Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of wireless technology, is here. If wireless connectivity trends are anything to go by, we will likely see more of this Wi-Fi standard being used worldwide than any of the previous generations.
So, how does it impact us, and what does it mean to have Wi-Fi 6?
Let’s discuss this latest wireless connectivity standard and all the things you need to know about it. It will help you better understand its benefits and whether or not you need to upgrade your current Wi-Fi to meet this new standard.
Wi-Fi 6: What You Need to Know
To put it in the simplest of ways, Wi-Fi 6 is better, faster, and more efficient than Wi-Fi 5, but you probably already expected that, given that these standards are upgraded once in around 5 years. Let’s start by first discussing the version numbers.
Up until Wi-Fi 4 was introduced, most tech-savvy individuals understood Wi-Fi versions by their codes.
- 802.11b was the first version introduced in 1999; we can call it Wi-Fi 1
- 802.11a came alongside it; we can call this Wi-Fi 2
- 802.11g was introduced in 2003; we can call this Wi-Fi 3
- 802.11n was introduced in 2009; it was officially called Wi-Fi 4 and is still used today
- 802.11ac was introduced in 2014; it is perhaps the most common one today, called Wi-Fi 5
- 802.11ax was introduced in 2019, and it is the latest version we know as Wi-Fi 6.
While Wi-Fi 6 was introduced in 2019, communication equipment manufacturers mostly released it’s capable hardware and devices throughout 2020.
Faster Wireless Connectivity
Naturally, Wi-Fi 6 is faster than any of the previous generations. To give you an idea of just how fast, if you are currently using Wi-Fi 5, an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 can potentially increase your wireless connectivity speeds by 40 percent.
The increased connectivity speeds are made possible due to the more efficient data coding of Wi-Fi 6, which subsequently results in higher throughput. In simple words, it can pack more data into the same radio frequencies as Wi-Fi 5.
All Wi-Fi routers and access points (APs) use chips to process the data by encoding and decoding the radio signals, and Wi-Fi 6 chips can process more data much faster.
The best part is that the Wi-Fi 6 standard also increases your data transmission speeds on the old 2.4GHz band. This is the most common band for wireless connectivity, and although it is slower and more prone to interference than the 5GHz band, it is still better at penetrating objects like walls and floors.
Long-Lasting Battery Life
The latest Wi-Fi standard also brings battery benefits to your devices. It introduces a new “target wake time” (TWT) feature that allows Wi-Fi-enabled devices like laptops and smartphones to last longer on battery.
This is made possible thanks to the efficient communication between your devices and the Wi-Fi 6 AP. The AP can tell your devices when to wake up their Wi-Fi components for transmissions and when to put them to sleep, preserving your devices’ battery life.
This also has benefits for low-energy IoT devices like smart home devices connected through your wireless network.
Better Connectivity and More Devices Per AP with Wi-Fi 6
If you live in a home with many Wi-Fi-enabled devices and a single router or AP, you know that there is a limit to how many devices your Wi-Fi can connect simultaneously before speeds start to suffer. With Wi-Fi 6, however, you can connect more devices than ever before, all with greater speeds.
It also solves the same common issue with crowded public Wi-Fi. People in places like airports, hotels, stadiums, offices, and malls can connect more devices with faster Internet through Wi-Fi 6. There are plenty of modern technologies in Wi-Fi 6 that make this possible.
Simply put, Wi-Fi 6 can divide wireless channels into multiple sub-channels that carry data for individual devices. This allows it to communicate with multiple devices individually.
Wi-Fi 6 pulls this off with OFDMA, which stands for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access.
While real-world performance is still unclear, Intel boasts that Wi-Fi 6 will improve users’ average data transmission speeds by 40 percent in congested areas of multiple devices.
These speeds will allow you to have excellent Internet connectivity in crowded or congested areas, and your home will experience the same benefits if you have a lot of connected devices.
Wi-Fi 6 also offers better Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) using multiple antennas on the AP, allowing it to talk to more devices at once. Wi-Fi 5 can do the same. However, the devices cannot respond at the same time.
Wi-Fi 6 allows the devices to respond simultaneously because it uses multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology, or MU-MIMO. Moreover, it uses “spatial frequency re-use,” allowing gapless transmissions of multiple devices on the same radio frequencies.
There are more benefits of using Wi-Fi 6, like beamforming, better security through likely WPA3 support (not required), and there’s even a Wi-Fi 6E on the way. The Wi-Fi 6E is simply Wi-Fi 6 with an added 6GHz band support, providing another channel from the conventional 2.5GHz and 5GHz used today. However, Wi-Fi 6E hardware will likely not roll out anytime soon.
If you were wondering what Wi-Fi 6 is all about and whether you should upgrade your Wi-Fi or not, we think you should, especially if you are still using Wi-Fi 4. However, if your home or business is happy with the speeds and connectivity provided by Wi-Fi 5, there is no need to upgrade just yet.
While Wi-Fi 6 performs better than the previous generation, upgrading should be need-based and not just because a better option has been made available recently.
Consulting professionals for such matters is always the best idea, which is why we highly recommend Communications Solution Inc. in Jacksonville for the best network solutions and wireless connectivity installations of your business in Florida.
If you want to learn more about Wi-Fi or the excellent services of Communications Solutions Inc., Contact Us Today.