What is Wi-Fi 6?Posted Oct. 20, 2020, 3:04 a.m. by Emil S.
The Wi-Fi that you regularly use is about to get an upgrade. It is going to be faster, more secure, and will have more reliable connections. Faster internet is becoming the need of the hour.
Not only for gamers with a special hatred for latency, with the pandemic and thousands of people working from the comfort of their homes, Wi-Fi speed has also become nearly crucial for staying connected. Being updated with our office work, we need to have excellent connectivity.
It may be through hour-long video conference calls that take the stress off office programs, and software that are required to run through a VPN on our home Wi-Fis. We will need more and more bandwidth these days from our home network, and the next generation of Wi-Fi, also known as Wi-Fi 6, will boost our current needs. Although it is not just a simple kick in the speed, the impact will be more defined, and we will be able to see the benefits of upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 as time progresses. With Wi-Fi 6, we will be upgrading our future needs to ensure that speeds can keep up with the fast-paced environment around us.
Wi-Fi 6 has started arriving this year, and there's a huge possibility that you have an upgrade on your phone and laptop by next year. The next generation of Wi-Fi is known as Wi-Fi 6. The concept of Wi-Fi is still the same. However, Wi-Fi 6 will connect you more efficiently, at a faster rate, and it comes with many multiple upgrades. Currently, on Wi-Fi 5, we can reach speeds of up to 3.5 Gbps.
With the advent of Wi-Fi 6, this will change to 9.6 Gbps. Even on Wi-Fi 5, we were never able to achieve a speed of 3.5 Gbps. It is just the theoretical explanation of the maximum speed you can reach with a system like it. Similarly, with Wi-Fi 6, it will not be likely that you will be able to see 9.6 Gbps speed on a single computer. Still, you will see varied differences in rate when you upgrade, not only on an available system but also on various devices connected with the network.
It essentially means an extra speed that can be provided with Wi-Fi 6 to every device connected to it. So, the idea behind Wi-Fi 6 is not to increase the download speeds of one single computer it is connected to. For example, in the US, you can never go beyond 7.5 Mbps download that is less than 1% of what the Wi-Fi offers. But with Wi-Fi 6, you will be able to distribute this speed to all devices connected to the Wi-Fi and reach potentially higher rates.
Coming back to the idea behind Wi-Fi 6 is to ensure that the network has significant improvements in speed and other features when multiple devices are connected with it. So why do you think this upgrade is in the picture now? When Wi-Fi 5 came out, the average US household had five Wi-Fi devices connected to it. With the number of gadgets improving and increasing daily, all of our kids have a mobile phone of their own. In addition to the iPads and school computers that they might be using, the average US household has nine devices connected to its network.
When you have multiple devices connected to a single system, it automatically tries to distribute the connectivity speed across all these devices. It is why you might have realized that if you have a certain number of increases in the number of devices connected to your network, you might not be getting the best speeds that your Wi-Fi has to offer.
Since your router can efficiently communicate with only several devices, it significantly brings down your speed. This situation is where Wi-Fi 6 is going to help us out. I think it is being launched at a particular time because people have started to work from home. Most of the workforce will not go back to the office after this year, even after the pandemic has passed. We will need more robust Wi-Fi at home for connectivity across multiple devices.
Companies have predicted that households might need to connect up to 50 devices at a time with Wi-Fi in their home. So, if you think about it, it is essentially going to improve how you can stay connected at home. We wish we could have information to know exactly how fast each of our devices would be when we upgrade to Wi-Fi 6. However, there is no easy answer.
Initially, when Wi-Fi 6 comes into the picture, the average performance of your laptop's internet connection functionality might be only very slightly faster. As you add more and more devices to your network, you'll be able to see the increase in speed over different periods. You will need to upgrade your router, which is good news for all hardware manufacturers. To be compatible with Wi-Fi 6, you must have the necessary number of channels that will be needed to ensure communication between your wireless network and your devices.
It is especially true when the systems will start getting overwhelmed with the number of connected devices. It will bring in the Wi-Fi 6 routers that can be used to distribute this load and allocate internet speeds to all of your devices efficiently. So, inside a single home, you will be able to stream on Netflix when somebody is debugging their software and playing a game side-by-side. You would see the difference in speed when multiple devices are connected on various platforms and doing tasks of varying download speeds.
It's not just the router that you will need to upgrade to enjoy the privileges of Wi-Fi 6. Everything from your laptops, phones, desktops, and of course your router, will need to be updated to get the new version of Wi-Fi. It is essential to understand that as soon as you install Wi-Fi 6, you will not need to buy a new laptop, and if that is compatible with your router, you can have lightning fast speeds in your system.
The difference between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 can only be seen when you have multiple devices connected on the same network and the same router handling these requests as well as several high-volume transfers or download tasks being done simultaneously. As you start upgrading your gaming rigs, laptops, phones, and streaming devices, it will be a matter of time before you'll be able to see a difference. A couple of years down the line, when you see the devices' performance and Wi-Fi becoming slow, you can take all this time to upgrade to newer devices.
So why do you think Wi-Fi 6 is faster? It can be attributed to two technologies that have been made use of in creating Wi-Fi 6. The first one is OFDMA - "orthogonal frequency division multiple access." The second one is MU-MIMO - "multi-user with multiple input and multiple outputs."
With MU-MIMO, you can use several devices to be connected with your router at the same time.
With our current routers, the maximum number of tools that can be connected is four, so the router sends information to one device and then to the next and then to the next one.
With Wi-Fi 6, it becomes faster because your router can handle eight devices simultaneously, which means that it can send across information to several devices at one time, for another eight and another eight. It makes this transit time very fast across multiple devices connected to it.
The set of tools that can use the information simultaneously is what OFDMA helps out with. They tend to get more juice out of every transmission that your router does. To be able to deal with multiple sets of eight devices simultaneously is what makes this router and Wi-Fi 6 fancier and faster. One significant advantage of Wi-Fi 6 is it can help improve the battery life of products. Today, when devices can simultaneously communicate with your router, they need to keep their antennas active for a longer duration of time if more than four devices are connected so that they can receive the transmission from the routers at the right amount of time.
When these changes to eight devices that can be handled by the router simultaneously, this waiting time of active antennas comes down, so your devices useless battery to communicate with your router. The feature called Target Wake Time alters the schedule and the frequency of check-in time with their devices. All the dishes are not very helpful to regular users because apart from your laptop, you don't need constant access to make use of this feature.
It will help low-power Wi-Fi devices such as smart home devices or sensors or cameras continuously used on low power but still need to communicate with your router at frequent intervals. Currently, our Wi-Fi works on WPA/WPA2 encryption. With Wi-Fi 6, even this is getting an upgrade, and it'll move to WPA3. It means your passwords will be harder to crack for hackers, and your data will be encrypted in an even more efficient manner, which means hackers will not have easy access to it.
Even though our current devices support WPA3, it's not helpful because it is not in the picture. It is just the start of a revolution in our internet needs. In case you want to be well prepared with all the upgrades, you can buy a Wi-Fi router as of today, but of course, they are quite expensive as they are new in the market. So, start your research, and you might be able to find the right one for yourself. When Wi-Fi 6 is launched, you can connect and upgrade to higher speeds from the convenience of your home.