Wi-Fi is the fuel that fires up search queries, finds information, does shopping for us, and allows us to browse online. Let’s explore how Wi-Fi evolved over the years and how Wi-Fi 6 performs.
The Development of Wi-Fi
The computer needs a network to connect to browse the internet. In the case of old computer devices, Ethernet cables are used to do this job for every computing device. Its main problem was that the user had to stay in a particular area. It also had a limited range.
And then came Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or Wi-Fi to overcome this drawback.
You would need a router to establish a fiber connection to any network. It creates a connection between the wired broadband connection and the wireless devices (like smartphones, laptops, and tablets) to help connect to the internet.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) WLAN group has divided the different Wi-Fi standards into different series according to their speeds, ranges, and frequencies. It includes the following - 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11ax.
In short, for ease of referral, experts designated these as Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6, respectively. Mostly, the network standards are still on Wi-Fi 5, but Wi-Fi 6 is slowly making its way into the market.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
In short, a computer network working at the 802.11ax standard is known as Wi-Fi 6. The new Wi-Fi standard became an exceptional improvement from their preceding standards.
The measure, by design, improves the fiber broadband connectivity in high-dense areas like building, corporate offices, high-density residential areas, and others. Since its 2019 inception, Wi-Fi 6 has been working with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. There are talks about a Wi-Fi 6E standard that can use the 6 GHz spectrum, but we may have to wait for it.
How does Wi-Fi 6 Work?
The Wi-Fi 6 standard combines various well-understood wireless techniques to achieve considerable advancement over the preceding criteria. It maintains backward compatibility – which means a Wi-Fi 6 router is compatible with the earlier generations.
The new standard in fiber internet access delivers 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), resulting in a 40% increase in pure throughput (data transmitted per packet).
Earlier standards allowed a single transmission at a time per access point when the end user tried to download data from the access point. Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 allowed a maximum of four simultaneous streams. Wi-Fi 6 permits eight concurrent data streams.
Difference between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Channel bandwidths (MHz)
20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160
20, 40, 80+80, 160
256, 512, 1024, 2048
64, 128, 256, 512
Frequency bands (GHz)
2.4, 5, 6 (reported )
Subcarrier spacing (KHz)
Highest modulation scheme
OFDM Symbol duration
The new standard ensures enhanced efficiency, network volume and performance, and user experience at full potential.
The Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi 6 Standard
Like every other technological advancement, Wi-Fi 6 features some advantages and some shortcomings as per the following table:
Wi-Fi 6 parameters
Preserves device battery life by integrating Target Wake Rime (TWT) technology – which puts the device into sleep mode when not in use.
A handy feature for setting up numerous IoT devices requiring only periodic activity. The device’s battery lasts longer.
It is faster than Wi-Fi 5
Applicable for single and multiple devices for one router
It contains an in-built safety protocol.
Offers safe internet surfing
It is backward compatible with Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 4, and devices with lower standards.
Users can still surf the internet.
It includes increased installation and device costs.
The end-user has to buy digital devices with Wi-Fi 6 technology specifically.
Relatively short than others.
Users have to be nearer to the router with their digital devices.
Wi-Fi 6 is slowly taking over the IT infrastructure and wireless networking market and will be an essential part of it within a few years.
As an end user, it would pay to know the differences between the different Wi-Fi standards and their use cases because fibernet connection will remain prime in the coming years, and IoT will become the standard for a digital enterprise.
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