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As posted on Here’s how your home Wi-Fi is going to get a lot better

In a perfect world, our Wi-Fi speeds would always be ridiculously fast and we’d never have to worry about Wi-Fi networks getting clogged up from too many devices.

With 802.11ax, the next-generation Wi-Fi protocol, we’ll all get a little closer to that perfect world.

Qualcomm announced on Monday an end-to-end 802.11ax portfolio consisting of two new system-on-a-chips (SoCs) — one for network infrastructure (IPQ8074) and a one for client devices (QCA6290) — that’ll make Wi-Fi more efficient with up to 4x more capacity. The first devices to incorporate these new Wi-Fi chips will arrive in the first half of 2017.

To spare you from all the nerdy technical details and cut to the chase: why focus on more capacity instead of faster speeds? Simply put, we’re using more devices than ever before and we need Wi-Fi networks and devices that will be able to handle the increased traffic.

What good is faster Wi-Fi if all of your devices can’t connect to the network?

According to the GSM Association (GSMA), the number of devices used in a family household of four will increase from eight in 2012 to 24 in 2017 to 50 in 2022. What good is faster Wi-Fi if all of your devices can’t connect to the network?

Compared to existing 802.11ac, Qualcomm’s 802.11ax solutions support “12-streams (eight 5GHz and four 2.4GHz), 8×8 MU-MIMO, 80 MHz channels” and features such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and traffic scheduling to increase capacity, and improve coverage and efficiency.

In addition to being backwards compatible with 802.11ac gear, Qualcomm’s 802.11ax solutions will also enhance them.

For you, the user, 802.11ax means you’ll be able to do more high-bandwidth things on more devices. So for instance, instead of a single 4K video stream on your TV that slows every other device to a crawl, you’ll be able to stream multiple 4K videos to multiple devices.

“Capacity – not peak speed – has become the most important measure of a network’s ability to handle the ever-increasing demands of today’s diverse mix of application and services,” Rahul Patel, Qualcomm’s senior vice president & general manager of connectivity, said in a press release.

“We were the first to commercialize capacity utilization-focused solutions, such as MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi SON and 802.11ad, and are now on the front lines of 11ax innovation that will propel the Wi-Fi industry into the next phase of high-capacity, high-efficiency networks. The transformative features of our 802.11ax solutions are designed to enable our customers to meet these demands, ensuring ample Wi-Fi capacity for richer connected experiences.”

In other words, get ready for better Wi-Fi at home, classrooms, airports, parks, in the car, and other places a gazillion devices connecting at once.

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