New Wi-Fi 6 Certification is Officially Released, Up to 3x Faster Than 802.11ac

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The Wi-Fi Alliance officially introduced the new Wi-Fi Standard IEEE 802.11ax—more simply known as Wi-Fi 6—on Monday, September 14th, 2019. The new standard was first revealed in October of 2018.

With Wi-Fi 6 introduced, companies are now free to have their Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices officially certified under the new standard.

But what does Wi-Fi 6 mean for the rest of us?

Wi-Fi Performance Improvements

Wi-Fi 6 comes with serious performance upgrades that set it apart from previous certification levels—especially regarding high traffic Wi-Fi access points.

1024 QAM Support

Wi-Fi 6 supports 1024 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) while Wi-Fi 5 supported 256 QAM. This upgrade provides 10 bits per symbol instead of the usual 8, which means Wi-Fi 6 devices can deliver more data efficiently.


Wi-Fi 6 uses a mechanism called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), which is a channel sharing mechanism that makes it much easier to handle large amounts of traffic. With OFDMA, we see serious improvements in busy places where many people are using one Wi-Fi access point—think airports, hotels, other public Wi-Fi hotspots.

There's a lot going on with the new standard; I highly suggest reviewing the official release by Wi-Fi Alliance for a detailed look at the spec requirements.

Early Adopters

(Image credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)

Businesses started gearing up for the Wi-Fi 6 release in late 2018. Now that IEEE 802.11ax is official, they're lining up to get their products officially certified. Keep an eye out for the new Wi-Fi 6 certification going forward.

Samsung revealed the Galaxy Note 10 as the first official Wi-Fi 6 certified smartphone on Monday, September 16th. It's the first in a line of many to meet the new communication standard, including the upcoming iPhone 11—confirmed by Apple to be Wi-Fi 6 compatible.

Leading figures in the router industry prepared for the new Wi-Fi 6 certification with a series of compatible devices, as well. You can expect more products from names like Asus and Netgear over the coming months as the new Wi-Fi standard takes root.

First Wi-Fi 6 Certified Products

Here's a quick look at the first products officially designated with the Wi-Fi 6 certification. Apart from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, these devices comprised the testbed for the new certification.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
First Official Wi-Fi 6 Certified Products
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
Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Wi-Fi 6 is the new standard for everything that uses Wi-Fi—from phones and tablets to routers and desktops. As the new standard becomes commonplace, Wi-Fi connectivity will be faster and more efficient, especially in areas with high traffic.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.