Wi-Fi Alliance industry group officially launched the Wi-Fi 6 certification program on Monday. Promising a “new Wi-Fi era”, the non-profit organization opened it’s latest wireless fidelity certification for manufacturers.
This means brands can now get their devices, mostly upcoming ones, certified with the latest Wi-Fi standard, that brings together with it better speed, stability, and security. Here’s everything you need to know about the next-gen Wi-Fi standard.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6, technically called Wi-Fi 802.11ax, is the newest version of the 802.11 wireless networking transmission standard, which we call Wi-Fi. It is a backward-compatible upgrade to the previous version of Wi-Fi, called Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 802.11ac. It is developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
How is Wi-Fi 6 better than Wi-Fi 5?
Well, we’re sure most of you would want an easy-to-understand answer here, so we’re going to try to write an easy-to-understand answer. A Wi-Fi 6 certified device, like your router, will be able to communicate more efficiently with connected devices. Just imagine your router as a bar-tender and your devices as the people sitting at the bar waiting for their beer. With Wi-Fi 6, the bar-tender now gets 4, or 6 hands, so he can now serve the customers both faster, and in a more efficient way than before. Lame analogy, we know, but this is how you’ll understand it the easy way.
For the technical people among you, Wi-Fi 6 carries a feature called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), which allows Wi-Fi routers to serve multiple clients on a single channel, simultaneously. Also, these routers can send larger packages with each signal they send, making transmissions more efficient.
Additionally, Wi-Fi 6 also makes sure devices support the latest gen of WPA3 security, multiuser multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO), 160MHz channels & 1024 QAM. All of this, in layman’s terms, means Wi-Fi 6 is better than the previous version (Wi-Fi 5).
How fast is Wi-Fi 6?
Probably the question everyone is asking these days. Though we can’t exactly comment on real-world speeds without personally testing, Wi-Fi 6 is said to be 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5, with maximum transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. Real-world speeds, however, shall depend on a lot of factors, like your ISP speed caps, number of connected devices, and others.
When will I get Wi-Fi 6?
Well, Wi-Fi 6 devices have already hit the market. Wi-Fi 6 certified routers from brands like Cisco, Asus & TP-Link are already available for purchase. You can expect upcoming laptops, phones, and routers to come with the Wi-Fi 6 certification. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the new iPhones are in-fact Wi-Fi 6 supported. The Note 10 was the first smartphone to be Wi-Fi 6 compatible.
Having said that, you’ll need both a Wi-Fi 6 router and a communicating device to reap the full advantages of the new standard. As mentioned above, Wi-Fi 6 routers will, in fact, support Wi-Fi 5 devices, but they won’t be able to provide the better speeds and efficiency that Wi-Fi 6 inherit.
Because Wi-Fi 6 requires new hardware, we’ll only see upcoming devices to flaunt the Wi-Fi 6 certification. Devices that’ll make use of the new Wi-Fi standards will include routers (of course), laptops, mobile phones, smart home appliances like smart TVs, speakers, and more.
How do I know if a device supports Wi-Fi 6?
The makers will let you know. As the certification program just went live, brands will advertise their products with the new Wi-Fi certification. Manufacturers that participate in the program get to put a slick new sticker (attached above) on certified products and packaging. That’s how you’ll be able to tell.
That’s basically it. Feel free to drop a comment if you have any inputs or doubts.