What is WiFi 6? Everything you need to know


Wi-Fi 6 technology has been available for some time, but it's only been submitted for official certification recently. Wi-Fi 6 is already a reality.

If you spend a lot of time connecting to the Internet this is really great news, because this new generation of Wi-Fi promises to be faster, more consistent and better than the wireless technology we use today.

Although the origins of Wi-fi go back to the 1980s it has had a lot of improvements, but most have been small updates. However Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax, is much more than that.

Like its most important predecessors (802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac), 802.11ax represents a generational turning point for technology: a milestone that device manufacturers will support in the coming years in new smartphones, tablets, computers, routers, and home automation devices…

The names of these various 802.11 standards have always been uncommon, last year the Wi-Fi Alliance, the commercial organization that oversees and certifies Wi-Fi technology, announced a new naming structure.

From now on, the previous standard, 802.11n, would be known as Wi-Fi 4; the current standard, 802.11ac, would be called Wi-Fi 5; and the next-generation standard, 802.11ax, which has just become official, is Wi-Fi 6.

What is so special about Wi-Fi 6?

It will be up to four times faster than today’s Wi-Fi: As usual, when switching to Wi-Fi 6 from Wi-Fi 5, we will see a significant increase in data speeds, with a theoretical download speed of up to 9.6 Gbps (gigabits per second) compared to the 6.9 Gbps of Wi-Fi 5. Of course, those are the theoretical maxims you would never see in real-world use, but nevertheless, the speed improvements of 802.11ax should be quite remarkable.

More Devices: Provide capacity for more devices, with technologies including Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) for multiple users, which will provide a wireless connection up to four times more devices on a single network.

Customizing the network: new connections will allow users to customize the use of networks to detect the most efficient connection, for example.

When will it be available?

Since Wi-Fi 6 certification is now officially available to product manufacturers, it is clear that the wait will not be long.

Devices like Apple’s Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and iPhone 11 are compatible with Wi-Fi 6, as is the upcoming Google Pixel 4, along with new laptops, tablets and other devices that will be released in the near future.

However, to enjoy any of the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, we will also need a Wi-Fi router that supports 802.11ax, which will soon become the standard technology in all models except the economical ones (though over time, those too).

Therefore, this means that it will be months or years before the benefits of this new technology are widely available and can be enjoyed by most of us. However, when we do, the Internet will be noticeably faster (depending on the limits of our home’s Internet connection, of course), and it will be easier to run more devices in a safer manner.

Is this it? Well, with Wi-Fi output 6, it also means that Wi-Fi 7 is on its way and is expected to be available by 2024 approximately. By then, many more technological surprises await us.

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