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August 30, 2019
WiFi 6, a new innovation in wireless Internet, stands ready to transform your home network. As you wait for 5G to become available in your town, WiFi 6 just might make a quicker impact. This is a point echoed by technology analyst, Mike Feibus.
“While 5G is getting much of the limelight, Wi-Fi 6 will have a bigger impact in our connected lives — and sooner,” commented Feibus. In addition to faster speeds, expect wider ranges, and better handling of multiple connections. In short, it simply provides a superior experience.
The latest news on this tech innovation appeared in CNET and other sources. Let’s dive into the technical details and see how WiFi 6 transforms your home Internet usage.
Technical Information on WiFi 6
WiFi 6 is essentially a brand name for a new wireless standard called, 802.11ax. Your current wireless router probably uses an older edition of the 802.11 standard. New routers and other network equipment supporting 802.11ax are ready to enter the marketplace.
Qualcomm is taking a lead in this area. The head of their WiFi chip division, Rahul Patel, commented to CNET about the need for a new wireless standard.
“Cord cutting is real. What was typically one TV in the average home is now five or six different screens. There’s a tremendous amount of content sourced through the home that wasn’t before. There’s a congestion problem,” said Patel.
WiFi 6 improves most of these congestion issues. Network equipment supporting the new standard provides three-times the Internet speed and twice the range. A more reliable signal lessens video buffering, especially when multiple devices access your router. Even battery life is improved.
Expect additional improvements when using 802.11ax with other recent wireless innovations, like mesh network routers.
New Equipment Supporting WiFi 6 is a Requirement
Of course, one caveat to all these 802.11ax improvements is a requirement for new equipment supporting the standard. So if you use your ISP’s router, don’t expect a free upgrade anytime soon. It’s another reason why purchasing your own home network equipment is a must for the best performance.
This applies to wireless routers as well as computers, smart speakers, videogame consoles, and smartphones. Some high-end smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S10 already support WiFi 6. Smart homes with a host of connected devices are looking at an expensive upgrade path.
Expect public WiFi hotspots in hotels, airports, and in retail establishments to see the first impact of 802.11ax. In these scenarios, the new standard’s improved ability to handle congestion is a definite plus.
If you are in the market for a new router, try to wait until ones supporting WiFi 6 become available. Sometime in 2020 is likely, if not later this year. Expect backwards compatibility with existing devices, but without all the advantages of 802.11ax.
In the interim, check out our tips for improving your home network performance.
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.