Wi-Fi 6 Explained: Why You’ll 100% Want It Inside Your Next Phone…
In this post, we will show you all you need to know about the latest version of WiFi – WiFi 6! We’ll explain what it is, why it’s important, and why you’ll want to make sure your next phone/tablet/laptop has it…
TL;DR: WiFi 6 Key Takeaways
- What is Wi-Fi 6?: Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax or AX Wi-Fi, is the latest update in Wi-Fi technology. It’s designed to improve connectivity speed and reduce network congestion. It builds upon advances from previous Wi-Fi generations and is a significant leap over its predecessor.
- How Wi-Fi 6 Works: Wi-Fi 6 operates based on MU-MIMO, OFDMA, and Target Wake-up technologies. MU-MIMO allows more antennas in a router for improved wireless connections. OFDMA enables Wi-Fi 6 routers to serve multiple devices at once, reducing traffic congestion. Target Wake-up technology schedules when devices can request data, preventing interference and saving power.
- Wi-Fi 6 Speed: Wi-Fi 6 is approximately 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5, with a theoretical network connectivity speed of 9.6 Gbps. This speed is shared among all devices on a Wi-Fi network, providing faster connectivity for each device, especially in dense network traffic.
- Getting Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6 is backward-compatible with previous Wi-Fi versions, so there’s no need for a complete overhaul of your devices. New devices will come enabled with Wi-Fi 6 technology, so you’ll gradually adopt Wi-Fi 6 as you replace old or damaged devices.
- Benefits of Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6 offers improved battery performance due to the Target Wake-up Time technology, which schedules communication with the router, allowing devices to conserve power. It also provides improved security with the WPA3 technology, making password guessing by hackers more difficult.
- Impact of Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi 6 is a game-changer that will improve connectivity speeds in crowded places like stadiums, parks, and apartment buildings. It’s a technology of the future, built to support more devices with faster connectivity.
The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 ushers in a new era of Wi-Fi codes. With the new Wi-Fi codes from Wi-Fi Alliance, it will be easy for the layman to understand Wi-Fi updates when labeled 6, 7, 8, etc. compared with 802.11ax.
With the introduction of a new naming convention, Wi-Fi 802.11ax (the most recent upgrade in Wi-Fi technology) becomes Wi-Fi 6; Wi-Fi 802.11ac will be Wi-Fi 5, while 802.11g will be Wi-Fi 4.
What Is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), also known as AX Wi-Fi, is the most recent update in Wi-Fi technology designed to improve connectivity speed and also reduce network congestion, which slows down connectivity speed considerably.
“Wi-Fi 6 continues Wi-Fi’s long tradition of taking remarkably complex radio and semiconductor technologies and putting these to work in low-cost, compact, power-efficient, and reliable components suitable for a broad range of devices and applications,” notes a Cisco whitepaper.
“Wi-Fi 6 builds upon advances initially pioneered in 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4), and in this case MIMO and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), and the additional spatial streams, multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), and beamforming from 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). Wi-Fi 6 is practically a quantum leap over its predecessor.”
Phones With WiFi 6:
- Apple’s iPhone (From iPhone 11 Onwards)
- Google Pixel Phones (From Pixel 5 Onwards)
- Samsung Galaxy Phones (From S10 Era Onwards)
- OnePlus Phones
- Basically, most modern smartphones now run WiFi 6 as standard.
How Does WI-Fi 6 Work?
Basically, Wi-Fi 6 works based on the MU-MIMO, OFDMA, and Target Wake-up Technologies.
MU-MIMO (Multi-user, Multi-input, and Multi-output) is a technology set to revolutionize devices connectivity with Wi-Fi routers. This means more antennas in a router for improved wireless connections.
The OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-division Multiple Access) features will allow Wi-Fi routers using Wi-Fi 6 to serve multiple devices at a time. This means that traffic congestion from various devices will now be a thing of the past with the new Wi-Fi 6, as it will feature several access points to serve more connected devices at the same time using a single channel.
Conversely, the Target Wake-up technology will enable Wi-Fi 6 to schedule when connected devices can request for data to avoid interference, which can slow up a network considerably. This technology helps devices to save up on power by entering sleep mode when not sending data to the router. Hence, Wi-Fi routers with Wi-Fi 6 will act more like a data traffic controller by preventing collision of signals from several devices sending data signals all at once by using the Target Wake-up Technology to schedule communication with the connected devices.
How Fast is Wi-Fi 6?
After conducting several speed tests, Wi-Fi 6 proved to be 30 percent faster than Wi-Fi 5. Theoretically speaking, Wi-Fi 6 will have a network connectivity speed of 9.6 Gbps, which is 1000 times faster than the US’s average download speed of 100 Mbps.
The theoretical speed of 10Gbps does not go to a single device; instead, it is shared amongst the devices on a Wi-Fi network, thereby giving the connected devices a faster connectivity speed. And as you can see from the table below, each new generation of WiFi brings with it speed enhancements.
|802.11b||11 Mbps||5.5 Mbps|
|802.11a||54 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|802.11g||54 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|802.11n||600 Mbps||100 Mbps|
|802.11ac||1,300 Mbps||200 Mbps|
Using Wi-Fi 6 for a device or two will not show a significant increase in speed; instead, the differences in connectivity speed will be felt only when there are more devices connected to the Wi-Fi router. This is because Wi-Fi 6 incorporates technologies that enable it to send data to multiple devices on the same channel. Not to mention, it can also schedule communications for each device.
With Wi-Fi 6, devices can maintain their speed on dense network traffic when compared to Wi-Fi 5, which gets slowed down with heavy network traffic.
However, Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices will not show any significant increase in speed if connected to Wi-Fi 5 router. Therefore, you can get the best of Wi-Fi 6 by upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router.
How Do I Get WiFi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is not a significant update that overhauls past technologies because it is backward-compatible with previous Wi-Fi versions. So, you don’t need to overhaul your devices in one single swoop.
All newly rolled out devices will come enabled with the new Wi-Fi 6 technology. Therefore, as you replace your old, damaged, or stolen devices, with newly rolled out devices, you’re sure of getting Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices.
What Are the Benefits of WiFi 6?
- Improved battery performance: Wi-Fi 6 incorporates the Target Wake-up Time technology, which will enable devices to conserve power by scheduling communication with the Wi-Fi 6 router. This, in turn, will lead to the improvement of battery performance in your devices.
- Improved security: Wi-Fi 6 comes with WPA3 technology, which is a new security protocol that makes password guessing by hackers difficult.
As you can see, Wi-Fi 6 is a game-changer that will improve the connectivity speeds in crowded places like stadiums, parks, apartment buildings, etc.
Hence, Wi-Fi 6 is a technology of the future built to support more devices with a faster connectivity speed, although it is not sustainable on older Wi-Fi versions.