WIFI 6, It is common when we assess a new WiFi project to hear something like “I want more throughput to my wireless devices and applications” that is for sure a very desirable and understandable GOAL but in order to achieve that goal the organizations usually upgrade their current WIFI infrastructure to the next standard available, like move from WIFI 4 to WIFI 5 or WIFI 6, nothing wrong with that but a new WIFI standard always bring a higher modulation technique like QAM256 in WIFI5 and QAM1024 in WIFI6, this change in modulation scheme have an important impact on how we should design the WIFI network in terms of number of AP’s and the AP placement, because higher Throughput’s capabilities demands higher modulation techniques and higher modulation techniques demands or means in the practice smaller coverage cells per AP as a general rule. In other words as the 802.11 PHY’s evolve in throughput capabilities like from WIFI5 to WIFI6 , a new modulation technique will be added to the previous one, even when the new standards are back compatible with the previous ones we need to be careful with the fact that higher modulation techniques uses more points on the constellation, and because of this it is possible to transmit more bits per symbol. This increase comes with a cost. The points are closer together and they are more susceptible to noise and data errors. This susceptibility to noise usually means you will need smaller cells and cleaner environments to get the highest data rates.

WIFI 6 modulation vs WIFI 5 modulation

Therefore if your customer is expecting to be able to work in a full ax mode on every place you will need to take some very important considerations related with the distances that the QAM1024 is able to grant the expected higher throughput’s. So as a WIFI professionals we need to be careful to manage the customers expectations because if you deploy a new WIFI6 network replacing the same WIFI5 or WIFI4 AP positions, the end users for sure will not experience a big difference in terms of throughput when they are 20 or 25ft far from the AP’s in average, so if your customer wants to have a full WIFI6 experience on everywhere you as a WIFI professional will need to redesign the number of AP’s and the AP placements as a starting point to achieve that goal.

A good CWAP study book here

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Fernando Rivasplata

Saved by grace, husband, father and very passionate about WIFI and Network automation technologies.