What is WiFi 6? The IEEE 802.11ax wireless standard: explained!

You are about to hit the sixth generation of WiFi 6 – the latest wireless standard IEEE – the fastest 802.11ax.

What is WiFi 6?

Key highlights:

  1. Wi-Fi 6 is used to improve speed, reduce congestion and increase efficiency.
  2. 1024-QAM packs more data than ever before (25% faster than the older 256-QAM).
  3. For example, the 4x longer OFDM symbol with more speed, wider coverage and more stability.

There is no doubt when I say that our home is full of bandwidth-intensive devices.

especially in 2020.

I’m right?

Let’s go, we need Wi-Fi 6 – the sixth generation of WiFi connectivity. However, the term Wi-Fi 6 is quite confusing and strange for some people. What if it is?

However, our real concern should be: is WiFi 6 faster than WiFi 5?

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 generation of Wi-Fi. It was also designed to do the same, e.g. B. to connect you to the Internet. However, it combines some advanced technologies to be more efficient, stable and faster.

So the next question is.

How fast is Wi-Fi 6?

Theoretically, it can deliver up to 9.6 Gbit / s, while the WiFi 5 reaches up to 3.5 Gbit / s.

Note: We cannot get these speeds in real time. They are only theoretically possible.

If we talk about the download speed in the US, you can reach up to 72 Mbit / s – that’s less than 1%. Lol

The good thing about Wi-Fi 6, however, is that it promises much faster speed than its siblings. In addition, it not only offers maximum speeds for a single device, but also for a number of connected devices across the 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’s similar to buying a new phone, laptop, or other device. However, a Wi-Fi 6 router also requires devices supported by Wi-Fi 6. So only buy if you have devices equipped with the new version of Wi-Fi, namely Wi-Fi 6.

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

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

OFDMA: Multiple access through orthogonal frequency division

OFDMA is the technology for data transmission. To ensure greater stability and wider coverage, data is divided into smaller subcarriers. In addition, Wi-Fi 6 uses the four times longer OFMDA symbol, creating 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’s a standard technology nowadays because most WiFi routers – even cheap WiFi routers – support it.

However, Wi-Fi 6 offers better and upgrades. The technology is designed so that multiple devices can be processed at the same time. There used to be single-user MIMO technology, which was used to send data to one device at a time.

AC standard WiFi routers therefore allow four devices at the same time, while the latest WiFi 6 enables routers to communicate with up to eight at the same time.

Related: Best Wi-Fi Routers for Multiple Devices 2020

Wi-Fi 6 improves battery life?

Since Wi-Fi 6 is the new technology, it reduces the transmission and search time of signals. Therefore, the antennas do not have to stay on all the time (a function called Target Wake Time is used). This means that less battery is used than in the predecessor and the battery life is improved.

Target wake-up function:

The function was introduced with Wi-Fi 6 compatible routers. This extends the device’s idle time and significantly improves customer battery life.

Does Wi-Fi 6 offer better security?

The security of a router depends primarily on its security protocols such as WEP, WPA, WPA2. However, Wi-Fi 6 uses the latest version 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 called WiFI 6. It was released in 2019.
  2. WiFi 6 claims maximum speeds of up to 10 Gbit / s.
  3. It supports up to 1024 QAM modulation schemes.
  4. It ensures a better range compared to Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 5:

  1. The wireless standard 802.11ac is called WiFI 5 and was introduced in 2014.
  2. It promises maximum speeds of up to 3.6 Gbit / s.
  3. It supports up to 256 QAM modulation schemes.
  4. Up to 80 meters range with three antennas.

Wi-Fi 4:

  1. The wireless standard 802.11ax is called WiFI 6. It was released in 2009.
  2. It reaches maximum speeds of up to 900 Mbit / s.
  3. Inside range up to 70 meters, outside range up to 250 meters depending on the router.

Related: Best Long-Range WiFi Router 2020

Do you really need to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?

The answer is not easy, but it depends.

If your devices support Wi-Fi 6, or if you want to buy a new game console, laptop, or phone that comes standard with Wi-Fi 6, go for it.

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