Every year brings a whole slew of tech news that is predicted to change the way we do things. Earlier this year, it was the announcement of that Wi-Fi 6 would soon be released. Wi-Fi 6 is slated to be launched very soon, and there are already devices that support the new standard.
What is WiFi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi connectivity standard. It will improve the speed and reliability of your wireless network, especially in smart homes with multiple connected devices.
If you’re wondering how you missed the previous 5 versions of Wi-Fi, you didn’t. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a group of companies that oversees the development and certification of Wi-Fi, simply changed the way they name wireless standards.
Wi-Fi standards used to be labeled with a series of numbers and letters. What you currently have at home or in the office is officially named 802.11ac, which has recently been renamed Wi-Fi 5. The new version, officially named 802.11ax, has been renamed Wi-Fi 6 to be more user-friendly.
What Makes Wi-Fi 6 Different?
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi 6 has higher data rates, which means you’ll be able to transfer more data at a given time. This will help you with streaming movies or sending large files.
Edgar Figueroa, the president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, told Wired that Wi-Fi 6 could reach maximum speeds of 9 to 10 gigabits per second. Compared to the current Wi-Fi standard, which has a theoretical maximum speed of 3.5 gigabits per second, Wi-Fi 6 would be about 30% faster.
Do you need your internet connection to be this fast? Well, not really. In fact, the average download speed in the US is currently 115 megabits per second, according to recent data from the Speedtest Global Index.
However, this does not mean that the maximum speed is just a fancy number used to lure in customers. It does have a purpose, especially in today’s multi-device household. Wi-Fi 6 shines not because of its max speed, but because it can support more devices than the current Wi-Fi standard.
In 2017, the average American owned around eight connected devices, according to Cisco. This includes smartphones, smart TVs, printers, game consoles, surveillance devices, and more. By 2022, the number of connected devices in the US is expected to jump to 13 per person. With their new standard, the Wi-Fi Alliance is looking to provide a solution for the increasingly congested networks in modern smart homes.
Speaking of smart home tech, Wi-Fi 6 will also ensure that your smart devices stay operational for longer. The new standard will come with a feature called Target Wake Time, which will allow your router to schedule check-in times with your devices. Basically, your router will “wake” your devices when they need to be connected to the internet. Since your devices won’t have to search for an internet connection constantly, this will greatly increase their battery life. This feature would be useful for smart home devices and sensors that don’t need to be connected all the time.
When Does WiFi 6 Come Out?
Right now, there are only a handful of devices that support Wi-Fi 6. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is one example. For laptops, the HP Elite x360 830 G6 and the new Latitudes from Dell also have Wi-Fi 6 support.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is launching its certification program for the new standard this fall. After that period, we are sure to see more devices that come with Wi-Fi 6 support.
Incidentally, there are currently several WiFi 6 routers on the market from top brands such as Asus and Netgear. However, they are still on the pricey side. But, as Wi-Fi 6 becomes the new standard, these router prices will surely drop.
If you want to make your current router faster, check out our article on how to boost your Wi-Fi signal.