Zeus Kerravala from Network World seems to think so and gives compelling arguments on why 802.11ax may offer substantial performance improvements over existing Wifi standards, including decreasing congestion between lots of wireless devices in an area, which is becoming an increasingly common scenario.

“The problem with Wi-Fi isn’t always the speed of the system. 802.11ac wave 2 gets us to or over the Gigabit barrier, which should be plenty of bandwidth for most people. The bigger problem with Wi-Fi is congestion and how current Wi-Fi handles lots of people trying to do wireless things and overcrowding the network. The ax standard solves these problems and others by completely redesigning how Wi-Fi works and taking some best practices from LTE.”

One of the big advancements in LTE is something called orthogonal frequency division multiple access (ODMFA), which is an alphabet soup way of saying it does frequency division multiplexing. With previous versions of Wi-Fi, channels were held open until the data transmission had finished. Think of a line at a bank with only one teller where people have to queue up. MU-MIMO means there can be four tellers and four lines, but the people still need to wait for the transaction ahead of them is complete. 

With OFDMA, each channel is chopped up into hundreds of smaller sub-channels, each with a different frequency. The signals are then turned orthogonally (at right angles) so they can be stacked on top of each other and de-multiplexed. With the bank analogy, imagine a teller being able to handle multiple customers when they are free. So customer one hands the teller a check and while that person is signing the check, the teller deals with the next customer, etc. The use of OFDMA means up to 30 clients can share each channel instead of having to take turns broadcasting and listening on each.  Zeus Kerravala from Network World


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