Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 packs new punch: better uplink, power management

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced that Wi-Fi Certified Release 2 is now available to bring to new features to Wi-Fi devices and applications.

The benefits of Release 2 should come as good news to most folks who’ve been (more or less) sequestered in their homes for the past two years due to Covid.

According to Wi-Fi Alliance SVP of Marketing Kevin Robinson, consumers using devices with the new Wi-Fi Certified Release 2 features can expect greater performance and more efficient power management.

Devices that support uplink multi-user MIMO will deliver better uplink performance, which means they’ll experience lower latency and better performance with multiple streaming services connected at once, faster uploads, and more reliable online gaming, he told Fierce.

An example of this is better performance when two or more devices in the home are being used for Zoom calls, or if multiple gaming devices in a residence are all connected to cloud-based multi-player gaming services.

“In homes with multiple smart devices, such as HVAC sensors and smart appliances, a trio of new power management features – such as Broadcast Target Wake Time, Extended Sleep Time, and Dynamic multi-user spatial multiplexing power save – in Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 will provide consumers with better battery life and better connections, even at the edge of their networks,” Robinson said via email.

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For those keeping track, Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 also supports the latest generation of Wi-Fi security, WPA3, to ensure devices have secure connectivity. “Once these devices are securely connected to the network, they will experience better performance,” he said.

One of the key features of Wi-Fi Certified 6 since its introduction has been OFDMA, which enables higher network performance in congested environments, so more devices can be supported without bogging down the network, he said. This carries over into the newest release of Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2.

Wi-Fi 6 going strong

So, given the holidays just ended with a lot of gifts being exchanged and devices among them, how’s the move to Wi-Fi 6 going? The transition began in late 2019 and many of the devices purchased during the holidays support Wi-Fi 6. That trend is expected to continue at a faster rate through 2022, with nearly 2 billion Wi-Fi 6 devices entering the market, according to Robinson.

In fact, he said Wi-Fi 6 adoption is outpacing previous Wi-Fi generations, surpassing 50% market share in three years, compared to four years for Wi-Fi 5. Industry forecasts indicate that Wi-Fi 6 device shipments will represent the majority of shipped devices in 2022.

As for Release 2, Wi-Fi Alliance certification availability typically serves as an inflection point for device adoption, and the organization expects the first commercial devices supporting Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 to become available in the first half of 2022.