Wi-Fi 6, also known as, the next generation of the Wi-Fi standard 802.11ax, builds on the strengths of 802.11ac. The upcoming Wi-Fi 6 is the latest step in a journey of nonstop innovation, which improves efficiency, agility, and scalability that allows new and existing networks increased speed and capacity with next-generation applications.
It’s no doubt that our Wi-Fi networks are about to get faster. Given that our present-day Wi-Fi is fast enough, why do we need a faster Wi-Fi standard? The thing is, technology nowadays is growing at rapid speeds, and as our dependency increases on IoT and other devices, we need fast internet to keep up with the ever-increasing bandwidth-demanding apps, games, and more.
While former and current Wi-Fi standards were developed keeping speed boosts in mind, Wi-Fi 6 is less of a one-time speed increase and more of a future-facing upgrade designed to ensure our speed needs aren’t clogged just a few years down the road.
Wi-Fi 6 is just starting to arrive this year, and there’s a good chance it’ll be inside your next phone or laptop. Here’s what you should expect once it arrives.
How fast is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is high-speed. I mean it’s so fast than its practical usage might never be needed. Wi-Fi 6 is capable of delivering 9.6 Gbps. That’s up from 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5. Truth be told, both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 boast speeds that are maximums which won’t be needed in real-world Wi-Fi use.
Even if such speeds are used, they’ll greatly benefit the masses as these great speeds can be split up across a whole network of devices, giving more potential speed for each device connected to the network.
What are the benefits of Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 allows businesses, service providers, and individuals to adopt a new and emerging wireless LAN (WLAN) infrastructure, which will prove to be beneficial for all stakeholders.
Wi-Fi 6 is beneficial in crowded areas, such as airports, stadiums, high-rise hotels and multi-family housing, entertainment venues, and other dense connection environments.
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It allows several users and devices to stay connected simultaneously and carry on with internet activities like stream ultra-high-definition videos, movies and use bandwidth-intensive, mission-critical business applications.
Not only is Wi-Fi 6 offering more than your current Wi-Fi, but it also presents you with pristine features that come packed with added benefits. As opposed to previous Wi-Fi standards, here are some of the significant benefits of Wi-Fi 6:
- Lower battery consumption in Wi-Fi 6 devices supported by Wi-Fi 6 networks
- Higher data rates with peak Gigabit speeds
- Increased capacity with reduced latency to support higher numbers of users and devices, thanks to improved medium access control (MAC) control signaling
- High-performance levels in the densest environments
- Strong outdoor coverage
- Increased efficiency and lower latency with an orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) uplink and downlink digital modulation scheme
Types of Wi-Fi Standards
Here are the versions of Wi-Fi:
|Frequency||5 GHz||2.4 GHz||2.4 GHz||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz||2.4 GHz & 5 GHz|
|Max Data Rate||54 Mbps||11 Mbps||54 Mbps||600 Mbps||1.3 Gbps||9-12 Gbps|
Is Wi-Fi 6 different from 802.11ax?
Wi-Fi 6, also referred to as 802.11ax, are both the same technology. The Wi-Fi Alliance started a campaign to coin the term “Wi-Fi 6” when referring to the IEEE 802.11ax standard. It indicates that it is the sixth generation of Wi-Fi.
When Will Wi-Fi 6 be Confirmed?
The IEEE-Standards Association is currently scheduled to approve the final IEEE Wi-Fi 6 amendment in the middle of 2020. However, the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to certify key features from the amendment in about August 2019, with additional features (including operation in the 6GHz band) certified over the next couple of years.
How Do I Get Wi-Fi 6?
Simply put, you’ll need to purchase new devices which come pre-equipped with Wi-Fi 6. New Wi-Fi technology isn’t something that can be downloaded off the internet or updated like software.
New Wi-Fi standards rely on the development of newly-developed hardware, not just software updates, so you’ll need to buy new phones, laptops, and so on to get the new version of Wi-Fi.
This doesn’t mean that you go around selling your current devices to get new devices that support Wi-Fi 6 as it isn’t a game-changer of an update for any device. Your existing devices are good enough. At the same time, you will need one new device – a Wi-Fi 6 router.
A Wi-Fi 6 Router
In the coming months, you’ll see new devices coming out with Wi-Fi 6 built-in the device. When you gradually upgrade your phone, laptop, and game consoles over the coming years, essentially, you’ll be bringing home new devices that support Wi-Fi 6.
Buying devices that support Wi-Fi 6 is one thing, the primary device that’ll provide Wi-Fi 6 capability is the router. If your current router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see any benefits, no matter how many Wi-Fi 6 devices you bring home.
However, if you get a Wi-Fi 6 router and connect Wi-Fi 5 gadgets, you might see improvements in speed as the router will be capable of communicating with more devices at once. This doesn’t mean you instantly move over to the new technology instantly. Let it roll out and see how things progress.
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Wi-Fi 6 May Improve Battery Life
You must have observed that new technology comes with improved performance and battery life. The same case applies with Wi-Fi 6 where swift connectivity ensures efficient transmission of a communication, reducing the time antennas are powered on and searching for signals.
The way this works is with the help of a feature called Target Wake Time, which lets routers schedule check-in times with devices. While this may sound like a big deal at first, it isn’t going to greatly benefit you as devices such as laptops need continuous internet access, except the time when they’re in sleep mode).
Instead of larger smart-devices, Target Wake Time is suited for smaller devices that mostly require low-power internet connectivity only to update their status every now and then. These devices, such as small sensors on your door, windows, and other places in your home, don’t consistently communicate on the internet.
WI-FI 6 Also Brings Improved Security
In 2018, Wi-Fi started to see it’s most significant security update in a decade, with a new security protocol called WPA3. WPA3 makes it harder for hackers to crack passwords by constantly guessing them, and it makes some data less useful even if hackers manage to obtain it.
The good thing is that present-day devices and routers support WPA3, but it’s optional. For a Wi-Fi 6 device to receive certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, WPA3 is required, so most Wi-Fi 6 devices are likely to include the stronger security once the certification program launches.