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What you need to know about Wi-Fi 6

Whilst it may sound like something from the distant future, Wi-Fi 6 is readily available now

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Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

With businesses becoming more and more reliant on internet-connected devices, having high-speed and reliable Wi-Fi is now critical for success. 

From VoIP phones and laptops to mobile devices and messaging / video conferencing apps; the modern workplace revolves around a need for a fast and stable internet connection. 

In environments such as hotels, restaurants, and guest houses, failing to offer reliable Wi-Fi can result in dissatisfied customers and cause you to miss out on sales. 

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest technology upgrade to Wi-Fi that can dramatically increase network speeds and provide consistently high performance regardless of how many devices are connected. 

In this article, we take a look at what Wi-Fi 6 is, how it can benefit businesses, and how it compares to the traditional Wi-Fi technology that most businesses and homes rely on.

What Is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax, if we’re getting technical) is the next generation of Wi-Fi that has been widely available to businesses and residential premises since 2019.

Wi-Fi 6 is a backward-compatible upgrade to traditional Wi-Fi which comes with a multitude of additional technologies to improve performance and allow routers to operate more efficiently. 

When using the new technology, routers have a significantly higher theoretical maximum of speed vs. its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. Whilst the theoretical maximum speed is ever likely to be reached; it can be split up between multiple devices. 

As a result, Wi-Fi 6 can offer improved performance where multiple devices are relying on the same internet connection, this makes it ideal for businesses where several people are using the Wi-Fi connection at once.

What Are The Benefits of Wi-Fi 6 To Businesses?

Wi-Fi 6 offers a number of benefits to businesses and households including: 

  • Faster loading speeds – say goodbye to buffering
  • Increased access point capacity – better connection for more devices
  • High performance that allows for streaming in 4K and 8K
  • Target wake up time functionality – uses scheduling to reduce interference from connected devices that aren’t being used; this also extends the battery life of devices
  • Backward compatible – most modern devices are now able to use Wi-Fi 6 without requiring upgrades or replacements

WiFi 6 vs Older Versions 

Here’s how Wi-Fi 6 compares with its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5 on the issues that matter to businesses.

Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 5 
SpeedMaximum throughput of 9.6 GbpsMaximum throughput of 3.5Gps 
Component Streams 12 – more streams equals higher potential connection speed8
Number of Connected Devices With a new feature called orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), your router will be able to serve multiple devices at once within a single channelWi-Fi 5 routers can serve multiple devices but less efficiently and will slow down based on the number of devices being used
Target Wake Up TimeWi-Fi 6 routers use target wake up times to schedule when devices wake up and report information. This saves battery and reduces interference on the networkNo target wake up time functionality is available 

How Do I Get Wi-Fi 6?

Whilst it may sound like something from the distant future, Wi-Fi 6 is readily available now from leading providers for businesses and consumers across the USA

To get Wi-Fi 6, you’ll need to ensure that you have a device and router that supports it; most new devices are Wi-Fi 6 ready, and backward compatibility means that you may even be able to benefit from Wi-Fi 6 without the need to upgrade. 

For businesses who are ready to leverage the power of Wi-Fi 6, it is best to speak with a professional IT company that will be able to get your business set up with a Wi-Fi 6 router and ensure that all your connected devices are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. 

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