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Whether you’re playing games in the living room, streaming a film in bed or working at the kitchen table, a stable WiFi connection is essential these days. But how exactly does WiFi work and what new technologies are available? Our expert Eric Condette will tell you all you need to know.

Flurina Kuster

February 28, 2023 . 3 minutes read

You probably already know how signals are transmitted via cables. But we also use lots of wireless connections in our daily lives. Have you ever wondered how signals are transmitted without any physical cables?

The best example of this is WiFi (wireless fidelity). In recent years, the requirements placed on it have increased significantly as more and more devices and people want to surf the Internet wirelessly at the same time. This growing demand has driven the development of new WiFi technologies.

The technology works as follows:

A WiFi router receives data from the Internet via a wired connection, such as a DSL or cable connection.

The access point (WAP) converts this data into radio waves and transmits them.

Devices with a WiFi feature, such as a smartphone, can receive these radio waves and convert the data back into its original form.


Radio waves

Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic waves that move through space and do not need a physical medium such as cables or lines to spread out. Radio waves usually use a frequency of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.


This is how a cell tower can look.

What do 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz mean?


The terms 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz refer to the frequency bands that are used for your WiFi network.


2.4 GHz:

The 2.4 GHz band is the older, widely-used frequency band for WiFi networks. It offers a range of up to 100 metres, making it ideal for large apartments or buildings.


5 GHz:

By contrast, the 5 GHz band is the newer, faster frequency band for WiFi. It has a range of up to 50 metres, but is less congested than the 2.4 GHz band. In general, this means you can achieve faster Internet speeds if you use a 5 GHz network.



Use 5 GHz for data-intensive applications such as online gaming or 4K video streaming.

Online gaming can also look like this

WiFi versions

In addition to different frequencies, there are also various WiFi versions that have undergone continuous development over the last few years.


The most widely-used version, Wi-Fi 5, was introduced in 2014. A newer version, Wi-Fi 6, was launched in 2019.

Both have very useful technologies to offer.


One example is MU-MIMO:

MU-MIMO stands for «Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output». This technology allows an access point (AP), such as a router, to transmit data to multiple devices at the same time. To do so, the AP sends and receives multiple streams of data simultaneously.



  • Increased bandwidth and performance for WiFi networks

  • Better performance for devices that transmit data at the same time

  • Reduced latency



To illustrate this, imagine a modern concert venue in which several musicians are playing different instruments at the same time, yet all the audience hears is harmonious music.


This mirrors the idea of MU-MIMO, where multiple WiFi devices can send and receive data from one access point at the same time, significantly improving the efficiency and speed of the WiFi network.


Just as a musical ensemble combines various instruments harmoniously, MU-MIMO coordinates the transmission of data between different devices to achieve better performance.

Mu-MIMO distributes maximum WiFi capacity to all devices.

By comparison, Wi-Fi 6 also offers a number of technical improvements and new technologies over its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. Here is a small overview: 


New Technologies


One of the latest technologies is OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access), which is integrated into Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7. It allows modern Wi-Fi routers to operate multiple devices at the same time.


OFDMA is particularly important in households with lots of simultaneously connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs and smart-home devices.



Imagine you’ve got a group of people who all want to do something in the same room.


To allow all the people to work at the same time without interfering with each other, you can divide up the room into several areas.


Now imagine that you allocate each person their own area. The people can now work in their own areas without interfering with each other.


Similarly, OFDMA can enable access points to transmit data to multiple devices at the same time by splitting the frequency spectrum into multiple channels.

With Smart Home you got the full overview.

BSS Coloring:  

The technology «BSS Coloring» (Basic Service Set Coloring) is used in environments with a high density of devices, such as airports or stadiums. 



  • Reduced interference: BSS coloring reduces the likelihood that a device will abort a transmission due to interference from another device.


  • Improved performance: It allows routers to use their resources more efficiently by reducing interference from other devices. This can lead to higher performance and better reliability for the Wi-Fi network.

  • Increased capacity: BSS coloring allows routers to support more devices simultaneously without sacrificing performance. This is especially important in dense areas where many devices share the same channel.



You can think of it like this – you’re standing at a junction where several roads meet and lots of vehicles are travelling at the same time. Each road has its own set of traffic lights to control the traffic. Now an advanced traffic-light system such as BSS Coloring is introduced.  


With BSS Coloring, traffic-light changes are controlled by the actual level of traffic. If there’s not much traffic on one road, the traffic light stays red, while on another road with more traffic, the traffic light turns green. This minimises delays and traffic jams because the traffic lights only change when it’s really necessary. 

These Sunrise Internet Boxes support Wi-Fi 6.


DFS stands for Dynamic Frequency Selection. This technology allows access points (APs) to switch the frequencies on which they send and receive data. This helps reduce interference with other devices that are sending or receiving data on the same frequencies.



Radar detection: routers use radar detection to detect if there are any other devices on the same frequencies.


Frequency switching: routers switch the frequency on which they send and receive data when they detect other devices on the same frequencies.



Imagine you’ve got a road with several lanes. If there’s too much traffic in one lane, you can switch to another lane.


I hope that this overview of Wi-Fi technologies has helped to deepen your understanding of Wi-Fi.

If you want to know even more about Wi-Fi, visit our blog post Tips for perfect Wi-Fi.

Have you already heard of the lightning fast Sunrise Up Internet?

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