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WiFi 6 Explained – Boost your Home’s Internet Speeds

There’s simply no escaping the internet. Everybody’s connected and it seems that most of today’s device looks useless if it’s not connected to the information highway. You don’t have to look far, whether you’re getting directions in your car or checking the latest weather conditions, everything requires an internet connection.

When it comes to homes, the quality of your internet experience is based on two things – your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and router. The ISP determines how much internet juice comes into your home and the router tells you how much each device (smartphone, laptop, desktop, TV) gets.

What is the latest Wi-Fi Standard?

WiFi 6, or if you want to get technical, the 802.11ax is the latest version of the 802.11 standards for wireless network transmissions. WiFi 6 equipment is backward-compatible which means it can work with routers using the older protocol (802.11ac).

Why switch? Experts say that WiFi 6 is 30 percent faster than Wi-Fi 5, basically killing the debate on which is better. The current average US download speed is around 119 Mbps, and if you’re lucky – or happy to shell up that extra cash, speeds are available for 300 Mbps and up.

WiFi 6 versus WiFi 5

Why switch to WiFi 6? Better speeds. Tests have shown that WiFi 6 is 30 percent faster compared to WiFi 5 connections. But that’s only part of the story. Let’s look at why Wi-Fi 6 is a better performer.

It can handle more devices simultaneously

The Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) – okay that’s a mouthful, allows you to connect more devices without sacrificing performance. It does this by speeding up data transmissions. The result is that more bandwidth is freed up for other devices. This is certainly great news for households with multiple devices. How many times have you found yourself being booted out and constantly reconnecting to the Wi-Fi router?

The Evolution of WiFi
Evolution of WiFi – Source Intel

Better Speeds

WiFi data travels via component streams. WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 uses multiple streams, giving them the capability to transmit data at gigabit speeds. While WiFi 5 is limited to 8 streams, WiFi 6 increases this to 12 streams across the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

Faster speeds are achieved by allowing devices to send more data in a single transmission (20 percent) and increasing the efficiency of data transmission via higher-order modulation 1024-QAM (25 percent). This gives you a 45 percent improvement in speed over WiFi 5 connections.

Longer Battery Life

How can Wi-Fi 6 increase in battery life? Good question. WiFi 6 has a Target Wake Time (TWT) feature that allows you to set the time when your device to ‘wake up’ and start sending and receiving data. This allows your smartphone or tablet to save on precious battery juice while disconnecting from the internet.

Better Range

With WiFi 6, routers can transmit data further. Your WiFi frequency has a direct effect on the speed or the range of data transmissions. Most devices use the 2.4 GHz band, this frequency provides better range at slower speeds. The 5 GHz band offers faster data speeds but have shorter ranges because it cannot penetrate solid objects. WiFi opens new frequencies that can be used to transmit data over longer distances.

Will WiFi 6 make my internet faster?

Not exactly. The speed at which you can download a file or stream a Netflix movie still depends largely on your internet speed. WiFi 6 only determines the efficiency of how much you can send data over several devices. You can use this wifi speed test to see how fast your current speeds.

WiFi is simply a network connection that doesn’t use wires. Given an internet speed of 100 Mbps, WiFi 6 like WiFi 5 only determines how fast and how much data is transferred to each connected device. So, a MacBook surfing the internet with nobody else connected to the WiFi router will still be faster compared to one which is simultaneously connected with several devices, WiFi 6 or not.

The device’s internal SSD will also play a large role in your overall browsing experience. We’ve broken down Apple’s SSD to help show the progression of Apple’s hardware performance.

Have a question or comment about WiFi 6? Ask us in the comments below. Stay cool tech people.

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