One of the “hidden” keys to the success of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technologies is the concept of OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access).
Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is a key technology that was first widely used in 4G LTE cellular networks. In contrast to previous Wi-Fi versions, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Wi-Fi 6E adopted this technology to better handle multiple devices and improve overall network performance.
While much attention is given to the raw speed increase of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, the importance of OFDMA should not be overlooked. It’s the key enhancement that allows these technologies to support our increasingly connected world, filled with a multitude of devices requiring simultaneous, efficient, and reliable internet access.
Here is how OFDMA enhances Wi-Fi 6 Performance:
- Multi-User Capability: OFDMA enables a single wireless channel to be divided into multiple sub-channels, known as Resource Units (RUs). This ability to divide a channel is crucial because it allows an Access Point (AP) to serve multiple users concurrently. Each user gets a different RU, meaning that multiple devices can communicate with the AP at the same time without having to wait for their turn. This feature significantly reduces latency and improves the overall efficiency of the network.
- Handling of Small Packets: A considerable amount of network traffic consists of small data packets – like those used in Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), online gaming, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Previous generations of Wi-Fi were not very efficient at handling these types of small-packet transmissions, but OFDMA changes that. It allows an AP to aggregate these small packets and send them out simultaneously, leading to a better use of the available spectrum and improved network performance.
- Reduced Interference: OFDMA also reduces interference. Because each user is assigned a specific sub-channel or RU, there is less chance of co-channel interference from other devices. This is particularly beneficial in congested environments where numerous devices are vying for network access.
- Energy Efficiency: Coupled with a feature known as Target Wake Time (TWT), OFDMA can also help to extend battery life. TWT allows devices to “sleep” and “wake” at scheduled intervals, reducing the time they need to have their antennas powered and communicating. This is particularly beneficial for IoT devices that need to preserve battery life.
In essence, OFDMA, as implemented in Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, enables better management of network traffic, improving efficiency, reducing latency, and allowing for the successful coexistence of multiple devices on the same network. It’s a game-changer for Wi-Fi technology, capable of handling the demands of today’s heavily connected world. Contact us for Free estimates on WIFI Installation Services .