WiFi 6 Explainer: What Is It and What Makes It Better?

Now You Know

Everybody who owns a device that can connect to the internet probably knows what Wi-Fi is. In this day and age where the internet has become quite a necessity already, knowing how to connect to the Wi-Fi is something that everybody has to know. WiFi 6 debuted recently and it is bound to change how this whole system works.

WiFi 6 isn’t just faster – it is a lot more than that. More so, it would take a lot of technical jargon to explain how much better this is as compared to the previous versions. This article will go by each of those facets one by one.

 

What Is WiFi 6?

WiFi logo
Photo taken from Pixabay

First things first, what is WiFi 6? Everybody knows what Wi-Fi is, but not a lot of people are aware that it is in its sixth reincarnation already. In fact, there aren’t a lot of people who are aware that Wi-Fis have versions.

WiFi 6 is the next generation of wireless internet connectivity. It is known in the technical world as 802.11ax or AX WiFi. Wi-Fi as people know it is constantly upgraded to improve efficiency, scalability, and of course, speed. As the version increases, the quality and quantity of the connections improve as well.

More and more people are starting to use smartphones today. Consequently, the number of people using the services of Wi-Fi networks is on the rise as well. With that said, a newer and more robust version of Wi-Fi had to be built.

Thus, WiFi 6.

 

What Are the Previous Versions of Wi-Fi?

branding logo of Wifi 4 5 6
Photo taken from Wi-Fi Alliance

It wasn’t until 2018 when the Wi-Fi Alliance decided to name the versions of Wi-Fi. Just a little background, the Wi-Fi Alliance is a not-for-profit organization responsible for certifying Wi-Fi products. This organization was made to ensure that standards and quality are kept up to date despite the influx of Wi-Fi products entering the market.

Anyway, back in 2018, they decided to start naming the versions of Wi-Fi for branding purposes. Prior to this, Wi-Fi versions were named after their build code.

The first version of home Wi-Fi was released to the public back in 1999. This is 802.11b or now known as Wi-Fi 1. This enabled users to exchange data without the use of wired connections. Wi-Fi 2 or 802.11a followed later that year.

Wi-Fi 3 or 802.11g was the beginning of Wi-Fi as people know it. It allowed more people to connect to a single router and share a broadband connection simultaneously. Wi-Fi 4 or 802.11n was released in 2009, while the 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5 was released in 2014.

The fourth and fifth versions are still widely used today. If your W-Fi router was manufactured or bought before 2018, chances are it is running one of the reincarnations.

 

How Fast is the WiFi 6?

unlockedphone_wifi
Image from Wallpaper Flare

People are all under the notion that speed is everything when it comes to the internet. With that said, the question of how fast WiFi 6 is is something that has been asked and will continue to be asked as WiFi 6 routers dominate the market.

Answering this question is not as straightforward as you may think. Through the years, the versions and the speed capabilities of Wi-Fi have increased dramatically. However, the actual speed of the internet will still depend on the speed of the broadband connection that you have.

Theoretically, WiFi 6 can handle up to 10 Gbps. In the end, this eye-popping number is just a number if your broadband connection could not supply the value. This new figure opens up a lot of possibilities though.

The fastest internet speeds in the world have not reached 1 Gbps mainly because WiFi 5 is only capable of handling up to 4 Gbps. With the WiFi 6 now out, broadband capabilities may be pushed a little further to reach faster internet speeds.

Once the world adapts to WiFi 6, internet speeds are sure to increase as well. If you’re looking for ways to increase your internet speed, an upgrade to this new version might just be the best solution.

 

Benefits of Using WiFi 6

Apart from the larger speed capability, WiFi 6 has a lot more things to be proud of. It is also made to consume less battery for connected devices. Additionally, WiFi 6 was fortified more in order to keep up with the newer security threats to internet users.

 

Faster Connection

As established earlier, WiFi 6 has a higher potential in terms of speed as compared to its predecessors. The sixth version of the Wi-Fi series is capable of harnessing up to 10 Gbps while its direct predecessor, WiFi 5, can only handle up to 4 Gbps.

However, that’s not the only upgrade that makes WiFi 6 faster. This version was actually made to support larger groups of people such as crowds and mass gatherings. One of the problems of previous Wi-Fi versions is their support limit. They were not capable of hosting crowds so putting them in the middle of one depleted their speed drastically.

WiFi 6 can support the bandwidth of arenas and hotels without having to sacrifice speed. Developers have used the best WiFi analyzer programs to confirm this. That, in turn, makes WiFi 6 the fastest one so far. Well, not that it has any form of competition.

wifi 6 phone screen speedtest
Photo by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

 

Less Battery Consumption for Devices

Now, this is really handy. Everybody knows how draining it is for a smartphone to connect to the Wi-Fi. In fact, when your phone is running out of juice, the first things you would turn off are network connections.

The iPhone 11 was one of the first devices to receive the WiFi 6 nod. With that, this and other flagship smartphones released earlier this year get to taste the battery-saving effect of the latest Wi-Fi version.

This is made possible by a new feature known as the Target Wake Time or TWT. The TWT enables smartphones to turn off the Wi-Fi radio on point. This would allow the phones to accurately stop the data transfer and, consequently, prolong Wi-Fi sleep mode.

Basically, it lessens the garbage time of your phone’s connectivity by promptly stopping any connection once the phone is inactive. The lesser the time you are connected to the internet, the lesser the battery consumption.

 

Better Security

Hackers and cybercriminals have been on a tear lately. The rapid progress in technology, combined with the increasing number of internet users, has been nothing but beneficial to those with bad intentions. However, there is hope that the fortifications made for WiFi 6 would shackle these security threats.

WiFi 6 will be running in WPA3. WPA2 has been the standard of Wi-Fi security for the longest time already. As hacking and internet-related crimes continue to surge, it was quite obvious that the world needed a new sheriff.

WPA3 uses the latest security methods to authenticate and protect users. A lot of the security protocols have also been revamped in order to throw off existing hacking systems. As a result, password guessing won’t be as effective anymore and sensitive data could be handled better.

 

Where to Buy WiFi 6 Routers?

WiFi 6 was rolled out just around a year ago, but giant brands were quick to adopt the newest standard of wireless connectivity to their products. From smartphones to routers, there are already a number of WiFi 6 devices on Amazon.

Looking for the best WiFi 6 router won’t be an easy task due to the many options. However, here are some of the best ones you might want to consider:

 

Linksys Dual-Band Mesh WiFi 6 Router (MR9600)

Linksys MR9600 black wifi 6 router
Photo by Linksys on Amazon

Linksys is known as one of the authorities of wireless connectivity. It didn’t take long for them to satirize the market with WiFi 6 products and one of their best bets is the MR9600.

The MR9600 is fully compatible with the 802.11ax standard and the router itself can hold up to 6 Gbps in speed. It is compatible with Alexa, and it also supports both 4K and 8K streaming. It is a mesh router so Wi-Fi dead zones wouldn’t be a problem.

For those looking for a much-needed router upgrade, get the Linksys MR9600 on Amazon now.

 

TP-Link Archer AX50

Archer AX50 Black wifi 6 router
Photo by TP-Link on Amazon

If you know about routers, you know TP-Link. After WiFi 6 was officially released, TP-Link came out roaring with their Archer AX series. Routers in this line are Gigabit routers all ready to bring WiFi 6 to households.

The Archer AX50 is a 4-Stream Dual-Band router that can handle up to 3 Gbps of speed. The Intel core inside gives this an edge as compared to other routers in the same price bracket. It is smarter and it can do profiling, content filtering, reporting, and more under the Parental Control feature.

This router was made for families so don’t let you and your family miss out on this. Get the TP-Link Archer AX50 on Amazon.

 

NETGEAR RAX15

NETGEAR RAX15 black wifi 6 router
Photo by Netgear on Amazon

Tech giant NETGEAR was also one of the first brands to release a whole line of routers with WiFi 6. The RAX15 is an AX1800 WiFi 6 router. It has the capacity to host four streams simultaneously and more than 20 devices at the same time.

Apart from the 4-stream capability, one of the things the RAX15 is proud of is NETGEAR Armor. As established earlier, WiFi 6 has been fortified already with WPA3. With NETGEAR Armor, there is an extra layer of Bitdefender cyber protection.

If security is your priority, don’t hesitate to grab the NETGEAR RAX15 on Amazon now.

 

Things to Consider Before You Get WiFi 6

WiFi 6 is obviously the best choice on the market today. It has no other competitors, and it is far better than its previous versions. However, you might need to consider some of these factors before getting that upgrade.

 

Number of Users

One of the main reasons why WiFi 6 was created is scalability. With this new generation of Wi-Fi, a single router could support around four times the people already as compared to WiFi 5.

Knowing this, you have to ask yourself how many people are going to use your Wi-Fi simultaneously. Do you really need a Wi-Fi connection that can support 20 people all at the same time? Well, perhaps a network with the capacity of 10 people would be enough already.

 

Purpose for Internet Use

Two of the options mentioned above feature 4K or 8K streaming. On the other hand, the NETGEAR option adds an extra layer of security. All of the choices above are actually the best WiFi 6 routers in their own respect.

With this, you have to be sure about what you are going to use your internet for. If you are a casual user who is satisfied with routers sporting lower versions of Wi-Fi, then so be it. Now, if you are a professional who needs to deal with important data for work, you might want that NETGEAR Armor option.  Are you someone who is constantly moving around the area? Perhaps a WiFi 6 mesh would be a better idea.

 

Security Needs

Now, this is quite tricky. Security is something that you wouldn’t want to sacrifice. It would be hard to resist WiFi 6 with its WPA3 capability especially if you are the type of person to deal with sensitive information. Yet again, even a simple password on Facebook or Google is important enough to secure.

WiFi 6 has the toughest security out there today and just remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Budget

Last but certainly not the least is the budget. As you can see from the options above, a hundred dollars or four times that price. Do not fret because your budget will spring from a lot of factors – factors that were discussed earlier.

If you are going to need a WiFi 6 router that could cater to more than people, prepare around $200. However, if you’re just a family of five, the $100 options are more than enough already.

 

How to Check Your Device’s WiFi Version?

Phones and Tablets

If your purpose is to check whether your phone can connect to WiFi 6, that’s pretty easy. The number of phones compatible with WiFI 6 can still fit a rather short list. There really aren’t a lot of WiFi 6 devices in the mainstream market. Rest assured, the latest and best Samsung phones have it already.

To name a few, the Samsung Galaxy S10 series, and Note 10 series, are all compatible. Everything from the iPhone 11 onward has it too. That should give you an idea of what type of phones you are looking for.

One way to check is to find out your phone’s release date. Your phone would surely still be running on WiFi 5 if it was released before 2019. However, just to be perfectly sure about it, you can just check out the official specifications of your phone from the brand’s website.

Simply look for the Wi-Fi capabilities of your cellphone and if you see 802.11ax, then that phone can connect to WiFi 6.

 

Windows 10

Windows PCs can become WiFi 6 devices too. To find out, you can start off by going to the Settings of your computer. From there, head on to Network and Internet. Click on the Wi-Fi tab and you should see a line saying Advanced options.

You will see your device’s Wi-Fi properties. Now, all you have to do is to check out the description of your device to check the 802.11 are running. If your laptop says 802.11ax, you are running WiFi 6. If the description says 802.11ac, that’s WiFi 5. Meanwhile, 802.11n is Wi-Fi 4.

 

Final Thoughts

Wi-Fi is one of the things that people could not simply live without anymore. A lot of services now rely on the internet to connect to people, which is why an upgrade had to be made. The result was the faster, wider, and safer WiFi 6.

The best WiFi 6 routers are starting to announce their presence in the market. Consequently, WiFi 6 devices also began to roll out earlier this year. There were a lot of considerable improvements with this version and it is certainly something that you would not want to miss.

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