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Wi-Fi 6: The New Internet Standard?

Giselle Yashar
Wi-Fi 6: The New Internet Standard?

A new hegemon has arrived in town. Known as Wi-Fi 6, this better, swifter version of Wi-Fi will take you by storm. On the 17th of September, Wi-Fi Alliance, the principal group in the Wi-Fi tech world, officially rolled out Wi-Fi 6 device certification.

Device certification?! But what does that have anything to do with you? Of course, it does. In fact, it holds quite a significance for you: your life is about to get easier. And we’re here to tell you everything about it.


What is actually Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, formerly known as 802.11ax, is the upcoming standard in Wi-Fi technology. Currently, we’re using 802.11ac as the Wi-Fi standard on which most of our devices run. So, Wi-Fi 6 is an exciting new upgrade on 802.11ac, which is not only faster but much more efficient. Especially for times when you find yourself in a congested spot and your Wi-Fi speed turns into that of a sloth from Zootopia. With Wi-Fi 6, you’ll feel it is the spryly rabbit serving you, rather than the sluggish sloth.


Did you fail to catch up with Wi-Fi 5 and others?

No, you didn’t. 802.11ax and 802.11ac have been renamed Wi-Fi 6 and 5, respectively. Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, decided it’s high time they resort to utilizing simpler names for technological standards & specifications. Hence, they introduced a new naming scheme, making it easier for consumers to comprehend and remember them, rather than prompting them to sift through a tech dictionary.


Speedy, consistent, efficient.

Industry experts estimate the approximate increase in speed with Wi-Fi 6 will be up to 37%, with a maximum theoretical transfer of 9.6 Gbps. In a speed test, Wi-Fi 6 download speed turned out to be 1000% faster than the usual average download speed i.e. 119 Mbps.

Well, that’s a lot of speed for a single device and you probably won’t even notice it with few devices connected to it. But, in places with legions of smartphones and IoT devices, Wi-Fi 6 will be an immense blessing, providing optimal and consistent connectivity.

What else is new in Wi-Fi 6?

Too many things! And we have got a list of all these amazing new features.

Wi-Fi 6 will use 1024-QAM to deliver superior results and save on power consumption. QAM or quadrature amplitude modulation will be able to transmit more information with each signal. Because of this, you’ll be able to stream high-definition videos with less buffering, while over a dozen of devices may be simultaneously connected to the network. Present Wi-Fi routers, use 256-QAM. So, our newest routers will be taking a giant leap in performance.

Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) is a recently developed feature, which will enable the device to multitask and ensure stable connection in densely populated scenarios.

Target Wake Time (TWT) will allow your router to schedule when to send and receive data in order to avoid conflict with signals from another connected device. Scheduling will stop multiple devices to simultaneously vie for the router’s attention and put them in sleep mode up till their set Wake time; hence, saving your smartphone’s battery consumption.

Base Service Station (BSS) will help prevent collision with a neighboring router’s signals by identifying frames from a different network. This will save your router’s energy and make it much more efficient.

Multi-User Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) will allow more data to be transmitted with multiple users. While previous versions of Wi-Fi only had MU-MIMO for downloading, this latest version is an 8x8 MU-MIMO and supports both uploading and downloading. This means you can download, upload, stream, enjoy VR/AR to your heart’s content, but your bandwidth quality will only experience a smidgen of impact.  


Smartphones certified

Having a Wi-Fi 6 router does not mean you’ll be able to reap the full benefits of Wi-Fi 6 with an old smartphone. Your smartphone and other IoT gadgets need to be compatible with Wi-Fi 6.

No worries there! Companies are now gearing up to roll out Wi-Fi 6 certified smartphones and gadgets. Our favorite ones have already begun: with the official launch of Wi-Fi 6, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced Samsung Galaxy Note 10 to be the first smartphone to be Wi-Fi 6 certified. Of course, how can Apple be left behind? So, at the launch of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, Apple too announced their new devices are Wi-Fi 6 certified. Alliance did mention that other devices already on the market can be certified too, but they would need to meet its hardware requirement. Alas, that is a stipulation most of the current devices cannot fulfill. But rest assured, most new gadgets on the market will be Wi-Fi 6 certified.


What about your Internet Service Provider?

You’ll require a faster plan from your favorite Internet Service Provider (ISP) to avail of all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6. But unfortunately, most ISPs need to go much farther with this new technology. Before you fall into doldrums, we should tell you the Alliance group announced the support of many industry leaders with their new tech, including AT&T internet. So hang on for mass adoption in the nearest future. If you’re having trouble waiting, for the time being, you can avail of ATT internet services, it’s one of the fastest speeds you can get without Wi-Fi 6. So your wait won’t be that agonizing. And soon AT&T will launch ISP plans compatible with our much-awaited Wi-Fi 6.

Meanwhile, enjoy yourselves!

Giselle Yashar
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