As our connectivity and internet needs evolve, the technology behind WiFi also upgrades. With the introduction of new technology, WiFi has hit a new landmark known as WiFi 6. If we look into the history of Wifi, we find it was first introduced in the late 90s, and since then, it has been evolving and evolving quite well with our needs. WiFi 6 was officially introduced in 2018 and now it has started to show up on more devices.
After WiFi 5, this upgrade comes with a massive speed boost as it went from 3.5 Gbps to 9.6 Gbps. That’s nearly a 3x improvement. Users can be happier than ever. WiFi 6 is all set to improve speed and prepare for a wireless future. But…do you know exactly what it does, how it benefits you, and if you even have the hardware and service for Wifi6? We’re going to walk you through some of these things and do a little dive on this innovative advancement of Wifi and how it works and benefits its users.
What is WiFi 6?
Just like previous WiFi upgrades, WiFi 6 is another upgrade to the previous cordless networking systems. If we look at it from a domestic or business perspective, this upgrade is significant, but the numbers are also worth noticing for commercial and business usage. For the majority of the users, WiFi 6 is just a revised version with the same 802.11 standards ending with the xx suffix (like N, G, or AC).
The more straightforward labeling convention makes it extremely easy to know what generation of the technology is being used. This also helps determine the compatibility with devices that support a particular version of WiFi. In simpler words, WiFi 6 is a collection of different technologies to take action more efficiently and speed up overall processes.
How is WiFi 6 Different?
We can’t deny that WiFi 6 is a substantial upgrade to the previous networking systems. Although the difference might not be immediately visible to an average user (the average internet speed right now in the US is around 70 Mbps), the numbers tell different stories. There are many incremental improvements resulting in a substantial upgrade. These changes include:
- Faster Speed
- Longer Battery Life
- Better Performance in Crowded Areas
The increased bandwidth of WiFi 6 leads to better and faster upload and download speeds. This is becoming extremely important as the file sizes continue to increase along with high-quality videos that require more data. WiFi 6 has accomplished a faster speed through more efficient data encoding, resulting in much higher throughput.
The new technology results in more data being packed into the same radio waves. The chips responsible for encoding and decoding these signals keep getting more powerful and robust with the ability to handle extra work. From a media consumption perspective, I love Wifi6. Watching movies in 4K (and hopefully in the future, 8K) on our QLED television is a next-level experience.
Longer Battery Life
Aren’t we all tired of low battery warnings interrupting our fun times? When the access points interact with a device, Wifi6 can tell the device exactly when to put the WiFi to sleep and when to wake it up to receive the transmissions. This is the best way to conserve power as you can put your WiFi on sleep whenever it’s not being used. This means longer battery life and fewer battery-low warnings for your devices.
Better Performance in Crowded Areas
We all have suffered from slow and lousy internet in crowded places. Most of us probably experience just at home. At one point when I had family visiting, our record was 54 devices on my network! Whether it’s a mall or an airport (or a home crowded with relatives for the weekend), slow internet can really frustrate you. You will have slow WiFi. You are around a lot of people with various WiFi-enabled devices.
The new and upgraded WiFi 6 is here to rescue you from this situation. WiFi 6 improves each user’s average speed by at least four times in crowded and congested areas with many devices connected to the WiFi compared to Wifi5. The good thing about this feature is that it is not only applicable to crowded places. This upgraded version of WiFi works effectively in dense apartments too.
Is Wifi 6 Worth The Upgrade?
The simple and immediate answer to this question is “yes”. If you use multiple devices and struggle with slow internet, you must get WiFi 6 because this upgrade will help you fix the issue. Not only this, if you want to future-proof your WiFi network, you should get this.
There are some ambiguities since the technology is relatively new and has not been perfected yet. People are hesitant to pay a hefty amount for a new thing like this, especially when it comes to upgrading hardware. But, the number that this upgrade has shown with speeds and battery life speaks for itself. You might want to consider changing your router if you have been using it for over three years because this technology requires upgraded hardware. You’re probably rolling your eyes, but router technology has made significant strides in innovation in just the last couple of years. I’d highly recommend most Synology routers with Wifi6 capabilities.
How Do I Get Wifi 6?
Are you stuck with an old wifi 5 router? Tired of waiting for websites to load? Ready to jump on the wifi 6 bandwagon? Here’s how you can get wifi 6 internet speed.
First, upgrade your router. If you’re still using an old wifi 5 router, it’s time for an upgrade. If you do decide to upgrade, do a little due diligence to make sure the router you choose is Wifi6 compatible. Many brands won’t list if they’re capable of handling Wifi6, so you kind of have to do your own research on specific routers. For example, the latest Google Nest Wifi mesh system does not have Wifi 6. It gets great coverage, supports a lot of connected devices, and even streams in 4K, but you won’t find anything about Wifi 6 support (although according to recent reports, the newest version of Google Nest Wifi will support Wifi 6, so stay tuned). Newer routers are built to support wifi 6, so they’ll be able to take advantage of the faster speeds that wifi 6 offers, but make sure the specific router you are eyeing has it. If you’re not sure which router to get like we mentioned above, DDID is a big fan of the Synology brand of routers, and just this week they announced the release of the RT6600ax (sidebar AX router (official release date is April 19th, 2022). Next, make sure your devices are wifi 6 compatible. This one might be challenging as most of us aren’t going to run off and replace our TVs, Speakers, laptops, tablets, etc just to upgrade them to WiFi6. But even if you decide to go that route of upgrading your devices and hardware, one of the niceties of these new technologies featuring Wifi6 (and especially Wifi routers) is they are backward compatible so you’ll continue to get support with your older devices. Even if you have a new router with Wifi 6 capability, your devices may not be able to get those kinds of speeds.
The inclusion and usage of WiFi 6 is likely to become more familiar with time. As fast internet has become necessary for people in homes and offices, users have embraced WiFi upgrades. New devices are also being designed to be compatible with this new WiFi upgrade. WiFi 6 has given rise to higher internet speed, quality internet, and overall efficient service. Not just speed but the more extended battery life feature has also attracted users to switch to this upgrade and enjoy the better-performing WiFi.