Wi-Fi 6 is just starting to arrive this year, and there’s a good chance it’ll be inside your next phone or laptop. Here’s what you should expect once it arrives.
What is Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 is the next-generation wireless standard that’s faster than 802.11ac. More than speed, it will provide better performance in congested areas, from stadiums to your own device-packed home or business.
How fast is it?
The short but incomplete answer: 9.6 Gbps. That’s up from 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5.
That 9.6 Gbps doesn’t have to go to a single computer. It can be split up across a whole network of devices. That means more potential speed for each device.
If you’re using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5.
How will I get Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi generations rely on new hardware, not just software updates, so you’ll need to buy new phones, laptops, and so on to get the new version of Wi-Fi. New devices will start coming with Wi-Fi 6 by default.
When it comes to buying a new device, the device manufacturer will say it has “Wi-Fi 6” or “Wi-Fi 5.”
You will also start seeing a “Wi-Fi 6 Certified” logo on devices that have gone through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification process. Previously, there was a “Wi-Fi Certified” logo that didn’t tell you what generation a product was from unless you looked at the specifications.
As always, both the sender and the receiver need to support the latest generation of Wi-Fi for you to gain the advantages. In other words, if you want Wi-Fi 6 performance on your phone, you’ll need both a wireless router (access point) and a smartphone that supports Wi-Fi 6. If your router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see any benefits, no matter how many Wi-Fi 6 devices you bring home.