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What is Wi-Fi 6 and why you’re going to want it

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Why all the 6G wireless talk before we even have 5G?
TechRepublic’s Karen Roby talks with ZDNet’s Scott Fulton about the future of 6G, the current status of 5G, and breaks down the difference between the two. Read more: https://zd.net/2JBhSji

I have, let me see, seven Wi-Fi enabled devices currently running in my home office. That includes a tablet, a smartphone, five laptops, and a Roku streaming the last episode of Game of Thrones. That’s about par. According to Parks Associates, the average home in 2017 had nine Wi-Fi equipped devices. Offices have far more. That means distributing the internet to so much gear has become a real problem. That’s where Wi-Fi 6 comes in.

Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is like its predecessors, faster than the standards, which came before it. How much faster? It depends.

The new Wi-Fi standard could be between four to ten times faster than 802.11ac. That’s the theory. In the real world, I expect it to be about 50% faster than the top-of-the-line networking gear you’re using today. This means you’ll see Gigabit speeds.

Keep in mind, though, that to see any speed increase both your client devices and your routers must be using Wi-Fi 6. When it comes to networking speeds — from the days when we were running our networks over frozen yellow snake with speeds of less than 10Mbps to today when our datacenters run at 10 Gbps speeds — a network is only as fast as its slowest connection.

So, yes, it will be faster, but that’s not all that big a deal. Where Wi-Fi 6 really shines is in distributing your network’s broadband across multiple devices. You’ve seen this problem yourself. You’re in a large venue before anyone is there and you’ve got plenty of bandwidth. But, as it fills up, your bandwidth drops to a slow crawl for an arthritic turtle.

Yes, part of the problem is you’re sharing the backbone internet connection with more people, but another major part of it is that the current generation of Wi-Fi routers can’t handle connecting efficiently to four or more devices at once. They can handle far more — and they do — but your device has to wait in a virtual line once there are more than four gadgets making a connection at once. Wi-Fi 6 doubles that to eight simultaneous connections by making better use Multi-User-Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology than earlier standard devices.

Wi-Fi 6 also makes good use of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (ODMFA), With earlier approaches, a Wi-Fi channel is kept open until your data transmission is completed. This leaves a lot of devices standing around waiting for their chance. With OFDMA, these channels are divided up into many smaller sub-channels. The net result is instead of lingering around for the next available channel, as many as 30 clients can share a channel instead of taking turns. 

What that means for you and your network is you’re much less likely to see network delays because of congestion. So, instead of seeing your speeds collapse when more people are hooking into the network, Wi-Fi 6 can handle the load much more gracefully.

I like the idea of how Wi-Fi 6 will help in my networked home office. But where it’s really going to be worth the money is for any business supporting dense device environments, such as convention centers, hotels, schools, and stadiums. If that’s your kind of company, start setting aside some capital budget for upgrading your wireless network infrastructure today. Wi-Fi 6 is an essential upgrade for these businesses.

Besides helping you personally, OFDMA enables low-bandwidth requests to transmit in parallel. This means you get reduced latency and jitter. As we depend ever more on networking for video and the Internet of Things (IoT) this will help both of those technologies live up to their potential.

IoT users will also benefit from a new feature called Target Wake Time (TWT). With this, routers can schedule check-in times. This will enable IoT devices to use less power since they won’t be constantly maintaining their net connections.

Put it all together and you want to start getting ready to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6. That said, don’t be in too much of a hurry. Wait until the technology is fully baked. Sure, as ABI Research Senior Analyst Andrew Zignani noted “Wi-Fi 6 pre-standard chipsets are readily available from numerous vendors including Broadcom, Qualcomm, Marvell, Quantenna, Intel, and Celenom,” but they are “pre-standard.” The Wi-Fi 6 standard hasn’t been nailed down yet. It will be completed later this year.

Today’s devices will probably work with their draft Wi-Fi 6 firmware, but you may not want to spend money on “probably.” Still, some Wi-Fi 6 routers are already available. These include the Asus RT-AX88U Dual Band 802.11ax Wi-Fi Router, Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80), and TP-Link Archer AX6000.

In any case, to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6, your client equipment needs to be ready to support it. Today, that’s only a handful of devices. The next generation of PCs with Intel Ice Lake processors and smartphones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processors are still quarters away from the mass market.

But, by year’s end or the beginning of 2020, you will want want to move to Wi-Fi 6. It will be a game changer.  

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Callaway Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition trounces Ram TRX in a drag race

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American performance vehicle builder Callaway Cars has debuted its newest creation: The Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition, now officially the best sleeper truck on the road. How fast? Hold your breath: This Chevy Silverado has trounced the mighty RAM TRX in a drag race. That’s saying a lot since Ram made it clear the TRX is “the quickest, fastest, and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world.”

But as it turns out, Callaway has other plans. The company has a long and cherished history of building quirky yet high-end performance cars like the C4 Corvette Sledgehammer and C7 Corvette AeroWagen. However, what we really love about the Silverado SC602 is the way it looks.

It may resemble a factory-stock Chevy Silverado from some angles, but there are telltale signs of the truck’s outstanding stoplight-to-stoplight ability. Like those 20 or 22-inch Callaway lightweight wheels, for instance, or the bevy of chrome Callaway exterior badging, including a bold CALLAWAY script on the carbon fiber front grille.

As with any Callaway vehicle, what matters most is hiding under the sheet metal. The SC602 starts life as a Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, or High Country with a standard 6.2-liter V8 motor and four-wheel drive. Next, Callway installs a GenThree Eaton TVS R2650 Supercharger with a TripleCooled intercooler. The blower offers 15-percent more displacement yet requiring 18-percent less power output.

It doesn’t stop there. The truck also gets a high-flow intake, low-restriction stainless steel dual outlet exhausts with quad exhaust tips, and a bespoke Callaway ECU with custom tuning. After all the dirty engine work is complete, the Callaway Silverado SC60’s blown V8 is now pumping out 602 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

But wait, the Ram TRX’s Hellcat V8 makes 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, 100 more horses (and 90 more torques) than Callaway’s truck, so how did it trounce the Ram? Two words: weight and tires. The Silverado SC602 tips the scales at only 5,820 pounds (2640 kg), while the Ram TRX weighs around 7,080 (3,211 kg) pounds.

The result is nothing short of astonishing. The SC602 goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.3-seconds, zero to 100 mph in 9.80-seconds, and breaks the quarter-mile in 12.5-seconds @ 113 mph. Meanwhile, the Ram TRX goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.99-seconds, a bit quicker than the Chevy.

But the latter is faster from zero to 100 mph as the Ram needed 10.14 seconds to perform the deed, proof of the Callaway Silverado SC60’s mid to high-range pulling power. And yeah, those sticky performance tires were partly responsible for the Callaway’s drag strip prowess.

What’s more, the Silverado SC602 is 50-state emissions compliant and carries a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty to supplement Chevy’s bumper-to-bumper warranty. Other goodies include aluminum door sills, billet aluminum pedals, an Alcantara-covered horn cover, and ID plaques to let other people know you’re driving the genuine article.

How much? We have no idea. But you can get in touch with Callaway if you fancy the ultimate Ram-beating sleeper truck.

Callaway Chevy Silverado SC602 Signature Edition Gallery

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Ford reveals the custom 2021 Mustang Mach-E to be given away for charity

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Ford has supported various charities for a long time, often donating customized automobiles to be auctioned off. Each year Ford offers a customized car for the AirVenture charity, and typically that car is a Ford Mustang of some sort with a big V8 engine under the hood. This year, the car Ford is donating to the charity is a different kind of Mustang.

Ford has revealed the customized electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E that will be auctioned off this year. The vehicle was built to honor the sacrifices of Women Air Force Service Pilots. The special Mach-E is inspired by the female volunteer pilots and the planes they flew during World War II.

Proceeds from the vehicle auction support the EAA initiative to provide young women and underserved youths more access to careers in the aviation industry. Ford notes that it has worked with AirVenture for more than two decades and has donated 12 custom aviation-themed performance vehicles so far, raising a total of more than $4 million. 2021 marks the first year Ford has donated an electric vehicle.

The custom Mach-E was designed by Ford and has a custom paint scheme with military badging inspired by the warplanes the volunteers flew. Women Air Force Service Pilots flew almost every type of military aircraft in World War II as they rolled off the factory floor after assembly. Ford put badges, including the US Army Air Force star on both sides, wings logos on the hood and fender, and No. 38 on the front fascia, rear bumper, and inside the cabin.

That number represents the 38 volunteers who died serving their country. Women Air Force Service Pilots are a group of American volunteers who transported warplanes to US Army bases worldwide to be used in combat. The female pilots flew more than 60 million miles during the war and weren’t recognized as active military personnel until 1977 when the pilots were granted retroactive military status.

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This Porsche 911 Turbo S pays homage to Mexican driving ace Pedro Rodriguez

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In collaboration with Porsche Latin America, Porsche Mexico, and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, German automaker Porsche has built a custom 911 Turbo S in memory of the late, great Pedro Rodriguez. Rodriguez is the most successful Mexican racing driver of all time.

He walked away with 11 titles in the World Championship of Makes – now known as the World Endurance Championship – and helped Porsche capture the crown in 1970 and 1971 aboard a Porsche 917 KH in Gulf Oil livery. Rodriguez claimed two Formula Grand Prix wins, four wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans before losing his life in 1971 at the Norising street circuit in Nuremberg, Germany.

Fifty years on after that fateful and deadly crash, Porsche is reliving the glory days with a custom 911 Turbo S ‘One of a Kind’ Pedro Rodriguez. The car debuted at a Sportscar Together Day event at the Centro Alto Rendimineto in Toluca, Mexico, where it drew oohs and ahhs with its custom Gulf attire.

Porsche claims the 911 Turbo S ‘One of a Kind’ Pedro Rodriguez is, well, genuinely one of a kind. “This configuration, with these specific details and equipment, has been locked in the Porsche configurator, as well as in the production system, so that this car is literally unrepeatable,” said Camilo San Martin, Director of Porsche Mexico.

Wearing the iconic Gulf Blue paint with single orange striping, it also has custom high-gloss black wheels, an aluminum center lock, and a black number 2 in a white circle graphic on the doors and front hood. Look closely at the B-pillar and you’ll find a silhouette of the 917 KH race car wearing the colors off the Mexican flag, complete with the name and signature of Pedro Rodriguez.

Other bespoke elements include unique carbon moldings on the lower door frames (which illuminate when the doors are open), Graphite Blue leather seats with orange stitching, and an engraved tribute of the eight races that Rodriguez won aboard the Porsche 917 KH under the rear spoiler.

Also included are a Gulf Blue key fob (with Rodriguez’s signature) and a luggage set wearing the same blue and orange colors. It still has a turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six pumping out 640 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox under the hood.

The Porsche 911 Turbo S Pedro Rodriguez will hit the auction block later this year. Porsche will donate the auction proceeds to various charities.

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