In September of 2019, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that the “new Wi-Fi era” had arrived. They were referring to the release of the newest wireless network standard 802.11ax, more popularly known as Wi-Fi 6.
With the release of Wi-Fi 6, wireless connections are getting a ton of new benefits as well as a big boost in security due to the simultaneous release of WPA3, the newly updated security protocol for Wi-Fi.
It’s not often that we get excited about the routers powering our all-important wireless networks. They tend to be one of those pieces of hardware we just rely on to work like it should, and we only take notice when it’s not working properly.
But with the new 6th generation standard for wireless connectivity there is plenty to get excited about, including faster speeds, better device handling, and lower latency. This is going to cause a big uptick in wireless router sales over the next few years.
Between 2017 and 2025, wireless router sales are expected to double and reach $16.2 billion globally.
Should you consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router sooner rather than later? You many want to after you read about all the new features it offers to the wireless experience.
Here’s What You Can Expect with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax)
It’s been five years since Wi-Fi 5 was released in 2014, but a lot has changed in that short time. That was the same year that the Amazon Echo voice speaker was released, and it kicked off the explosion of IoT devices, including everything from smart security cameras to smart lighting.
Back in 2014, there were an average of 1.7 internet-connected device per person. Today, that number has risen to 8 devices per person and by 2022, it’s expected to jump even higher to 13.6 internet-connected devices per person.
So, as you’ll see when you read the features below, Wi-Fi 6 is here just in time to address our expanding internet needs. Here’s what this new standard has to offer.
Up to 40% Faster Speeds
The speed increase with Wi-Fi 6 is expected to be much faster than the Wi-Fi 5 standard. NETGEAR advertises an increase of 40% in data throughput with their 6th generation wireless router.
The router does this through a few different mechanisms that all work together to speed up performance, including:
- Quadrature Amplification Modulation (QAM), which is now increased from being able to transit 8 bits of data at once to 10 bits. This is akin to Amazon buying a bigger delivery truck so it can deliver more Prime packages in one trip.
- 160 MHz channel bandwidth used by Wi-Fi 6 allows for faster connections and is one of the essential features providing a speed boost over older routers.
Can Juggle More Devices at Once
With the jump in IoT devices and their connection needs, Wi-Fi 5 routers can easily get overwhelmed and not serve all devices with the same quality of connectivity. This was one of the issues Wi-Fi 6 was designed to fix.
Routers using the new standard will be able to more easily handle multiple devices vying for an internet connection at the same time.
Some of the features that allow it to more easily juggle more devices are:
- The ability to split upload/download streams so each device can have its own patch of bandwidth instead of needing to share.
- Use of multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) that allows more downlink data to be transferred to a larger number of devices at the same time.
Improved Wi-Fi Security (On Public Hotspots Too!)
One of the constant worries about connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the airport or your neighborhood Starbucks, is that someone could be spying on your traffic and looking to steal your login credentials.
The new WPA3 security protocol that comes in Wi-Fi 6 routers is going to change all that.
- It uses session encryption that will encrypt a user’s traffic even when using a free hotspot with a shared password.
- It also includes what’s called a dragonfly handshake that is designed to stop hackers from downloading a network’s information and using an automated key cracking tool offline, making it much harder for them to breach networks.
- Wi-Fi 6 also comes with enterprise-class security options that offer higher encryption for sensitive data, for companies like accountants or government contractors.
Note: Not all public hotspots will be updating their routers at the same time. So be cautious when connecting because they may not yet be using a Wi-Fi 6 router.
Longer Battery Life for Connected Devices
Another bonus is that your laptop, tablet, or IoT device that is connected to your wireless network won’t run out of battery power as fast.
Wi-Fi 6 includes a feature called Target Wake Time (TWT) that allows devices to schedule their “check-in” times with the router, which significantly improves battery life.
Need Help Upgrading Your Network to Wi-Fi 6?
Quantum PC can help you with all your network needs, both wired and wireless. If you’re interested in upgrading, we can help you evaluate Wi-Fi 6 router models and get set up with a faster and more secure wireless network in no time.
Contact us for a free consultation today. Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.