WiFi 6: What Is WiFi 6 And How It Works?

Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax): What Is WiFi 6 And How It Works?

You’re about to meet —the fastest— the sixth Generation of WiFi 6. The Latest Wireless Standard IEEE 802.11ax.

what is wifi 6?

Key Highlights:

  1. Wi-Fi 6 is for improving speed, reducing congestion, and increasing efficiency. 
  2. It packs more data than ever with 1024-QAM (consider it 25% faster than the older 256-QAM)
  3. Comparatively, the 4x Longer OFDM symbol with more speed, broader coverage, and more stability. 

There is no doubt when I say our home is full of bandwidth-hungry devices, 

especially in 2020. 

Am I right? 

Here you go, we need Wi-Fi 6 – the sixth generation of WiFI connectivity. However, the term Wi-Fi 6 is quite confusing and weird for some people. So what if it is. 

Anyway, our real concern should be – is WiFI 6 any faster than WiFi 5?  

So before I let you know which is faster, let’s understand some basics. 

What is Wi-Fi 6?

As you already know, Wi-Fi 6 is the next-gen of Wi-Fi. It also designed to handle the same thing, such as connects you to the internet. However, it combines some advanced technologies in order to be more efficient, more stable, and faster. 

So, the next question is. 

How Fast is Wi-Fi 6?

Theoretically, it is capable of delivering up to 9.6Gbps while the WiFi 5 reaches up to 3.5Gbps.

Note: We can’t get these speeds in real-word. They are possible only theoretically. 

If we talk about its download speed in the US, you can reach up to 72Mbps — which is less than 1%. Lol

However, the good thing about the Wi-Fi 6 is it promises a much higher speed than its sibling. Plus, it not only provides top speeds for a single device but also for a bunch of connected devices in the entire network. 

How Do I Get Wi-Fi 6? 

It is clear that Wi-Fi 6 is not a software update; instead, it is new hardware. It is similar to buy a new phone, laptop, or any other gadget. However, a Wi-Fi 6 router requires Wi-Fi 6 supported devices as well. So buy only when you have devices that come with the new version of Wi-Fi, which is Wi-Fi 6.  

What Makes Wi-Fi 6 faster? Does it really promise more speed and more stability? 

There are two technologies responsible for its faster connections: OFDMA and MU-MIMO

OFDMA: Orthogonal frequency division multiple access

OFDMA is the technology designed to transmit data. In order to provide greater stability and wider coverage, it divides data into smaller subcarriers. Moreover, Wi-Fi 6 uses four times longer OFMDA symbol and thus creates four times more subcarriers. 

Let’s compare 802.11ac (WiFi 5) and 802.11ax (WiFi 6):

802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5)

  • Number of Subcarriers: 234
  • Duration: 3.2 symbol + 0.4 GI (3.6)
  • Subcarriers Rate: 65

802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)

  • Number of Subcarriers: 980
  • Duration: 12.8 symbol + 0.8 GI (13.6)
  • Subcarriers Rate: 65 72.05882

MU-MIMO: Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output

It is a standard technology theses days as most Wi-Fi routers — even cheap wireless routers — support it. 

However, Wi-Fi 6 offers better and upgrades it. The technology is designed to handle multiple devices at the same time. Earlier, there was Single User-MIMO technology, which used to broadcast to one device at a time. 

So ac standard WiFI routers allow four devices at a time while the lastest Wi-Fi 6 will enable routers to communicate with up to eight at the same time.  

Related: Best Multiple Devices Wi-Fi Routers 2020

Wi-Fi 6 improves battery life?

Since Wi-Fi 6 is the new technology, it reduces signals’ transmission and searching time. Therefore, it doesn’t need to keep its antennas powered on all the time (it uses a feature called Target Wake Time). As a result, it drains less battery than its predecessor and improves battery life.

Target Wake Time Feature:

The feature was introduced with Wi-Fi 6 compatible routers. It increases the sleep time of the device and improves the clients’ battery life substantially. 

Does Wi-Fi 6 offer better Security?

The security of a router primarily depends on its security protocols, such as WEP, WPA, WPA2. However, Wi-Fi 6 uses the lastest one called WPA3, which is harder to crack. Most modern devices support this WPA3 protocol.  

Comparison: WiFi 6 (802.11ax) Vs. WiFi 5 (802.11ac) Vs. WiFi 4 (802.11n)

Wi-Fi 6:

  1. The Wireless standard 802.11ax is referred to as WiFI 6. It released in 2019.
  2. WiFi 6 claims maximum speeds of up to 10Gbps. 
  3. It supports up to 1024 QAM Modulation scheme. 
  4. It ensures a better range compared to Wi-Fi 5. 

Wi-Fi 5:

  1. The Wireless standard 802.11ac is referred to as WiFI 5 and introduced in 2014.
  2. It promises maximum speeds of up to 3.6Gbps. 
  3. It supports up to 256 QAM Modulation scheme. 
  4. Up to 80 meters of range with three antennas. 

Wi-Fi 4:

  1. The Wireless standard 802.11ax is referred to as WiFI 6. It released in 2009.
  2. It reaches maximum speeds of up to 900Mbps. 
  3. Indoor range of up to 70 Meters while the outdoor range is up to 250 meters, depending on the router. 

Related: Best long-range Wi-Fi Routers 2020

Does it really require you to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6? 

The answer is not easy, but it depends. 

If your devices are Wi-Fi 6 supported, or you’re going to buy a new gaming console, laptop, or phone, that are coming with Wi-Fi 6 by default, then go for it.

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