Table of contents:

What is Wi-Fi 6 and why do you need a router with its support
What is Wi-Fi 6 and why do you need a router with its support

New technologies will speed up the Internet and solve many of the problems of modern Wi-Fi networks.

What is Wi-Fi 6 and why do you need a router with its support
What is Wi-Fi 6 and why do you need a router with its support

What is Wi-Fi 6

At the end of 2019, the Wi-Fi Alliance approved the Wi-Fi 6 standard. It replaced Wi-Fi 802.11ac and introduced many changes to the way wireless networks work. Wi-Fi 6 support is expected to go mainstream this year, which means it's time to figure out what benefits it will bring to users.

Wi-Fi 6 is not one technology, but a suite of wireless networking solutions. Some of them are designed to increase speed, while others will improve the performance of busy networks. There are even some that will increase the operating time of connected gadgets. But first things first.

What are the benefits of Wi-Fi 6

Increase in speed

The new standard supports 10-bit coding of information - 2 bits more than the previous one. This means that the data density in the wave section has increased by 25%. Improvements will be noticeable in both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

Standard Number of subcarriers Bit / Symbol 1SS 4SS 8SS
802.11ac 234 (80 MHz) × log2 (256) 433.3 Mbps 1.74 Gbps -
Wi-Fi 6 1 960 (160 MHz) × log2 (1024) 1.2Gbps 4.8 Gbps 9.6 Gbps

Wi-Fi 6 is capable of transferring data at speeds up to 9.6 Gbps, but in practice the values will be more modest: today there are simply no networks with such bandwidth. But even this increase over Wi-Fi 802.11ac will be significant.

CNET has achieved an increase in speed from 938 Mbps to 1,523 Mbps, that is, more than 60%. With new routers, even gigabit networks will become bottlenecks, and providers will have to update their infrastructure.

Improving work with multiple clients

Now routers cannot exchange data packets simultaneously with several devices, which is why they compete for the communication channel. To avoid confusion, the router queues up transmissions, and the receivers are waiting for their data packet.

Router queue
Router queue

But the more clients there are in the network, the more difficult it is to organize its work. Wi-Fi 6 solves this problem by being able to communicate with multiple devices in parallel. This is realized using OFDMA technology. It divides the transmission channel into subchannels and dynamically distributes them between consumers. Thus, up to 74 gadgets can be connected to the network, and all of them will receive data in parallel.

Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6

Unloading networks

In apartment buildings, the networks intersect with each other, which, with high traffic, entails mutual overlaps and significant interference. At one time, to solve this problem, a 5-gigahertz Wi-Fi channel was launched in a pair to 2.4 GHz. This increased the number of non-overlapping channels from three to 25.

However, the number of Wi-Fi networks is growing rapidly, as is the amount of data transmitted over them. Soon, the 5 GHz channel will not be enough, so there was a request for its next expansion.

The most advanced technology in the Wi-Fi 6 standard is Wi-Fi 6E. It supports 6 GHz band for wider bandwidth. This will accommodate up to 59 communication channels and ensure the parallel operation of many networks without interference and delays.

Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi 6E

But increasing the signal frequency has a drawback: the shorter the wavelength, the worse this wave overcomes obstacles in its path, in particular walls and interior partitions. However, Wi-Fi 6 can improve the performance of overlapping networks in a different way, similar to the friend-or-foe system.

Currently, 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers cannot distinguish packets on their own network from packets on a neighbor's network. Because of this, the device waits for the channel to become free, even if it is not loaded with you. Wi-Fi 6 solves this problem with BSS Coloring: Every data packet now comes with a digital signature of a specific network. This will significantly improve the performance of networks in the 2, 4 and 5 GHz bands.

BSS Coloring
BSS Coloring

Energy efficiency

Finally, Wi-Fi 6 will reduce the power consumption of client devices. Each request of the router sets the time period after which the Wi-Fi-receiver will go into sleep mode or continue to work to receive the next data packet. So smartphones, laptops and other gadgets will be able to work much longer.

Should I take a Wi-Fi 6 router now?

Products supporting the new standard are available now. These include almost all flagship smartphones, tablets, and some laptops.

If you have Wi-Fi 6 compatible gadgets, buying such a router makes sense. Available models Honor Router 3, Huawei AX3, Redmi AX5 and Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800 have already been released. True, they are not yet sold outside of China, and firmware without localization is unlikely to allow you to comfortably use them.

In Russia, solutions with Wi-Fi 6 are offered by Asus and TP-Link, but prices bite. So, the ASUS RT ‑ AX56U model will cost 12 thousand rubles, and the TP ‑ LINK Archer AX6000 - 19 thousand. New technologies are always expensive at the start, so it is better to wait until the end of the year with the purchase of a router. By then, there will be more options on the market for the mass consumer.

Popular by topic