The DrayTek VigorAP 960C is a Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 access point. The new wireless standard does more than simply boost speeds for single users, it improves overall performance for busy environments. More efficient resource sharing results in greater overall performance, lower latency and less pauses in connectivity for users.
To achieve this, Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax brings in several new technologies (including some features used extensively by 4G and LTE networks), to enhance speeds even as many users demand content at the same time. As more devices need bandwidth more frequently, Wi-Fi 6 utilises the following key technologies to enable this:
Higher Capacity with OFDMA and Multi-User MIMO
A key feature of Wi-Fi 6 is OFDMA, short for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. 4G networks and now Wi-Fi 6 use this to provide data to many users at once.
With previous Wi-Fi standards, wireless communication simply sent to one client, then moved on to send to the next. This becomes more inefficient as the number of clients connected increases, users wait longer for their turn, causing more packet loss, laggy video and buffering.
OFDMA splits up the channel bandwidth and uses complex scheduling in the background to determine which users need more resources at any one moment. Users watching videos would be allocated more, while a phone just checking email or on a voice call would be assigned less, just as much as each one requires.
The result is that everyone receives data more regularly and with greater overall speeds, making each AP more able to service more clients, doing more.
In addition, 802.11ax makes improvements to Multi-User MIMO, where the previous standard only supported this for downstream, 802.11ax improves this to support both directions.
Less Interference with BSS Colouring
Managing interference with wireless networks is often difficult, whether conflicting with neighbouring networks or managing channel assignment for wireless networks spanning multiple APs; If another network is transmitting on the same channel, this will cause drops in performance for everyone, while clients and access points wait for the air to clear before sending.
Wi-Fi 6 introduces a feature called 'BSS Colouring', with BSS being the Basic Service Set, or Access Point. Each Wi-Fi 6 wireless network adds a unique identifier/number to its transmissions. Wi-Fi 6 clients can use this to determine whether transmissions are coming from their own network or another. If the detected transmission doesn't match the BSS Colour of the wireless network, the client can choose to ignore the transmission if it's far enough away.
The result is better performance and better handling of interference, where wireless channels are shared with other networks.