Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 Certification Brings New Power Saving, Uplink Performance Boosts

Designed to improve battery life for the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as performance for upload-heavy tasks like video conferencing.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new revision of its Wi-Fi 6 certification standard, Release 2, bringing a range of improvements including better power management and uplink multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (mu-MIMO).

"Wi-Fi delivers advanced capabilities that have driven tremendous global innovation, paving the way for massive growth in Wi-Fi applications that users rely on every day," claims Edgar Figueroa, president and chief executive of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 furthers Wi-Fi's evolution to address today’s market needs, and supports more high-performance Wi-Fi scenarios with greater capacity, efficiency, and reliability."

A key feature for those working in the embedded and battery-powered end of the spectrum: Boosted power management functionality, helping to lower overall power envelopes and boost battery life. Release 2 brings three new capabilities: Broadcast target wake time (TWT), extended sleep time, and dynamic multi-user spatial multiplexing power save (SMPS) - letting devices sleep for longer, wake up at specific intervals to transmit data, and dynamically shut off redundant receive chains.

The new release also brings with it improvements for bandwidth-hungry applications, bringing support for uplink multi-user MIMO - letting multiple devices upload concurrently to a single access point. With the feature enabled, the Wi-Fi Alliance claims, latency and network performance are improved for all uplink-heavy workloads - including video conferencing.

Support for the new features, however, relies on member companies. Thankfully, many have announced support - and in some cases named devices, which are ready-to-run, having been part of the initial test bed - including Broadcom, Infineon, Intel, MediaTek, NXP, and Qualcomm.

To be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED requires membership of the Wi-FI Alliance; more details on the three tracks to certification are available on the official website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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