Follow me:

State of Wi-Fi 6 from WLPC

From the WLPC Prague presentation. We’ll go over our presentation and what we’ve found about Wi-Fi 6 from our testing.

You can watch our WLPC Prague presentation on YouTube from the WLAN Pros channel. It will include a live Wi-Fi 6 demo where we include the audience.

The demo consisted of 10 WLANpi running iPerf3 servers. We asked people in the audience to connect their Wi-Fi 6 devices to an Aerohive AP broadcasting Wi-Fi 6, of course. A Jetson Nano was used to capture frames.

The presentation slides can be found here.

Watch the presentation below:

Our process included:

  • Theory
  • Lab
  • Test

As of this recording, Wi-Fi 6 still remains in draft. It is not expected to become a standard until late 2020. Today, we are currently over the peak of inflated expectations.

At WLPC Prague, we asked the audience three questions:

  • Do you own a Wi-Fi 6 device?
  • Have you deployed a Wi-Fi 6 network?
  • Have you ever connected to a Wi-Fi 6 network that wasn’t yours?

Theory

To start learning about Wi-Fi 6, we had to start with the theory. That meant getting the source of all information regarding 802.11ax. There were other resources we used as well:

What about the Wi-Fi Alliance?

  • Marketing 802.11ax
  • Wi-Fi 6 certification
    • What makes a device Wi-Fi 6 certified?
  • How many are certified today?
  • Wi-Fi 6
    • Compatible
    • Certifiable
    • Certified

Equipment

We needed to get our hands on Wi-Fi 6 equipment. There very little devices available but we managed to get ahold of Wi-Fi 6 access points and two Wi-Fi 6 devices.

Knowing your chipsets can make or break your Wi-Fi 6 capabilities.

Our equipment included:

Wi-Fi 6 in Practice

How did we test Wi-Fi 6? Our goal was to test the various features of Wi-Fi 6. These were based on simplicity. Just to test functionality.

First, we wanted to see what was advertised. We used frame captures to identify feature support.

To capture Wi-Fi 6 frames you need a Wi-Fi 6 device that can demodulate the signal. We tried using Wi-Fi 6 APs but we were missing frames. We stuck to the Jetson Nano as it ran Ubuntu with an Intel AX200. It was more capable of capturing than a Cisco C9115.

We used iPerf 3 to test performance. We used a Sidekick to see if OFDMA was used but we were unsuccessful.

Wi-Fi 6 Party & Captures

  • OFDMA
  • Remote packet capture on Jetson Nano
  • WiFi Explorer Plugin
  • Cisco C9115AXI sniffer modes 

Data Rates

Are we able to acquire 1024 QAM? How likely are we to use higher MCS rates?

General Observations

  • Firmware is our limitation. 
  • 1024-QAM does work (only observed on 5GHz)
  • Range of 1024-QAM is not that great
    • Better with 4×4:4 APs
  • Generally higher data rates (mostly due to 1024-QAM)
    • Might not reflect in real-world deployments
  • More fluctuation in data rates
  • Wi-Fi 6 doesn’t mean OFDMA
  • Spectrum efficiency doesn’t seem to be at its best yet
  • Might need more power than PoE+

Join Clear To Send

Come join the Clear To Send community.

Powered by ConvertKit
Hosted by
Rowell

Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

Episode 194