Wi-Fi 6 Explained: From names to hardware
September 17, 2019

It’s more than just faster Wi-Fi.

Just this week, the Wi-Fi Alliance has officially started certifying Wi-Fi 6 devices which in turn will spearhead Wi-Fi 6 adoption. What exactly does it mean for you as a consumer? If you’re guessing faster Wi-Fi speeds, that’s technically true, but there’s to Wi-Fi 6 that you should know.

First off is the naming convention. Wi-Fi 6 is the 6th iteration of the Wi-Fi standard. If you haven’t heard about Wi-Fi 1, 2 or 3, that’s because it was named differently before: 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac. Wi-Fi 6’s other name is 802.11ax. It’s good that they’ve changed the naming convention since memorizing numbers is more difficult in remembering names (in our case at least).

Asus has just released the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers

Specs-wise, Wi-Fi 6 works on a dual-band frequency and can theoretically give you a maximum speed of around 10.53 Gbps. That’s a lot of bandwidth when you look at it and even if you say it might be too much for you, you’d forget that the media we consume every day gets larger and larger, hence the need for updated standards like Wi-Fi 6.

You can argue that you only use the internet to watch videos, check emails, etc. But if you look closely, streaming services like Netflix or even YouTube can now stream 4K. Same goes with emails, which sometimes now hold large files that require faster speeds and a lot of bandwidth to complete.

Apple’s new iPhone 11 lineup now supports Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 also improves connections which I won’t go into technical detail. But see it this way: a network on Wi-Fi 6 will have better connections no matter how many users are connected compared to a network on an older standard. This improvement can be significantly beneficial in places like offices or public parks where there’s always a large crowd connecting to Wi-Fi. 

There’s a catch though: Wi-Fi 6 is a hardware upgrade, so that means that if you want to take advantage of the new standard, your entire network must support it. This means getting a Wi-Fi 6-certified router along with devices that also support Wi-Fi 6. Upcoming smartphones like the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Apple iPhone 11 and the OnePlus 7T are all confirmed to support Wi-Fi 6, then again not everyone can easily purchase these new devices.

Wi-Fi 6 will take some time before it can be adapted by the masses, so don’t feel left out when it launches. With the introduction of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, users will only demand the best and the fastest when it comes to accessing data so there’s a good chance that every network and user device will have support Wi-Fi 6 in the next year.

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Passionate for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of Blu-ray discs and occasionally plays on his Xbox.
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