As consumers, we should want the fastest internet we can get. With more people working from home, the demand is only becoming greater. Thankfully, technology is also improving, right alongside of our demands for it. That’s where WiFi 6 comes in.
Introduced at the end of 2019, WiFi 6 is the next generation of wireless standard and if you are in the market for a new router, you should start by looking for this newest release. So whether you're looking for the best router for apartment and you want to buy a Verizon FiOS compatible router, WiFi 6 standard is something you want to consider.
Let’s start by doing a quick review about what a WiFi standard is. A WiFi standard works to tell your WiFi what to do and how to act. Different standards call for different things, including allowing for higher speeds and protocols for the LAN ports.
Before the WiFi 6 standard, the 802.11ac standard was the most commonly used. With the WiFi 6, the protocols have simplified their numbers, moving to easy generational markers rather than the 802.11, so it will be less confusing in the future as newer standards are introduced.
While the names made sense for the technically savvy, they were irritating to the average consumer who worked to figure out what the numbers and letters actually meant. The numbering system will also be working backward, so 802.11ac will now be known as WiFi5.
What WiFi 6 Offers
Now, onto the question on everyone’s minds: what does WiFi 6 offer that is different than its predecessors? There are many updates that WiFi 6 offers, including the following:
- Lower latency: The first thing that WiFi 6 brings is lower latency. There are fewer or shorter delays as data comes in. This will improve your load times by speeding things up and keeping you from dropping a signal. WiFi 6 succeeds at this by using OFDMA, which is a more advanced technology. To put it simply: WiFi can pack more information within your signal, making it faster overall.
- Better speeds: WiFi 6 also brings faster speeds with it. This is a win for anyone who games or does any online streaming. WiFi 6 improves your speeds by improving your connection quality. This is great if you like MU-MIMO technology, which is where you can have more than user streaming online at the same time.
- Connection quality: Like we mentioned above, the connection quality with WiFi 6 is also better. This will help with any of your connected devices, which will mean that everyone within your network will win from this.
- Better battery life: Our final point might be surprising, but WiFi 6 brings better battery life along with it as well. The term TWT, also known as “target wake time” is a new technology that comes along with WiFi 6. It works by allowing the connected devices to decide when or how they receive data signals from WiFi. This allows devices to sleep when they are waiting for the WiFi signal to come to them, saving their battery life. This will help out everyone.
Shopping for a WiFi 6 Router
When you are looking to buy one of the new WiFi 6 routers, you will need to confirm that is what the router is. While the new lingo is WiFi 6, the standard was originally called 802.11ax and some routers might have that listed as the standard rather than WiFi 6. The icon themselves should look like WiFi signal with a circled number within the signal.
This type of router is already on the market, so you will not have to wait to find any. They were around before the standard was officially out and the information was available. Since the technology has only recently been finalized, there should be updates coming for the WiFi 6 devices that are already on the market.
Issues you might run into
One of the biggest issues that you might run into with a WiFi 6 router is that there are not a lot of devices on the market that are able to use the features the standard comes with. Some new computers are starting to roll out, including those with Intel’s 10th generation processors, so mobile devices and laptops should be starting to crop up in the near future.
As for desktop machines, there should be updates that will bring them up to speed to work with the new standard without any issues. It might take a little while, but eventually, all of newer devices will be capable of using the new standard’s features.
The WiFi 6 standard might be making our networks capable of running faster, but we are still limited within the bounds of the radio frequencies that are available to us. There have been hints, however, that the FCC has been looking into opening the 6 GHz band for different uses, which might eventually mean that WiFi 6 might get new capabilities.