WiFi 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… 

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:

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 Will Wi-Fi 6 Be?

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.

Theoretical Actual
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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Daniel Segun

Daniel Segun is a Content Writer, Graphics Designer, and Web Developer with a background in Computer Science. His work has appeared on several publications such as GraceThemes, Web Designer Depot, SecureBlitz, NewsLair, CryptoJefe, and more...