Wi-Fi 6 – The Next Big Thing in Wireless Technology?

The Galaxy S10 is the first smartphone compatible with Wi-Fi 6. Here's how this ultra-fast wireless technology differs from Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5.

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Until now, Wi-Fi standards were an alphanumeric soup with names such as 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry consortium that manages wireless networking standards, has decided to make it simpler and more precise for the general public by renaming the different generations of Wi-Fi.

The most recent and fastest version of Wi-Fi is 802.11ax, but it is unlikely that we will see devices sold under this name. Instead, the 802.11ax standard will simply be labeled Wi-Fi 6. Why 6? Because it is the sixth generation of the wireless network standard.

During the presentation of the Galaxy S10, Samsung said that its new flagship was compatible Wi-Fi 6. This is the first smartphones to adopt this new standard that will be found gradually in other phones, tablets, TVs, computers laptops, doorbells, washing machines, routers, and other connected devices.

We explain why Wi-Fi 6 is better than previous versions.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has started its new nomenclature from Wi-Fi 4. But it’s easy to rename the first three generations: Wi-Fi 1 is called 802.11a, Wi-Fi 2 as 802.11b and Wi-Fi 3 called as 802.11g.

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The benefits of Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 has a theoretical maximum data rate higher than previous versions that can be up to 9.6 Gbps. But it is unlikely that we will reach this maximum speed in real scenarios. However, the biggest advantage of Wi-Fi 6 is its ability to more effectively manage congested Wi-Fi networks than the current Wi-Fi 5 standard.

Not only does the next generation Wi-Fi 6’s higher data rate give it more bandwidth to distribute across multiple devices, but it also introduces new technologies to help it better manage these devices without slowing down performance.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi access points 6 will be better able to handle more devices at the same time thanks to multiple inputs/outputs (MU-MIMO) and multiplexing (OFDMA). MU-MIMO allows you to transfer more data at the same time, giving a router a more ability to handle a multitude of smart devices simultaneously.

OFDMA increases efficiency and decreases latency and allows more devices to operate on each channel. Wi-Fi 6 has eight MU-MIMO channels, which doubles Wi-Fi 5, giving the router more space to send and receive data from different Wi-Fi devices.

In addition to being able to talk to more devices more efficiently, Wi-Fi 6 improves the range of wireless devices. It is equipped with the Target Wake Time (TWT) function, which optimizes communication with IoT devices so that they can remain idle while still doing their job.

When will it be available?

The first Wi-Fi devices 6 will arrive in the spring. The Galaxy S10 is the first compatible smartphone, but other mobile devices will follow. However, there is a trap: for Wi-Fi devices 6 to operate at optimal speed, they must communicate with a Wi-Fi access point 6. TP-Link has already released Wi-Fi routers 6 and Netgear will launch its Orbi mesh router in the second half of 2019.

In the meantime, Wi-Fi devices 6 will work perfectly with Wi-Fi routers 5 and older. Naturally, they will not communicate as quickly or as efficiently as if it were a Wi-Fi connection.

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