What is WiFi 6: The Next Generation of WiFi Technology

If you’ve heard the term “WiFi 6” being thrown around but aren’t quite sure what it means, you’ve come to the right place. WiFi 6 is the newest and most advanced version of WiFi technology that is set to vastly improve the way we connect and meet the ever-growing demands of our modern digital lifestyles.

Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 is the successor to the previous WiFi 5 standard (802.11ac). It brings a host of new capabilities and enhancements to boost performance, increase bandwidth, lower latency, and improve power efficiency. Here’s a quick overview of what WiFi 6 has to offer:

Higher Data Rates
With higher throughput speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps (compared to WiFi 5’s maximum of 3.5 Gbps), WiFi 6 allows for much faster data transmission. This means higher-quality video streaming, quicker file transfers, and better performance for data-hungry applications.

More Device Capacity
WiFi 6 greatly increases the number of devices that can be connected to a network at once while maintaining top speeds. New technologies like orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) and multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) enable more efficient sharing of the wireless channel.

Better Performance in Dense Areas
These same technologies that allow for more connected devices also help WiFi 6 perform better in congested, interference-prone areas like office buildings, apartments and stadiums. OFDMA mitigates bandwidth loss by splitting traffic into resource units.

Low Latency and Real-Time Applications
With WiFi 6, latency is reduced substantially down to 1 millisecond or lower when necessary. This ultra-low latency opens the door for better support of real-time applications like augmented/virtual reality, voice communications, and advanced manufacturing.

Longer Battery Life
WiFi 6 is more energy efficient for IoT devices through the addition of target wake time (TWT) which determines when a device should sleep or wake based on network needs.

While WiFi 6 won’t replace wired Ethernet for applications that need ultimate performance and speed, it will be a major step forward for wireless connectivity in homes, businesses, public venues and more. Experts predict we’ll see large-scale WiFi 6 rollouts around 2024 as more routers, devices and chipsets that support the new standard hit the market. It’s proving to be well worth the upgrade for improved network capacity, efficiency and speeds across an ever-growing world of wireless devices.