Skip to main content

What is Wi-Fi 6 and How to get one for yourself ? Does your Phone/Router Have Wi-Fi 6 ?

5G Vs. WiFi 6: What it Means for IoT in 2019
It's been 5 years since the last revision in the Wi-Fi standards took place and tried to solve some of the issues at that time. As is known, the number of people with access to internet have almost doubled in the last 5 years, the congestion in the network has increased proportionately. With more congestion, comes lesser Speeds! If you're thinking that's exactly why we are moving towards 5G right ? You wouldn't be wrong in saying that, but 5G is based on cellular network which is not exactly meant for indoor internet usage and moreover it's power hungry. That's why we use Wi-Fi ( which stands for Wireless Fidelity ) which is more reliable and provides deterministic performance. In 2015, Wi-Fi routers started shipping with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support that is the Wi-Fi 5 standard (IEEE 801.11ac). What that means is that 5GHz band gives you faster internet but shorter range and 2.4GHz gives more range but lesser speeds. There was one major problem with this though - As the number of users connected to the router increased, the speed on each device effectively reduced! Comment down below if you have ever faced this issue ;). Well, Wi-Fi 6 makes a brave attempt to solve this major issue.

Wi-Fi 6 as a standard was introduced in 2017 and there have been lot of vendors who had started shipping devices with Wi-Fi 6 hardware (aka chip aka silicon) since 2018.

So, what are the top features that would affect you directly ? 

1. Pumped Up Speed (Oh Yeah!) : 

    The improvement in the speeds doesn't really do justice to the dramatic title, but there's definitely some. Technically, the speeds could go up to 9.6Gbps which is 3.5 Gbps more than the previous at around 6Gbps (Wi-fi 5). Though that's just a theoretical value, the actual speed would be fraction of that. Basic math tells us that with increase in  theoretical value, the percentage of that would be also higher => Higher Speeds.

I won't bother you with technical terms like MU-MIMO, OFDMA, TWT, Spatial Frequency reuse, Trigger-based Random Access and Guard Interval Duration. Simply put, the speed per se has not increased ,but what has increased is the no.of bits that are effectively sent on one packet of data. Previously, a packet of data would be sent out dedicated to one particular device - like phone or laptop. With Wi-Fi 6 , you can send the data to multiple devices in a single packet. 

     The Wi-Fi 6 also ensures that there's more room for the data to travel. Assume in the previous case of Wi-Fi 5 or lower, we had 2 lanes for the data to travel - to and fro. Now, the roads have had an infrastructure upgrade and now there's 4 lanes for data to travel on both sides. That means lesser congestion and what did we say about congestion earlier ? - Lesser the Better. With the 4 lanes analogy, what it means is that we would have 4x more bandwidth. 

2. Everyone Gets Same Speed in the Network : 

    This is one of the major fixes that comes with Wi-Fi 6 and frankly I was waiting for this more than other features. With this feature the speed that you get on you device won't be hindered with the number of people on the network. To be precise, the speeds will be maintained with up to 8 people on the network. Any thing more than that, you would start noticing a slight degradation in the performance. 

As you can see from the below image, as compared to Wi-Fi 5 , the same "truck" now can carry data for multiple destinations ( Multiple Users ) instead of One dedicated destination (1 User). This ensures that the trucks are more efficient meaning the bandwidth is being used effectively. 
What is WiFi 6? (802.11ax) | Comtrend

3. Your Phone Will be Lot More Power Friendly: 

What is WiFi 6? The Fastest WiFi Technology! - Tech2Craft
    With Wi-Fi 6 , a new clever trick has been used so that the device that runs on battery can last longer. All the feature does is that, the Wi-Fi router and your device make a deal among themselves as to at what times the device would require data from Wi-Fi. All the other times, the device would go into the sleep mode or turn off the antennas ( Which are the main reason for draining the power, by the way ). This is a clever feature , but is not really useful in cases where we constantly are hooked on to the internet. For example, laptop or desktop PC ( like anyone uses it even now :P). 

Now, that we have seen the main features of the Wi-Fi 6 , there are quite a few other features but not as impactful as these, we will move on to address the question that pertains to US - the Users :

Does My Current Device Support Wi-Fi 6 ? 

Most laptops or PC's bought before 2020 would not support Wi-Fi 6. With Smartphones, you may be lucky though. If you own any of the Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 , Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series (even "Lite" models included) then Congratulations - your phone supports Wi-Fi 6. For iOS users, if you own any of iPhone 11 series ( all variants ) then you too can get on the Wi-Fi 6 bandwagon. Some of the other Android Flagships that support the Wi-Fi 6 are - Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei P40, Oppo Reno3 5G, Oppo A91, Xiaomi Mi 10 5G, Xiaomi Black Shark 3, Vivo iQOO 3 5G, ZTE nubia Red Magic 5G, Sony Xperia 1 II, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and LG V60 ThinQ. 

Now, here comes the Twist - your Wi-Fi Router also needs to support    Wi-Fi 6 ! Again, most Routers launched before 2019 do NOT support Wi-Fi 6. If you want to know whether your support has it, just search for "Wi-Fi 6" logo on the box or search for the Wi-Fi model on Google. It would look something like this - 

Is it really worth Buying (Now) Expensive Wi-Fi 6 Router ? 

May be. It really depends on the number of people using it and the demand for continuous low latency network. If that's not your criteria, then you could as well wait for 2021 when the prices for routers with Wi-Fi 6 would reduce and most other devices like - Laptops, Smartphones, Cars, Tablet PCs would by default support Wi-Fi 6 out of the box. 

What other people would Benefit with Wi-Fi 6 ? 

IoT technology stack - IoT devices, sensors, gateways and platforms

Well, we have always heard news about how IoT devices require low latency (high speed) and low power networks. With Wi-Fi 6, we could achieve that and reduce the gap between 5G speeds and Wi-Fi 6 speeds and ensure seamless connectivity.

Crazy Wi-Fi 6 Router Best Price in India

Cheapest Wi-Fi 6 Router in India

Are there any Improvements in Security ? 

Computer security - Offering software for snooping to governments ...

I think this question is the most 2020 thing to ask , where one is really concerned about getting hacked easily. And to that the simple answer is - Absolutely! For almost a decade the WPA2 security protocol was being used and most of us would have seen it at some point in our daily life. Wi-Fi 6 routers would by standard have WPA3 security out of the box. What this means is that one person cannot snoop on another's traffic or internet usage even though they are connected to the same network. It also introduces 192 Bit encryption per individual access to router which makes it further difficult to snoop data. 

I think that's a good summary of the Wi-Fi 6 and what it would mean to you - What do you think ? Let me know if you have further questions on this. Till then Stay Safe

Check out other interesting posts here : 


Popular posts from this blog

Don't think about Buying Tablet in 2020! They are going to be Dead!

Remember the time when the "mobile" phones were not "smart" yet and had this really compact form factor with durability such that they can only be destroyed by some natural calamity ? Yep, those times were not far from today ..just a decade ago and we didn't have to think about the phone falling off a cliff, or catching fire or trampled under a car or drowned into a sea! Then there was this highly delicate and expensive loner phone called the "iPhone" which required such extreme care, for you wouldn't be able to afford its maintenance! This phone was one of the first ones to start a trend of increasing the display size over the year and that led to hilarious memes as below Being mocked by their competition only strengthened their move and Apple went onto release the iPhone 11 Pro Max or Max Pro (whatever!) which was 6.5 inch long and was close enough to the prediction in the memes. This time it wasn't getting mocked but was

How to Pair Huawei Watch GT2 with Any Headphones within 1 min - the Perfect Hack

The Smartwatch and wearables industry has seen the biggest spike in 2019-2020 time frame. Starting off with Apple Airpods to may other brands trying to mimic the design and provide low cost alternatives the users have graciously welcomed each and every product in the line. There is a fan base for the neckband type, another base for the "TWS" (Truly Wireless) Earbuds and there's altogether separate base for the Wireless Headphones category. Then we saw an upsurge in the health monitoring wearable devices which was popularized by Fitbit and then in the last couple of years by Apple and Xiaomi. The current market has many players and there's no clear winner in terms of market share for the smartwatches / health monitoring wearables. Huawei has somehow missed the train and joined in late for the party. But as they say in Hindi - " Der aaye Durust Aaye .. "  which means - Came in Later But in a mint condition .. Huawei launched its first smartwatch the

Sony Xperia 1 II - the Lazarus of Smartphones

Well, well, well... Look who's back on the Street ! He's tall ..he's strong..he's Loaded ! That's exactly what the Xperia 1 II is all about ! Sony can well be termed as the "Lazarus"  for coming back from the dead - quite literally. It was standing against all the odds with likes of Samsung, Apple, One Plus in Premium and Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Huawei in the Mid Segments, Sony had no where to land and with this particular model they have reaffirmed their faith in their Premium segment and its definitely Working ! I know the naming is weird (seriously who names their product "one" "two" ) Check out their official Video: Credits : Sony Youtube Channel Credits : NDTV Mind you , this is the first smartphone with a 21:9 4K HDR OLED 6.5" Display with 90 Hz Refresh Rate - let that sink in. Sony has used its experience in its Television Display tech and dropped it straight up on the Xperia 1 II. With the notch nicely hid