A fast Internet connection is one of the things we all have high on the list of commodities. After all, who wants to wait for their favorite Netflix series to buffer for ages? The Internet has clearly been a revolutionary technology that proved to be a complete game-changer in all spheres of our lives. While we might think of it as a steady technology, things are changing in order for us to get even more powerful connection regardless of where we are.
The latest thing from the world of the Internet technology is Wi-Fi 6. It might not mean anything to you, but simply put it is the new generation of Internet devices which will enable a faster connection regardless of how many users the network has or where in the house you are located.
What Does Wi-Fi 6 Mean?
People who are tech-savvy might be familiar with 802.11ac. The combination of numbers and letters stands for Wi-Fi standards generation. It obviously isn’t the most descriptive name nor it can be clear which Wi-Fi generation it refers to unless you are an expert.
That’s why it was time for rebranding!
The Wi-Fi Alliance has been involved in rebranding the Wi-Fi standards generations. The Wi-Fi standard that most of us are using at the moment is 802.11ac – the fifth generation. This year, we will be introduced to a sixth generation – 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6.
The previous two generations have been officially renamed as well. As for the first three generations, they have not been rebranded since they are not used anymore, but unofficially they have taken on the new naming structure as well:
- Wi-Fi 1 – 802.11b, released in 1999
- Wi-Fi 2 – 802.11a, released in 1999
- Wi-Fi 3 – 802.11g, released in 2003
- Wi-Fi 4 is 802.11n, released in 2009
- Wi-Fi 5 is 802.11ac, released in 2014
- Wi-Fi 6 is 802.11ax which will be released in 2019
What Does Wi-Fi 6 Mean?
When you hear that something new is coming out in relation to the Internet, it is clear that its goal is to provide a faster and more stable connection. In simple terms, Wi-Fi 6 will be able to boost the signal for up to 40% compared to Wi-Fi 5. The maximum speed that Wi-Fi 6 will be able to deliver depending on the bandwidth is 9.6Gbps which is 3.5Gbps more than Wi-Fi 5.
There are two main technologies behind Wi-Fi 6: MU-MIMO and OFDMA.
MU-MIMO stands for “multi-user, multiple input, multiple output”, meaning that the router can communicate with several devices at once instead of one after the other. This technology is already in use with Wi-Fi 5, yet it will be more powerful with Wi-Fi 6.
OFDMA stands for “orthogonal frequency division multiple access”. This technology allows for one transmission to deliver data to more devices at once, accounting for a faster connection.
However, speed is not the only thing it is going to change. One of the main problems we have today isn’t the actual Internet speed, but the number of devices connected to one single network. When too many devices are connected, the router stops flawlessly communicating with each of them individually, slowing things down as a consequence. Wi-Fi 6 will have the capability to successfully communicate with a greater number of devices, giving you a smoother Internet surfing experience.
In other words, if you are using one device on one connection, you will not notice a massive difference between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. But if you have 10 devices connected to the same network, the signal will be distributed evenly, giving you a fast connection on all devices.
Should You Get a Wi-Fi 6 Router?
You might expect the answer to be yes, but actually, it is no. Wi-Fi 6 doesn’t only rely on the router, but also on the devices which are connected to it. Your laptop, phone and tablet are all enabled for a different Wi-Fi standard depending on when they were produced. Clearly, most of your devices will be enabled for Wi-Fi 5 and a few for Wi-Fi 4, meaning that a Wi-Fi 6 router will not automatically give you a better connection.
The change towards a more stable and faster Internet will happen gradually. As new devices will come on the market, they will have a built-in Wi-Fi 6 technology which will allow for the new generation of Wi-Fi to take over slowly without causing disruptions.
Wi-Fi 6 may sound like something miraculous but actually, it is just an upgraded technology that will make our connection more stable in the long run. The new Wi-Fi generation will maximize the potential of the Internet speed we are paying for, yet it will not be an overnight process.
Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org
She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.