Wi-Fi 6 is the latest standard available for wireless connections in the home and office and is a giant leap forward from the old Wi-Fi 4 and 5.
When it comes to an Internet connection, many now take it for granted that we are talking about a wireless connection. This is due to the success of the Wi-Fi standard, which has now entered every home with a connection and has changed how people access the Internet.
If before a fixed location and a network cable were needed to connect the device to the router, now the antennas do everything, and we can freely roam at home with our smartphone, tablet, or laptop connected to the Internet. But not only that: thanks to Wi-Fi, we can also connect dozens of smart devices scattered throughout the house and, the icing on the cake, also the smart TV that, thanks to Wi-Fi, allows us to access streaming platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video or Disney +. In short, without Wi-Four, daily life inside the walls would be very different, and everyone knows this now. However, many do not know that there are several Wi-Fi: the standard has evolved a lot in recent years, and the latest stable version of this technology is called Wi-Fi 6.
Wi-Fi 6: what changes
In many homes, there is still a Wi-Fi 4 router (802.11n standard). These routers can use frequencies of 2.4 or 5 GHz and have a maximum speed of 300 Mbit per second. If, on the other hand, the router is Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac standard), the maximum speed is over ten times higher: 3.5 Gbit per second. Finally, by purchasing a Wi-Fi 6 router (802.11ax standard), the theoretical maximum speed rises to a good 9.6 Gbit per second (but at the moment, there are no products capable of reaching this theoretical peak).
At this point, many readers will think: ” I don’t need a Wi-Fi 6 router because I already have a Wi-Fi 5 router, and I have no speed problems “. But, unfortunately, it is not 100% correct because the increased speed is not the only advantage of the new technology.
Wi-Fi 6, compared to previous versions, is also much more efficient in managing connected devices. This is because it can spread the frequencies used in multiple sub-channels, which allows it to communicate with various devices using different sub-channels. This technology is called OFDMA ( Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access ).
When multiple devices use the same frequencies, the used channel saturates quickly, and the speed drops (even if all the other channels are free). Wi-Fi 6 routers manage this thanks to multiple antennas, allowing more excellent signal directionality.
This means, in practice, that if we have a device very far from the router but which requires a lot of data band (for example, a smart TV that is playing streaming content), the router can ” concentrate ” the signal on the antenna pointing towards that device.
Furthermore, Wi-Fi 6 technology allows for reduced interference by separating the router’s signal from that of any other nearby routers (typical scenario: the condominium with many connected houses). Finally, thanks to the technology called ” Target wake time ” ( TWT ), the Wi-Fi 6 router can switch off more often when it doesn’t need to remain on, and this, logically, lowers consumption.
So, in summary, the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 over previous protocols are:
Higher peak speed
A more significant number of connectable devices
Better signal coverage
Lower electricity consumption
Wi-Fi 6 router: how to choose it
Wi-Fi 6 is a very recent standard; the first certified routers were around a year and a half ago. However, today most of the top-of-the-range smartphones are compatible with this version (iPhone 11 and Samsung S10 were among the first), as well as the best smart TVs have been consistent for about a year (for example, the Samsung QLED 8K presented at the beginning of 2020). Therefore, this technology will be adopted by mid-range and low-end devices in a couple of years.
Who today have at least one Wi-Fi 6 compatible device at home and an excellent Internet connection (from FTTC fiber upwards, here we explain how to choose it), therefore, would do well to replace their old router with a Wi-Fi 6 one: the difference is there, and it shows, both with compatible devices and with old ones (which, thanks to Wi-Fi 6, have more free bandwidth).
You can read wireless facts here