What is Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi (or ”Wireless Fidelity” for those that always wondered) will be going through some major changes in 2019. This new and improved version of Wi-Fi is publicly known as Wi-Fi 6, or in networking standards it is referred to as 802.11ax. Devices with Wi-Fi 6 will provide users with a dramatically different experience online. To understand exactly what this means to you as a consumer, you first need to understand a bit about the history of Wi-Fi.
A Brief History of Wi-Fi
Since the dawn of dial-up, internet connectivity has experienced a series of technological advances. In the mid-1990s, Wi-Fi was born and the first standard was established as 802.11. Since that time, Wi-Fi has gone through numerous iterations and the naming conventions such as 802.11a, b, e, g, n, ac, ad, ah, r, etc. These standards all relate to different speeds and frequencies which deliver different experiences. Wi-Fi 4 has been popular since around 2009. We are currently in the age of Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), though we expect great things from Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which is due out this year.
What are the Benefits of Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 promises to bring with it a whole host of benefits. As long as Wi-Fi 6 devices are connected to a Wi-Fi 6 supported Wi-Fi provider, you can expect to experience the following improvements:
- Higher upload speeds – users should experience 40% faster upload speeds. Wi-Fi 5’s speeds are at 3.5 Gbps, whereas Wi-Fi 6 boasts 9.6 Gbps.
- Higher download speeds – users should experience 40% faster upload speeds. Again, Wi-Fi 5’s speeds are at 3.5 Gbps, whereas Wi-Fi 6 boasts 9.6 Gbps.
- Better power efficiency – Wi-Fi 6 will see the emergence of TWT (target wake time), which can reduce the amount of energy your Wi-Fi radio uses.
- Better performance when multiple devices are connected to the same network – this new technology promises increased speeds of up to 4x in crowded areas.
How Will I Know What Version of Wi-Fi I am Connecting To?
As a consumer, you will most likely see three versions of Wi-Fi that being Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6. The Wi-Fi Alliance is hoping that users will soon be able to start seeing these numbers in software so that they can identify and connect to the faster networks. You will also need to be aware of the device you are using to see if it has the capability to connect at the higher speeds. The most common reference will be the 802.11 standard. Just watch out for the letter identifier, such as 802.11ax for Wi-Fi 6.
Purchasing a New Device
The only way to take advantage of this new technology is to purchase new devices, including laptops, phones, routers, etc. Obviously, your current phones and laptops will still work just fine, they just will not be compatible with Wi-Fi 6. If you are in the market for a new device in 2019, or when you are ready to purchase a new device, you will want to look for Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6 Certified logos on your devices.
No matter, if you only use Wi-Fi at home for simple browsing, are an online gamer, or rely heavily on Wi-Fi at your place of business, it is an exciting time for all Wi-Fi users. Wi-Fi 6 will dramatically improve user’s experience by making significant speed upgrades, removing congestion issues, and saving precious battery life. We are looking forward to purchasing (and supporting) this new iteration.