Wi-Fi is an indispensable part of modern life. Now, when you go to other people's homes, guests will ask a question: "What is your Wi-Fi password?" At the end of last year, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced changes to Wi-Fi. The naming method, complex naming method no longer exists, Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11.ax) will be the name of the next-generation Wi-Fi standard, The 802.11a naming format used since 1999 has officially withdrawn from the historical arena.
In addition to the new name, Wi-Fi 6 brings many benefits, and not just simple speed improvements. Wi-Fi 6 will enter people's lives this year, and your next phone or laptop may support Wi-Fi 6. Let's take a look at it in advance.
How fast is Wi-Fi 6?
The simple answer is: 9.6 Gbps. In contrast, the speed of Wi-Fi 5 is 3.5 Gbps, and the improvement is still small But the more realistic answer is: this speed is only the theoretical maximum, which is difficult to achieve in real life. Even if it can be achieved, it is estimated that your network speed is not up to that standard.
However, the fact that the speed of Wi-Fi 6 increasing is still important. Because the 9.6 Gbps network speed may not be exclusive to a single device, it can be assigned to all devices in the entire network, which means that each device is potentially faster.
The most important thing about Wi-Fi 6 is not speed improvement.
It can be said that the most important improvement of Wi-Fi 6 is to reduce congestion and allow more devices to connect to the network. Wi-Fi 6 uses a technology called MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output), which allows a router to communicate with multiple devices at the same time instead of communicating sequentially. Currently, MU-MIMO allows routers to communicate with four devices at a time, and Wi-Fi 6 will allow communication with up to eight devices. Wi-Fi 6 also utilizes other technologies, such as OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) and transmit beamforming, to improve efficiency and network capacity, respectively.
In summary, Wi-Fi 6 allows the router to communicate with more devices at the same time, and also allows the router to send data to multiple devices in the same broadcast.
The purpose of all these technologies is to solve the network congestion problem caused by a large number of devices connected to the network. Solving this problem is very important for modern life. According to some surveys, when Wi-Fi 5 was first introduced, American households had an average of about five Wi-Fi devices. Today, American households have an average of nine Wi-Fi devices, and some companies predict that this number will reach 50 in a few years.
In addition, Wi-Fi 6 will provide a better experience in places with a large number of people. The Wi-Fi Alliance specifically mentions retailers, apartment buildings, transportation hubs and stadiums.
Wi-Fi 6 can also improve battery life
Another new technology in Wi-Fi 6 allows devices to plan communication with routers, reducing the time required to keep the antennas powered to transmit and search for signals, which means reducing battery consumption and improving battery life.
This technology is called Target Wake Time, which allows the router to schedule communication time with the device. But the technology doesn't help all devices, for example, your laptop needs constant Internet access, so it's unlikely to benefit too much from this feature (perhaps when it's going to sleep). This technology is more beneficial for small, low-power devices that occasionally need to update their state, such as sensors or smart homes that monitor gas leaks at home.
Wi-Fi 6 also means better security
Last year, Wi-Fi technology received the largest security update in a decade and began to support the new security protocol WPA3. WPA3 makes it harder for hackers to crack passwords through constant guessing, and even if hackers try to get passwords, it will make some The data has become less useful.
Current devices and routers can support WPA3, but it is not mandatory. However, Wi-Fi 6 devices must use WPA3 in order to be certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, so most Wi-Fi 6 devices will be more secure once the certification program is launched.
How can I use Wi-Fi 6?
To use Wi-Fi 6, you must purchase a new device. Because Wi-Fi technology updates rely on new hardware, not just software, you need to buy new phones, laptops, and more, and of course Wi-Fi 6-enabled routers to use the new version of Wi-Fi.
When will Wi-Fi 6 arrive?
Wi-Fi 6-enabled devices are still in their infancy, and although Wi-Fi 6-enabled routers are now available, they are expensive. A few laptops also support Wi-Fi 6, but it's clearly far from universal.
However, this year's high-end flagship smartphone will begin to deploy Wi-Fi 6. Qualcomm's flagship processor, the Snapdragon 855, already supports Wi-Fi 6, but the Snapdragon 855 does not guarantee that the phone will support Wi-Fi 6, but the possibility is even greater: for example, Samsung's Galaxy S10 is equipped with Snapdragon. 855, the machine supports Wi-Fi 6.
The Wi-Fi Alliance will launch its Wi-Fi 6 certification program this fall to ensure compatibility with Wi-Fi devices. Although the device does not have to pass the certification, the launch of the certification means that the industry is ready for the arrival of Wi-Fi 6, and it is estimated that more devices will support Wi-Fi 6 next year.
Do you need Wi-Fi 6?
Upgrading to the new Wi-Fi 6 standard is certainly a good thing, but obviously not everyone needs it.
If your internet speed is far from Gigabit, then Wi-Fi 6 may not mean much to you. In addition, even in an environment with a large number of connected devices, such as shopping malls, offices, or public buildings, to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6, you must ensure that all devices on the network support the standard.
If your current router only supports Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) or earlier standards, you may want to upgrade it to support Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) first. It may be a better choice to consider when the price of Wi-Fi 6 router is reduced.