In 2024, a faster WiFi standard is anticipated. Read up on the most recent technology underlying these pervasive networks in the interim.
You’re probably looking at anything that utilizes WiFi 5 or WiFi 6 if you’re in the market for a new wireless router, smartphone, or other device that uses WiFi to access to the internet. These are now the two most popular WiFi protocols, so before you invest any money, you should determine which one is best for you.
However, WiFi 7 will be available the following year and will be far faster than WiFi 6. But first, let’s examine the main variations between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6.
WiFi 5: What is it?
The fifth iteration of the WiFi wireless local area network standard is known as WiFi 5. Although it is officially known as IEEE standard 802.11ac (IEEE stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the Wi-Fi Alliance retrospectively changed the name to WiFi 5 since it is more memorable and consumer-friendly.
When WiFi 5 was introduced in 2013, it significantly outperformed IEEE standard 802.11n, or WiFi 4. Since then, routers and wireless gadgets that enable WiFi 5 have proliferated. WiFi 5 enables devices to send data at theoretical rates of up to 3.5 Gbps over the 5 GHz wireless frequency range, while it is more likely to achieve speeds of more than 1 Gbps under ideal circumstances.
WiFi 5’s quicker, more dependable speeds were made possible by a variety of brand-new, upgraded technologies. It is multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO), supports channels up to 160 MHz wide, has beamforming capability, which allows a WiFi signal to be steered towards certain receiving devices rather than being broadcast in all directions.
Even yet, WiFi 5, which is over a decade old, is not the most recent wireless standard.
WiFi 6: What is it?
The sixth generation of WiFi, often known as IEEE standard 802.11ax, was introduced in 2019. It was created to outperform WiFi 5 by providing faster speeds across multiple devices, especially in high-density settings like offices, schools, and coffee shops, though this can also be important if you have a lot of smart home equipment along with a few kids trying to use the internet simultaneously on their smartphones and laptops.
Although WiFi 6 is primarily intended to increase WiFi efficiency, it does enable quicker connections. WiFi 6 offers a potential maximum data throughput of 9.6 Gbps, compared to WiFi 5’s 3.5 Gbps.
WiFi 6 supports WiFi 5 and WiFi 4 devices and operates on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless frequency bands. Additionally.Iit supports WPA3 encryption, which makes WiFi connections more secure, And orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OMFDMA), which assigns each device its own channel for more effective data transfer. It also supports Target Wake Time (TWT), which enables devices to conserve battery life by automatically turning off WiFi connections when they are not in use.
Compared to WiFi 5, WiFi 6 enables more devices to connect to the internet quicker and more consistently.
What do WiFi 7 and WiFi 6E mean?
Using the 6 GHz wireless frequency band. An enhanced version of WiFi 6 is WiFi 6E., enabling higher speeds with a shorter range. It became available in 2021.
WiFi 7, also known as IEEE standard 802.11be. Is scheduled for introduction in 2024 and is intended to provide much faster wireless connections with a potential maximum data speed of 46 Gbps.
Which one—WiFi 5 or WiFi 6—is superior?
WiFi 5 is currently seeming more and more antiquated. Even while routers that only support WiFi 5 are still available, doing so prevents you from taking advantage of nearly ten years’ worth of advancements in technology.
Even though WiFi 6E and WiFi 7 both outperform WiFi 6, neither technology is widely used. The first WiFi 7 routers have been released, and you can already purchase a WiFi 6E router. But they are all very pricey. And the majority of gadgets don’t yet support the new standards.
The best choice for the majority of individuals is thus WiFi 6. WiFi 6 equipment is reasonably priced, widely accessible, and probably will get support for many years. Therefore, it would be smart to watch out for the WiFi 6 emblem when buying a router.
Irish freelance writer and photographer Harry Guinness. He divides his time between the French Alps and Ireland. Numerous publications, including The New York Times, Popular Science, One Zero, Human Parts, Lifehacker, among others, have featured Harry’s work. He writes about the intersections between technology, culture, science, and productivity.
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