Does OFDMA Really Work? Part 1

Krisbi

Regular Contributor
No. The article was taken down after only being up for around 15 minutes, due to a flaw in the data. I removed your link to the cached version since it has invalid data.

New version will be posted today.
Great, thank you!
 

mjc775

Occasional Visitor
How do you know that it supports OFDMA? That checkmark means only that AX rates are supported, not OFDMA.

I checked with NETGEAR to confirm the RAX80 doesn't currently support OFDMA. A new firmware is being released shortly that will enable it.

“Enable AX - This WiFi mode will enable AX features such as OFDMA”

This sure could be interpreted that support already exists. Since not, perhaps Netgear should add the word “upcoming“. I’d be curious exactly what the GUI says on their officially supported RAX products, and why the RAX80 appears to be the only one that doesn’t support it?

With the Enable AX box currently checked, in a 3-user home environment with 3 iPhone 11s and about 25 other n/ac devices, and moderate 2.4 GHz noise from neighboring networks - what am I really gaining at this point? Or is it possibly hindering performance?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
This sure could be interpreted that support already exists. Since not, perhaps Netgear should add the word “upcoming“. I’d be curious exactly what the GUI says on their officially supported RAX products, and why the RAX80 appears to be the only one that doesn’t support it?
The same checkbox and description is used on all NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6 products. If OFDMA is supported, separate 2.4 and 5 GHz OFDMA checkboxes are shown.

No manufacturer of Wi-Fi 6 routers is accurately disclosing whether OFDMA is supported on its products. There are no disclaimers on spec sheets or boxes.

With the Enable AX box currently checked, in a 3-user home environment with 3 iPhone 11s and about 25 other n/ac devices, and moderate 2.4 GHz noise from neighboring networks - what am I really gaining at this point?
Well, what's your experience? What benefits do you see when enabling the AX checkbox?
 

mjc775

Occasional Visitor
The same checkbox and description is used on all NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6 products. If OFDMA is supported, separate 2.4 and 5 GHz OFDMA checkboxes are shown.

No manufacturer of Wi-Fi 6 routers is accurately disclosing whether OFDMA is supported on its products. There are no disclaimers on spec sheets or boxes.

Well, what's your experience? What benefits do you see when enabling the AX checkbox?
On my RAX80, the checkbox only appears above the 2.4 Ghz Basic Wireless settings, and again in Advanced Wireless settings.

It's enabled by default - so I will UNcheck the box, do some testing, and report back...
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
On my RAX80, the checkbox only appears above the 2.4 Ghz Basic Wireless settings, and again in Advanced Wireless settings.
The enable applies to both bands. I'll be interested in what you find.
 

mjc775

Occasional Visitor
...I checked with NETGEAR to confirm the RAX80 doesn't currently support OFDMA. A new firmware is being released shortly that will enable it.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but I just looked at the Netgear website and the RAX80's bullet points include "Uplink and downlink OFDMA". It seems the Marketing Department is way ahead of the R&D Department. Hopefully that new firmware will also include WPA3 support - or something else useful other than OFDMA (which as you've shown is not very useful at this point).

I will transition my OFDMA support claims queries to the Netgear Community, but posted it here because of your testing and ongoing communications with Netgear.
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot 2020-05-28 00.07.44.png
    Screenshot 2020-05-28 00.07.44.png
    212.3 KB · Views: 209

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
@mjc775 I know what NETGEAR's promotional material says. I've said many times in my articles and on this forum that manufacturers are not being truthful about the state of OFDMA support in their products.

According to NETGEAR, there is a release coming in the next few weeks that will finally add OFDMA support to the RAX80.

Here's what the OFDMA enables look like:​

netgear_ofdma_enables.PNG
 
Last edited:

det721

Part of the Furniture
According to NETGEAR, there is a release coming in the next few weeks that will finally add OFDMA support to the RAX80.

Few weeks ? This is Netgear were talking about. More like a few months or longer to be honest.
 

torstein

Regular Contributor
I'm curious too, is it still as irrelevant in 2022 as Thiggins concluded in 2020? Should I disable it?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
OFDMA is now more commonly implemented /enabed on consumer routers. But device support is still limited to newer smartphones and you need OFDMA supported on both ends. It's still unlikely the average user will see a noticeable benefit.

The conditions most likely to show total throughput improvement due to OFDMA are:
  1. Busy channel (> 50% airtime congestion)
  2. Small packet size
  3. UDP uplink traffic
  4. Large number of simultaneously active devices
These conditions aren't common for most home users. OFDMA benefits will be seem mainly in venues with lots of uplink traffic, i.e. stadiums, airports, campuses.

That said, having OFDMA enabled should be ok, unless you find that it causes problems.
 

Kingp1n

Very Senior Member
OFDMA is now more commonly implemented /enabed on consumer routers. But device support is still limited to newer smartphones and you need OFDMA supported on both ends. It's still unlikely the average user will see a noticeable benefit.

The conditions most likely to show total throughput improvement due to OFDMA are:
  1. Busy channel (> 50% airtime congestion)
  2. Small packet size
  3. UDP uplink traffic
  4. Large number of simultaneously active devices
These conditions aren't common for most home users. OFDMA benefits will be seem mainly in venues with lots of uplink traffic, i.e. stadiums, airports, campuses.

That said, having OFDMA enabled should be ok, unless you find that it causes problems.
@thiggins

I know the default setup with RMerlin fw is "DL OFDMA only", but what would "DL/UL OFDMA + MU-MIMO" offer?
 

Attachments

  • MU-MIMO and OFDMA.jpg
    MU-MIMO and OFDMA.jpg
    13.1 KB · Views: 30

Kingp1n

Very Senior Member
Should i have this on in my ax58u? I saw in tests it increases latency actually.
From what I gathered, you will have to try in your own environment and test, if you run into any issues, you will have to monitor and disabled it if needed.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
OFDMA is now more commonly implemented /enabed on consumer routers. But device support is still limited to newer smartphones and you need OFDMA supported on both ends. It's still unlikely the average user will see a noticeable benefit.

It'll be largely transparent to the end user - other than wifi just works better.

In the last few months, I've seen a migration of the carrier provided equipment over to WiFi6... mostly Technicolor, Arris, and Netgear

Can see it in my wifi scanner - and we're about 25 percent WiFi6 now in the neighborhood - and the carrier boxes are g/n/ax in 2.4GHz, so the deprecation of 802.11b is well underway - and this has improvements for all WiFi4 and later gear in that band.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I know the default setup with RMerlin fw is "DL OFDMA only", but what would "DL/UL OFDMA + MU-MIMO" offer?
MU-MIMO uses time slots in a frame to transmit (DL) and receive (UL) data. Enabling it gives the AP's scheduler another option to use to optimize bandwidth.
Should i have this on in my ax58u? I saw in tests it increases latency actually.
Yes, both OFDMA and MU-MIMO can increase latency when data is held back to be combined into a single frame.
The main reason for disabling either of these options is incompatibility with older devices.
 

bdub76

Occasional Visitor
I think, the bigger question is: what settings to use as your gear slowly transitions to WIFI 6? I feel like what’s happening is that my older gear is moving to my 2.4 antenna post going to a WIFI 6 AP with default settings while they were more evenly split when I ran a WIFI 5 AP.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Yes, both OFDMA and MU-MIMO can increase latency when data is held back to be combined into a single frame.
The main reason for disabling either of these options is incompatibility with older devices.

On QC-Atheros based platforms, which is what I have on hand at the moment, MU and OFDMA haven't been an issue, even with older G/N client stations - by default, 11b is disabled, but the rest is actually fairly clean.

I've had a lot more trouble with WPA3 and WPA2/3 modes in testing - esp in mixed mode where WPA2 and WPA3 come into play - even with 11ax/WPA3 clients in handover from one AP to the next...
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top