Should You Get a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

Should You Get a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

Woman plugging ethernet cable into an Orbi Wifi Router
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It’s funny to think how demanding we are of our Wi-Fi in 2020. If you go back a few decades, you might remember how all you could access was your home network in all its snail-like dial-up glory. Sure, there was probably internet at your work, but let’s get serious. The user experience was about as enjoyable as a kick in the teeth. Over the years, digital transformation has been absolutely mind-blowing. You’ll be sharing stories with future generations about how all you had was regular Wi-Fi that adhered to older standards. Never mind that Wi-Fi was the catalyst for the entire Digital Revolution. Seriously, the rate at which technology has evolved is completely unprecedented. Because we’re all in the midst of this constant change, it’s sometimes tough to have perspective on all this. In fairness, it’s human nature to grow accustomed to creature comforts. Therefore, the incredible existence of high-speed internet seems less impressive. So, standard Wi-Fi—something that’s usually quick and reliable—is relatively blasé to the average discerning consumer. At this point, it’s considered a basic necessity. For those pushing their internet usage a little further than some social media browsing and the odd Netflix binge, something more is required. The fact is, the world is getting more digital by the day. As it becomes more commonplace to do everything online, Wi-Fi must become superpowered to function at its peak. Fortunately, with the Wi-Fi 6 router, you can have internet service that can withstand these increasing user demands. 

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Referred to as the “latest generation of Wi-Fi technology,” Wi-Fi 6 is uniquely designed to enhance network capacity. It also drastically bolsters your home network’s performance. With Wi-Fi 6, your connection will be more reliable and significantly faster than previous iterations. This means that you’ll offset buffering while streaming. You’ll enjoy lightning-quick downloads without slowing down your internet when adding more smart home devices.

What’s different? Why does it matter?  

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest industry upgrade, evolving from its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. Let’s examine how this next step in Wi-Fi evolution sets itself apart from all previous iterations and why that matters.

Faster speeds

Okay, by saying Wi-Fi 6 is faster, we’re already beating a dead horse. Releasing an upgrade wouldn’t even make sense without speed improvements. However, it’s not the fact that Wi-Fi 6 is faster than those that came before it that’s so impressive. The jaw-dropping component is more to do with HOW MUCH quicker it runs. Allow us to further illustrate Wi-Fi 6’s speed with some context:
  • For data transfers, maximum potential speeds are up to 40% faster than Wi-Fi when using a router with a single device:
    • This is accomplished through Wi-Fi 6’s more efficient data coding, which leads to higher throughput.
  • Wi-Fi 6 packs more data into the same radio waves as Wi-Fi 5:
    • Chips encoding and decoding these signals get more powerful, allowing them to handle the extra work.
  • Wi-Fi 6 increases speeds on 2.4GHz networks:
    • Most of the industry has shifted to 5GHz Wi-Fi for less interference, but 2.4GHz is superior for penetrating solid objects.
    • Beyond that, cordless telephones and wireless baby monitors have been phased out, meaning there’s negligible interference for 2.4GHz.

Better battery life

The battery life on your smartphone, laptop, and other devices increases when using Wi-Fi 6. This benefit stems from a new “target wake time (TWT).” Imagine you’re talking on your smartphone. TWT capabilities mean your device is told precisely when to put its Wi-Fi radio to sleep. Then, it’s triggered to wake up when receiving the next transmission. Thus, since the Wi-Fi radio remains in sleep mode longer than it does in older versions, power is conserved. Traditional Wi-Fi can be a massive drain on battery life. Depowering it, strategically, removes much of that burden.

Congestion improvements

Say you’re situated in a crowded area with multitudes of Wi-Fi-enabled devices. We’re talking stadiums, airports, malls, and hotels, where hundreds—if not thousands—of people at a time are using public internet. This tends to muddy up the works and bog down your speed. With Wi-Fi 6, there’s an array of technological advancements for overcoming congestion. In fact, in these environments, it’s believed the new standard increases the average speed by four times that of previous iterations. Even at home, this can pay dividends. You could put every single feasible Wi-Fi-powered device in your living space on the network, and you’d still experience rapid connection speeds. It’s even more valuable in dense apartment complexes where you might be competing with your neighbours for bandwidth.

Is Wi-Fi 6 backwards compatible? 

An appropriate comparison to add some context to this question is inquiring about whether you could play PS3 or PS4 games on your PS5. It’s an entirely reasonable consideration since it’s a giant pain in the rear end when you need to upgrade other products for compatibility reasons. It’s not much of a boon for the user. Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 is backwards compatible with older standards. So, that iPhone 5 you’re using or that MacBook Pro you bought 7 years ago can still connect to the internet. There is a caveat in all this. While there won’t be any problems with functionality stemming from older devices, those devices won’t necessarily benefit from the Wi-Fi 6.

How do I get Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is available, but there are still some limits with usability options. All the same, the following brands are already selling it to customers: Furthermore, there are Wi-Fi 6 mesh options, such as Netgear Orbi, Arris SURFboard, and TP-Link Deco lineups. On top of that, the Samsung Galaxy S10, the new iPhone 11, and the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max all support Wi-Fi 6. With the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification program for those devices being operational, the next generation of laptops, streaming devices, and Wi-Fi smart home products will also support the tech. Note that owning a Wi-Fi 6 router and Wi-Fi 6 devices such as those listed above will allow you to reap Wi-Fi 6’s full benefits.

Conclusion

No longer should your internet usage be hampered by large crowds using the same Wi-Fi service. Nor should you suffer slow streaming times because you’ve got too many devices hooked up to your internet. Plus, these technologies mustn’t sap your devices’ batteries with reckless abandon. The Digital Revolution has reached the stage where Wi-Fi needs to meet those needs, providing optimal functionality no matter the situation. It appears that Wi-Fi 6 might be what everyone’s been clamouring for. It’s the next step in the Digital Revolution, and it’s taking society one step closer to the technological promised land. While it is available, this new standard hasn’t yet reached its full potential. The rest of the world is still trying to catch up. However, once products are up to speed (pardon the pun), there will be no stopping Wi-Fi 6. You’ll find yourself enjoying lightning-quick service without any connection road bumps or buffering-related hiccups. Why not get in on the ground floor? Look into the many available options and see if they’ll improve your current experience as an internet user.
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