Wi-Fi 6 logo

Efficiency and performance – the Wi-Fi 6 WLAN standard

With the advent of Ethernet in automation, Wireless LAN has also become established in many applications, but above all in moving or mobile applications. The number of WLAN networks and WLAN devices in systems has therefore increased significantly in recent years. To keep pace with this growth, powerful, efficient, and robust Wireless LAN is required. With Wi-Fi 6/6E, a new WLAN technology is now available that brings with it these specific strengths.

Your advantages

  • Particularly secure: Meets the highest security standard WPA3
  • Better performance in the case of very high user capacity, thanks to OFDMA and MIMO technology
  • High performance with data rates of up to 1,440 Mbps
  • Reliable communication in the exclusive 6 GHz band with Wi-Fi 6E (depending on country-specific approvals)
  • Fast and reliable roaming for mobile applications

The IEEE 802.11ax standard

Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax, is the new standard for wireless networks. Its main features include:

  • Higher data transmission rates
  • Improved performance in congested environments
  • Low latency
  • Improved energy efficiency

Wi-Fi 6 therefore enables efficient use of the frequency spectrum, improves data throughput for all devices in a network, and at the same time ensures flexibility and reliability. The new standard is designed to meet the growing demands for wireless connectivity in an increasingly digital world.

Comparison of WLAN standards Wi-Fi 4 and 6

The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 represents an important milestone in the development of wireless networks and offers a number of improvements over its predecessor Wi-Fi 4:

Wi-Fi 4

Wi-Fi 6

IEEE standard IEEE 802.11n IEEE 802.11ax
Security standard WPA2 WPA3
Frequency range 2.4 and 5 GHz 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz (depending on country-specific approvals)
MU-MIMO Download only Download and upload
Maximum transmission speed 300 Mbps (2x2 MIMO, 40 MHz) 2,400 Mbps (2x2 MIMO, 160 MHz)
Target Wake Time (TWT)
BSS coloring
Wireless network

WLAN in the 6 GHz spectrum: Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E transfers all the features of Wi-Fi 6 to the 6 GHz band. By leveraging this additional frequency range, Wi-Fi 6E provides wider channels and less interference, resulting in higher transmission speeds and better performance. Since Wi-Fi 1 - 6 is not supported by 6 GHz, Wi-Fi 6E devices have an exclusive low-density area where less interference occurs. This also results in very low latency: Data is transmitted quickly; the delay is correspondingly low.

Functions of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

OFDMA multiple access
BSS coloring and spatial reuse
MIMO technology
Cybersecurity lock with finger
Target Wake Time
OFDMA multiple access

OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) allows the access point to effectively divide channels so that it can communicate with multiple devices (clients) simultaneously on one channel. This technology enables more users to be operated in less time. This significantly improves efficiency and reduces the latency in congested networks considerably. The improvement of the overall QoS thus enables the effective use of the bandwidth in an environment with a high WLAN density.

BSS coloring and spatial reuse

Thanks to the spatial reuse function with basic service set (BSS), channels that are close to each other can be used more efficiently and interference can be reduced. BSS is a technique used to distinguish between signals from different WLAN devices on the same channel by marking them with color codes (or numbers). This means that several devices can use the same channel without interfering with each other.

MIMO technology

MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output) is a technology that enables an access point to operate several devices simultaneously instead of one after the other. By splitting all available spatial streams across multiple devices, large data packets can be processed more efficiently. This significantly improves the performance of the network, especially in high-density environments.

Cybersecurity lock with finger

The WPA3 security standard improves the security of wireless networks by adding additional layers of security. To ensure secure communication in open networks, WPA3 is increasingly supported by Wi-Fi 6-capable devices.

Target Wake Time

TWT (Target Wake Time) enables devices to define specific times for communication with the access point. This means that a device remains inactive until it is time to transmit data to the access point. This function helps to extend the runtime of battery-operated devices or to save power.

Topology: Automatic roaming by mobile devices in the WLAN network

Automatic roaming by mobile devices in the WLAN network

Roaming – mobility in the network

One particular strength of Wireless LAN is the mobility of the devices in the network. The devices in a large WLAN network can move freely, and therefore switch their wireless connection automatically to the access point with the best wireless signal. This process is known as roaming.

The wireless field of a WLAN network can be infinitely extended through the use of additional access points. The speed and reliability with which the devices – referred to as WLAN clients – can switch cells is crucial in automation applications. Fast and reliable roaming is a quality feature of industrial WLAN products from Phoenix Contact.

Application examples WLAN can be used in a wide range of industrial applications. The increasing need for communication for process and operating data, as well as the increasing mobility of many applications, requires the use of wireless network communication.

AGV in the factory
Wireless machine access using smart devices
Robust communication with moving machine parts
AGV in the factory

Autonomous vehicles are increasingly being used in the smart factory to optimize production processes. Wi-Fi 6 provides a crucial infrastructure for guaranteeing reliable communication between the AGVs and other networked devices. This enables them to navigate through the production hall more efficiently, for example.

Further solutions for AGVs
Wireless machine access using smart devices

In the smart factory, flexibility is becoming increasingly important. In order to make processes as efficient as possible, machines and production systems must support flexible use in different locations. Connecting machines to the production network enables mobile operation, setup, and maintenance via digital end devices and thus provides the flexibility needed in the smart factory. Wi-Fi 6 offers consistently high and stable data rates, as well as a network that enables fast data transmission, even with many devices.

Robust communication with moving machine parts

Benefit from all the opportunities provided by Industrial Ethernet which allows you to integrate mobile and hard-to-access machine parts into your network via wireless communication: Easier and more cost-effective wireless network development, low-maintenance and wear-free communication with moving machine parts and in harsh industrial environments, secure wireless communication via SafetyBridge or PROFINET and PROFIsafe.