supports more high-performance Wi-Fi scenarios with greater capacity, efficiency, and reliability.”

Take a look at some other recent Wi-Fi 6 product announcements:

What the industry says

The Wi-Fi Alliance quoted many of the ecosystem players to show industry support. Here is what they said.

Metin Taskin, CTO, Airties: “Today’s service providers want Wi-Fi 6 as part of a managed Wi-Fi solution to deliver the best possible connected home experience for consumers. It’s clear that the number of connected devices is increasing at an accelerated rate, and trends such as the ‘enterprization’ of the home, UHD video, telemedicine, and online gaming are all placing more demands on home networks. Wi-Fi 6 can address these demands.”

Vijay Nagarajan, vice president of marketing for wireless communications and connectivity at, Broadcom: ““Broadcom is pleased to have its Wi-Fi 6E access point and client device reference designs included in the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 test bed. The wide proliferation of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices is already creating new experiences for the consumer. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 certification program, which we are happy to be a part of, is designed to carry this momentum forward.”

Charles Cheevers, CTO, home networks, CommScope: “The breadth of new features that Wi-Fi offers consumers requires constant updates and sometimes staged releases to get products to the market. We applaud Wi-Fi Alliance for continuing to drive this phased process and the latest introduction of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2, bringing powerful new features like uplink multi-user MIMO to Wi-Fi 6.”

Sivaram Trikutam, senior director, IoT compute and wireless, Infineon: “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 was a game changer for IoT applications and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 extends these innovations even further. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 enhancements for TWT, uplink multi-user MIMO, and Extended Sleep Time allow for long-life battery-operated devices that also provide the added range for not only whole home coverage but whole property coverage including outdoor cameras, lighting, energy management systems, and sensors.”

Eric A. McLaughlin, VP of client computing and GM of wireless solutions, Intel Corporation: “New Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 features like uplink MU-MIMO, coupled with new high-speed channels in the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi 6E, will help networks scale in their ability to deliver faster, more responsive Wi-Fi experiences as the number of devices continues to exponentially grow.”

Doron Tal, vice president, broadband access, MaxLinear: “With the demand for greater responsiveness and performance required by new disruptive, untethered real-time immersive experiences, Wi-Fi Alliance certification is crucial to ensure robust interoperability and rapid adoption of Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 devices.”

Alan Hsu, corporate vice president & general manager, intelligent connectivity, MediaTek: “The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 program brings a number of improvements to high-density wireless networks. We will see tangible advancements in uplink performance, power and enhanced range, unlocking new applications and use cases for residential, industrial and enterprise users.”

Larry Olivas, VP and GM of wireless connectivity solutions, NXP Semiconductors: “With Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2, Wi-Fi Alliance is proactively meeting the growing performance demands of advanced IoT applications that require significantly greater capacity and increased power efficiency both today and tomorrow.”

Irvind Ghai, vice president of product marketing, wireless connectivity and signal processing, onsemi: “There is a fundamental shift in how we work and play, with effective connectivity becoming critical for seamless transitions between our physical and virtual worlds. onsemi congratulates Wi-Fi Alliance’s timely introduction of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2. This further helps improve the end-user experience via uplink MU-MIMO and power efficiency optimizations, expanding opportunities for smoother and more reliable video, gaming and IoT applications.”

Rahul Patel, SVP & GM, connectivity & networking, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc: “To ensure productive and reliable connectivity while working, playing, and learning remotely, the demand for a better approach to uplink data has never been greater. Uplink MU-MIMO, a key feature of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2, is designed to deliver in every environment.”

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