How Fast WiFi 6 Really Is? [Explained]

“It’s well said that necessity is the mother of inventions,” but when it comes to WiFi, the need for speed surpasses it all. And if you were wondering if your WiFi could get any faster? The answer is yes, it can.

What is WiFi 6?

As WiFi evolves over the years, and its accessibility increases, it has led to the creation of diverse and densely populated WiFi environments that require technological advancements to navigate the expanding needs of users.

Developed by the students of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the latest version was known as 802.11ax. To amend this clunky naming system, the WiFi Alliance, the non-profit industry group that helps maintain and certify WiFi devices, decided to shift to an easier and more user-friendly way of referring to the standard. Being the sixth iteration of the 802.11 standards, the newest upgrade is called WiFi 6.

Summing up the potential impact of WiFi 6 by saying that it is simply faster than its predecessors is akin to saying that your mobile phone can be used for merely calling people. WiFi 6 goes beyond the basic improvements WiFi has been making over the years with speed and range. This upgrade is going to redesign the system that routers use in handling the growing number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in our lives.

Why do we need the new WiFi 6?

Faster internet is always in demand, especially as we utilize more bandwidth-demanding augmented reality apps, games, and 4K streams with our laptops and phones. Today, the average number of devices connected to a WiFi network is ten, and firms have predicted we’ll hit 50 within several years. Folks at IPRouterLogin.com have some amazing guides related to WiFi networks which you should check out. With more devices demanding WiFi, the burdened network is going to become sluggish, especially in a country like India, where most public WiFi networks are already considered too slow.

Where will we see WiFi 6?

WiFi 6 may be seen in virtual and augmented reality used in e-Learning, telepresence, and healthcare. They may also be used in WiFi crowded environments such as airports, stadiums, and concert halls, but with businesses using an increasing number of gadgets, enterprises have become high-density environments as well. It will allow household users to stream 4k videos on smart TVs, play online multiplayer games on PS/Xbox, make a Skype call, and play music on speakers, all at once.

What makes WiFi 6 faster?

Orthogonal frequency division multiple (OFDMA) gives your router the ability to serve many clients at once within a single channel by sharing channels and so, increases network efficiency and reduces lag time.

Multi-user multiple inputs, multiple outputs (MU-MIMO) lets a router communicate with multiple devices at the same time, rather than broadcasting to one device at a time. With WiFi 5, MU-MIMO allows routers to communicate with four devices at a time, but those devices cannot respond simultaneously, whereas WiFi 6 can take it up to eight devices at a time and also lets devices respond to the wireless access point at the same time.

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Target wake time (TWT) plans out the communication to avoid interference from multiple signals. When a home Wi-Fi-enabled device like a motion sensor or a smart lock on your network needs to ping the router for a status report periodically, WiFi 6 will allow the router to set its schedule to prevent it from bumping into another incoming signal and jamming the network. By doing this, the devices cut down on the amount of time they need to keep their antennas powered on to transmit and search for signals leading to more time spent in battery-saving sleep mode, improving battery life all round.

Speed: how fast is WiFi 6?

Theoretically, the speed of WiFi 6 can go up to a maximum of 9.6 Gbps. If you’re using a WiFi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with WiFi 6 compared to WiFi 5.

But these speeds are improbable to achieve in real-world WiFi use. The typical download speed in India is just 39.65 Mbps or less than 1 percent of the theoretical maximum speed.

Yet, as WiFi 6 has a much higher theoretical speed limit than before, the entirety of the 9.6 Gbps doesn’t have to go to a single gadget, but can instead be divided across a larger network of devices, implying an increase in potential speed for individual devices.

In theory, these speeds seem unimaginable, and that is because, in a way, they are. The router that you use is restricted by the speed of the incoming connection from the internet service provider (ISP), which is like a speed limit for your local network. If you wanted to take full advantage of WiFi 6, you would need a faster plan from your ISP to match it. As of now, most plans in India are nowhere close to that level of speed, which ISPs would have to reach by creating next-gen router technology, which realistically, might take years.

When can we get it?

WiFi 6 has already made its big debut this year. The up-to-date, certified standard that newly-made wireless devices can put to use is out, but it will be a while before a ton of options is available. The Samsung Galaxy S10 was the first phone to support WiFi 6, while the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max followed soon after. And now that the WiFi Alliance’s certification program for WiFi 6 devices is officially functional, it’s a no-brainer that the incoming generation of laptops, devices, and WiFi smart home devices will take it up, too. The latest routers and laptops from HP, and Dell, which were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, all have the provisions for WiFi 6 in place.

That said, it is still early for mass-market adoption as there isn’t enough hardware support in place to optimize the speed that comes with WiFi 6.

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