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An intro to WiFi 6

Published: June 19, 2020

From videos to gaming, our households are consuming more online content than ever before. So, what’s the next digital evolution towards faster and more dependable WiFi? The answer is “WiFi 6” (also known as AX WiFi or 802.11ax WiFi). It’s the new generation of wireless technology that will connect your devices to the internet with greater efficiency. While many people think of WiFi as being unchanging, it has evolved through several generations, bringing improvements in speed and features.

Generation of WiFi Technical name Year released
WiFi 6 802.11ax 2019
WiFi 5 802.11ac 2014
WiFi 4 802.11n 2009
WiFi 3 802.11g 2003
WiFi 2 802.11a 1999
WiFi 1 802.11b 1999

WiFi 6: The antidote for busy networks

The 2020 household

What does the modern household look like? Dad is in the kitchen making dinner, streaming a recipe on YouTube while mum is finishing up a Zoom video conference call for work. Their son is locked away in his bedroom playing online video games, all while listening to Spotify, downloading a new game and broadcasting live video to a group of friends. Meanwhile his sister is watching Netflix while video chatting with her classmates from school. At the same time wireless sensors, cameras and smart lights have alerted the family that the Johnsons just arrived at the door for tonight’s dinner. While all this activity might have overwhelmed a previous generation of WiFi, thankfully WiFi 6 has many features to serve our increasingly digital lifestyles. It’s much smarter, better at multi-tasking and performs well in crowded places.

A faster multitasker

The speed and range of your WiFi signal is important, and WiFi 6 offers some nice improvements over the current version of WiFi. The most impressive thing about WiFi 6 is it allows many more devices to use the internet at high speeds, improving those speeds three or four times over. The bigger your growing collection of connected devices is, the more noticeable the upgrade will be.

Offering a smarter approach

WiFi 6 devices have the built-in smarts to keep your device in an efficient ultra-low power ‘sleep mode’, where it only wakes up exactly when it is needed to send or receive data. This means you may find your smart phone or tablet has a bit of extra battery life to keep you going for longer. WiFi 6 smart home devices and sensors will use less power too, so they’ll run for longer between charges.

Better performance in a crowd

If you’ve ever attended a large concert, you may have experienced an extra delay or even a complete failure to connect as you attempt to upload your selfie to social media. This is because a lot of devices are likely competing for their space on your phone carrier network. If you have more than a few devices in your home, you can have similar problems with your WiFi. WiFi 6 overcomes issues like this, adding extra stability to every connection. You’ll have less problems with your devices dropping off the WiFi network and, if you live in an apartment building, you’ll be less likely to compete with your neighbours’ WiFi.

WiFi 6: It’s here, yet still to become mainstream

It’s early days for WiFi 6. To get the benefits you’ll likely need to purchase new devices with the hardware built-in. Right now you may pay a premium price for these gadgets, but as with all technology, they will become more affordable over time. Your devices will also need to be accompanied by a new router that shows the WiFi 6 logo or otherwise shows the WiFi version number “802.11ax”.

Although WiFi 6 is in the future, you don’t need to wait to have fast, reliable WiFi where you live. Get in touch with our experts for an in-home assessment and we’ll get you on the path to a much better internet experience right across your home.