How Will Wi-Fi 6 Improve Wi-Fi?

Sep 22, 2019Learning Annex, WiFi Networking

The next generation of Wi-Fi is here. Wi-Fi standards change every few years, finding new opportunities to improve Wi-Fi performance and address issues from previous standards. Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, is the new Wi-Fi standard, replacing 802.11ac standard that has been used since 2014.

Wi-Fi standards are the services and protocols that determine your network connection and are determined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE establishes Wi-Fi standards under a complex naming convention: 802.11ac or 802.11ax, for example. In 2019, the Wi-Fi Alliance created user-friendly names for Wi-Fi standards. 802.11ac became Wi-Fi 5, the current Wi-Fi standard used in most homes and businesses today. A new standard called 802.11ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6, is the newest generation of Wi-Fi introduced in 2019.

What Wi-Fi 6 will do:

Reduce latency – According to Intel, 802.11ax delivers up to 40% higher peak data rates to a single device, increasing network efficiency and improving speeds across 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Improve device battery life – Wi-Fi 6 is introducing the “target wake time” (TWT) feature. This feature puts Wi-Fi to sleep on devices that aren’t being used, conserving power on the device and extending its battery life.

Perform better in crowded areas – Wi-Fi networks in heavily populated places like festivals, airports or stadiums tend to be slow and clunky at best, making it nearly impossible to achieve a strong enough signal to send photos on Snapchat or post live streams to Instagram. The advanced data management technology in Wi-Fi 6 improves speeds in these places. With Wi-Fi 6, Intel expects each user’s average speed to improve by four times in areas with a lot of connected devices. This is good news for both busy businesses and in the home, as more and more devices depend on an Internet connection.

What it won’t do:

Improve Wi-Fi speeds from Internet service providers – Your Internet speeds are determined by the data plan set by your Internet service provider. By upgrading to devices to Wi-Fi 6, you won’t automatically exceed the speeds set by your Internet service provider.

Improve speeds on Wi-Fi 5 devices – Most current devices are designed with Wi-Fi 5 enabled hardware. These devices will still work when Wi-Fi 6 becomes the primary Wi-Fi standard, but you won’t see the improvements of Wi-Fi 6 until you upgrade to a device that is Wi-Fi 6 compatible. Fortunately, new generations of devices are coming out that are already Wi-Fi 6 compatible. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is the first smartphone that supports Wi-Fi 6. As new generations of devices come out, they will adopt Wi-Fi 6 technology and hardware. In order to see the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, you will need both a compatible router and devices.

Prepare for Wi-Fi 6 with Optim

When you’re ready to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices, upgrade your home network with Optim managed Wi-Fi from Actiontec. Optim allows you to easily manage your home network and all the devices connected to it. You’ll be ready to harness the power of Wi-Fi 6 with Optim’s automatic band steering technology and advanced device management tools. In addition, you can troubleshoot network issues directly with your Internet service provider technician in real time for quick solutions. Ask your Internet Service Provider if Optim Managed WiFi is available for you.

For everything you need to know about Wi-Fi networking and Wi-Fi standards, check out Actiontec’s Complete Guide to WiFi Networking.

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