What To Expect From Wi-Fi 6 in 2019

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation wireless technology which will connect you to the Internet faster and more efficiently.  Wi-Fi 6 is a new consumer-friendly name for 802.11ax which will be replacing 802.11ac (known as Wi-Fi 5 as from October 2018), on which most current routers and devices run. The purpose of the renaming was to make the technology easier to remember and understand, and to align it with phone naming standards like 3G, 4G and 5G. It was designed to offer a better Wi-Fi performance in device-crowded environments, as well as provide several additional benefits.

When will Wi-Fi 6 be released?

It has not been officially launched yet, but is expected to be released in late 2019. Technology producers have been building support into devices as a means of future-proofing their products. For example, new laptops and routers from HP, Dell and Asus support this new standard. When Samsung revealed its Galaxy S10 smartphone, Wi-Fi 6 was included in their flagship products.

How fast is Wi-Fi 6?

As we consume more bandwidth-demanding apps, games and videos with laptops and smartphones, faster Internet is constantly in demand and Wi-Fi 6 is about to meet that demand. It is predicted that the theoretical maximum speed will be 9.6 Gbps which is up from 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5. In reality, it is unlikely to ever reach that speed in actual Wi-Fi use and it is unclear if it will ever be needed. Additionally, the 9.6 Gbps can be split-up across a whole network of devices, meaning more potential speed for every device on a network.

Specs and Performance

Wi-Fi 6 is not just about a simple speed boost. There will be a more subtle changes and impacts, and its benefits will be determined over time. Wi-Fi 6 is all about improving the boosting network speed when several devices are connected, instead of only the speed of individual devices. Considering that the average household has about five to nine Wi-Fi devices connected, Wi-Fi 6 will be a significant improvement. Specifically, with smart homes on the horizon, it is predicted that 50 devices per home on average will be connected wirelessly within several years. Those added devices will slow down network speed since a router can only communicate with so many devices at once. Wi-Fi 6 allows routers to communicate with up to 8 devices at once, sendingdata to multiple devices in the same broadcast, and supports schedule check-ins with the router.  Added benefits of Wi-Fi 6 are improved router battery life and security.

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How do I get Wi-Fi 6?

The simple answer is that you will need to buy new devices or devices that support Wi-Fi 6 since it relies on new hardware, not just software updates. However, Wi-Fi 6 networks are compatible with devices designed for Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5, dating back to the early 2000s, but don’t expect your old laptop or smart TV to get a sudden leap in performance.

New devices will start coming with Wi-Fi 6 by default. As you replace your phone, laptop, and game consoles over the next five years, they include the latest Wi-Fi versions. You will need a new router only if your home has several Wi-Fi-connected smart devices and speed slows down. If your router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see any benefits, no matter how many Wi-Fi 6 devices you buy.

Should I upgrade right away?

Devices supporting Wi-Fi 6 are just being released, but you can already buy expensive high-end Wi-Fi 6 routers. Wi-Fi 6 will start arriving on high-end phones in 2019. Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor, the Snapdragon 855, includes support for Wi-Fi 6, and it’s destined for the next wave of top-of-the-line phones. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note 10 is one of the first phones with the new processor, and it supports the newest generation of Wi-Fi.  Apple’s new iPhone 11, Samsung’s recently released Galaxy Note 10 and Dell’s latest XPS 15 laptop supports Wi-Fi 6. Other companies, including HP, Intel, and XFINITY, have also expressed support for Wi-Fi 6 in the coming months.

Netgear has released a new family of routers which feature the industry’s latest Wi-Fi 6 standard with four times increased data capacity to handle growing home network connectivity demands. The new Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 routers and Orbi Wi-Fi 6 system will make sure that you’re prepared for this major technology shift. Wi-Fi 6 routers will deliver faster connectivity and greater capacity to handle the many devices for your smart home and devices.

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