Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 announced: it is not getting easier

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 6, 2022
Updated • Jan 6, 2022

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 on January 5, 2022. The new state of the art standard for wireless communication evolves Wi-Fi 6, a standard announced in 2018 and Wi-Fi 6E, another improved version of the standard.

The Wi-Fi Alliance changed the naming scheme with the release of Wi-Fi 6 to make things easier for customers. Previously  customers had to look up the supported standards of a Wi-Fi supporting device, such as a router or modem, to find out which it supported.

This changed with the switch to numerical versions: Wi-Fi 6 certified devices support 802.11ax technology, while Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 devices only 802.11ac and 802.n technologies respectively.

Then came the release of Wi-Fi 6E, which unlocked 6 GHz for Wi-Fi devices (opposed to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for Wi-Fi 6).

The announcement of Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 introduces another Wi-Fi technology that users have consider when buying routers and other devices. While it is the newest right now, devices with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E are still being sold, and it will take a while before the first devices with support for Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 become available.

Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 has several improvements when compared to the two previous Wi-Fi 6 standards. The press release highlights the improvements in the following way:

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 adds support for uplink multi-user multiple input, multiple output (multi-user MIMO) to deliver smoother streaming services and video conferencing, faster uploads, and more reliable gaming. Additionally, three power management features improve Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 power efficiency, benefitting enterprise, industrial, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. New features apply across all bands supported by Wi-Fi 6 – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz - bringing capacity, efficiency, coverage and performance benefits to residential, enterprise, and large public networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 delivers the best experience with advanced applications, while providing strong WPA3™ security and promoting interoperability between Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ devices.

Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 includes support for 6 GHz, which means that it supersedes both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. New features include improved Wi-Fi uplink performance by adding support for uplink multi-user MIMO. The addition enables "devices to upload content concurrently to an access point".

Uplink multi-user MIMO improves network performance and reduces latency while video conferencing, uploading documents, and any other mission-critical applications that require greater uplink capacity.

The new version of the standard improves power management as well by introducing new power management features and improvements in Enterprise and IoT environments.

New low power and sleep mode enhancements – including broadcast target wake time (TWT), extended sleep time, and dynamic multi-user spatial multiplexing power save (SMPS)– enable power optimization of multiple battery powered devices. This trio of features allow multiple devices to receive extended sleep periods, allow for specific “wake up” times for transmitting data, and enable dynamic shut off of redundant receive chains to optimize power consumption in Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 Release 2 networks.

Tip: check out our WiFi basics series if you are new and want to read up on the technology.

Closing Words

Internet users who are looking for a new router or other Wi-Fi powered device currently may want to wait until devices that support the new standard are released.  Certification is already happening and first devices that support the new standard are expected later this year. It is unclear whether existing devices may receive firmware updates to support the new standard.

Now You: Which Wi-Fi standards do your devices support? (via Caschy)

Article Name
Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 announced: it is not getting easier
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2 on January 5, 2022. The new state of the art standard for wireless communication evolves Wi-Fi 6, a standard announced in 2018.
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  1. notanon said on January 8, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    No one is buying a router now anyway, because Bidenflation & the supply shortage has driven up the price of everything.

    Once the mRNA recipients start dying, things will be cheaper.

    1. Brian Williams said on January 9, 2022 at 7:30 am

      Now that the Christmas break is over with all its attached sales, I would expect that many have already purchased a new router, but hopefully, as I have been reading, quite a few of these routers (but not all) will accept a firmware update for Rev.2.

  2. beemeup5 said on January 6, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Oh no. They’ve adopted the USB Forum’s naming sense! Hopefully the actual implementation won’t be botched like the HDMI 2.1 fiasco. Is it too much to ask that standards mean simple, consistent things and you don’t have to break out the magnifying glass to read the fine print every time?

    1. ULBoom said on January 7, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      Really. USB 3.1 v2, USB 3.2, USB Extra Super Fast, USB Extreme Zippy. Huh?!

      USB C, Greased Lightning, Thunderbolt speeds, maybe but not really, the connector’s definitely oval. And all the micro SSD speeds ( you may not achieve these speeds depending on jibberish junk…)

      I thought standards organizations were supposed to release, uh, standards. Part of which is following naming conventions?

      Marketing must be the only tech group not doing distance work these days. “Put your name on a standard! If you show up, you rule!”

      N is still faster than most internet connections, and was years before it was ratified. What a mess!

    2. Chris said on January 7, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      >Oh no. They’ve adopted the USB Forum’s naming sense!

      Exactly my thought when I read Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi Certified 6 Release 2…

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