Wi-Fi Alliance on Monday officially started its Wi-Fi 6 certification program, informally kicking off the widescale adoption of the new Wi-Fi standard. As with the group's previous certification programs, the Wi-Fi 6 certification program is focused on verifying the interoperability and feature sets of IEEE 802.11ax devices, ensuring that they work well with each other and that the devices feature all of the required performance and security capabilities of the new standard.

Wi-Fi Alliance's certification comes as device manufacturers have already been shipping Wi-Fi 6 products for the last several months – essentially seeding the hardware ecosystem to get to this point. So the first task for the group's members and test labs will be to certify existing Wi-Fi 6 devices. This includes existing access points, routers, and client devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, which has become the first smartphone to receive certification.

Under the hood, the new standard takes a bit of a departure from past Wi-Fi iterations by focusing more on improving performance in shared environments, as opposed to solely boosting peak device transfer rates. To that end, while the maximum throughput supported by Wi-Fi 6 is 2.4 Gbps, the crucial improvement of the Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax technology the standard's enhanced spectral efficiency. Among other things, the technology adds OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) to allow different devices to be served by one channel, by dedicating different sub-carriers for individual client devices. Wi-Fi 6 also adds mandatory support for MU-MIMO – a feature first added in 802.11ac Wave 2 – as well as transmit beamforming for better reaching individual clients.

In fact, even existing Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) client devices can benefit from a Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AP, though Wi-Fi 6 Certified devices will deliver the best results.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi Alliance mandates that Wi-Fi 6 certified devices support WPA3 security, 1024-QAM, 160 MHz channels, and that devices support target wake time (a battery-saving tech that minimizes device check-ins).

Finally, along with the launch of the certification program itself, the Wi-Fi Alliance has already certified its first dozen devices. The following network adapters, chipsets, and access points have all been Wi-Fi 6 certified:

  • Broadcom BCM4375
  • Broadcom BCM43698
  • Broadcom BCM43684
  • Cypress CYW 89650 Auto-Grade Wi-Fi 6 Certified
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) AX200 (for PCs)
  • Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV600 Series (for routers and gateways)
  • Marvell 88W9064 (4x4) Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band STA
  • Marvell 88W9064 (4x4) + 88W9068 (8x8) Wi-Fi 6 Concurrent Dual-Band AP
  • Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 Platform
  • Qualcomm FastConnect 6800 Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Connectivity Subsystem
  • Ruckus R750 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point
Wi-Fi Names and Performance
Naming Peak Performance
New Name IEEE
Wi-Fi 4 802.11n 150 Mbps 300 Mbps 450 Mbps
Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac 433 Mbps over 80MHz

867 Mbs over 160MHz
867 Mbps over 80MHz

1.69 Gbps over 160MHz
1.27 Gbps over 80 MHz

2.54 Gbps over 160 MHz
Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax 867 Mbs over 160MHz

1.69 Gbps over 160MHz

on network
2.54 Gbps over 160 MHz


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Source: Wi-Fi Alliance

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  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - link

    Most phones aren't flagship phones.
  • Sttm - Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - link

    My S10+ went from averaging around 450 on ac to 800 on ax, so I definitely think its an improvement for phone usage.
  • bcronce - Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - link

    I have 250/250 internet and get over 200Mb/s on my phone. According to my ubiquiti, my S7 cell phone is bursting at 800Mb+. According to my firewall, the Roku express is getting 40Mb/s through several walls and a floor and the AP is set to medium power on 2.4ghz.
  • Targon - Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - link

    If you force your router to use AC with wide channels, you get get better performance than automatic band and allowing narrow channels. Many routers will degrade performance if you set them to automatically decide between b/g/n/ac.
  • Jorgp2 - Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - link

    Don't buy a PoS router.
  • JKJK - Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - link

    I transfer 700Mbps easily on my Cisco 802.11ac wave 2 AP's. Every single day.
    And I've just ordered a Cisco 9800L WLC and 9120 AP's, so I'm going native 802.11ax very soon.
  • Lord 666 - Saturday, September 21, 2019 - link

    A little overkill for residential use, don't you think? Cisco needs to clearly define the use case differences between the gear you purchased and the Meraki MR45/55 series.
  • JKJK - Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - link

    Well, yes.
    But, I did it because I can and I also use it for educational / lab use
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - link

    I regularly get over 150 mbps from phone to internet at home over WiFi, and my internet speed is the limiting factor. That's on 802.11ac (aka "WiFi 5" now.)

    I just upgraded to 802.11ax (aka "WiFi 6",) routers, and my WiFi 6 laptop will be arriving today. I'll have to do a laptop-to-gigabit-connected-server test internally to really test, but I was getting 700 mbps on 802.11ac when a room away.
  • cschlise - Thursday, September 19, 2019 - link

    Exactly ... same thing applies to 5G. I see both of these as being the "windows 8" of the wireless world.

    The key to getting better throughput in the future is bonded channels. That's going to require a whole infrastructure change for Cell and a non-trivial amount for WiFi. Cable companies already do this and they control the RF passed over their well behaved fiber and copper networks.

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