why Wi-Fi 6 is essential for connected spaces

by AVDG
on August 6th, 2021
Smart Home - AVDG solutions

Today’s smart homes and tech-powered offices depend on Wi-Fi for their connected devices to operate properly. A strong wireless signal, with optimal bandwidth, is critical not only for Internet connections, but also devices like wireless shading, video streaming, smart lighting, touchscreen panels, wireless cameras, and numerous others.

As our connected environments rely more heavily on Wi-Fi, wireless standards have continued to improve. The latest standard, known as Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E, enables speeds up to three times faster than the last generation, in addition to other impressive bandwidth optimizations. So if your home or office is relying on older Wi-Fi, then you’re probably not getting the speed or dependability that you could be.

what is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest standard for wireless local area networks (WLAN). More technically, the standard is referred to as 802.11ax, but is marketed as Wi-Fi 6 or High-Efficiency Wi-Fi.

The previous generation of Wi-Fi was 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). Wi-Fi 6 was officially launched in 2019, though most Wi-Fi 6 devices weren’t available until 2020.

If you haven’t changed your Wi-Fi hardware in a few years (routers, access points, or wireless devices) then your network is probably using Wi-Fi 5 or an even older generation.

what’s the difference between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5?

This chart outlines some of the primary technical differences between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5. But don’t worry if you’re not sure what it all means. Further below, we break down how these features translate into better performance for your wireless network.

Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 5
9.6 Gbps 3.5 Gbps
2.5 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Up to 8 simultaneous Wi-Fi streams 4 streams per band
OFDMA multiuser support OFDM single-user support
MIMO simultaneous uplink/downlink MIMO simultaneous downlink only

 

speed is just a starting point

Is Wi-Fi 6 faster than Wi-Fi 5?

In short, yes. The increased data rates (9.6 Gbps vs. 3.5 Gbps) will allow faster wireless speeds overall. However, an important caveat is that most devices don’t come anywhere close to needing those speeds. As a basic example, to stream movies on Netflix in Ultra HD or 4K, Netflix recommends a connection speed of at least 25 Mbps – a fraction of what Wi-Fi 6 is capable of.

The real speed boost comes when you add more devices to the network and factor in the new 6 GHz frequency band.

The 6 GHz frequency band, cleared by the FCC in 2020, is the biggest Wi-Fi upgrade in 20 years. It opens up a whole new band for wireless devices to communicate, which is huge for congested networks.

In a dense neighborhood or office with many Wi-Fi networks, the addition of a new stream helps to clear up congestion and deliver much faster speeds for early adopters who are first to use that band.

simultaneous streams

In addition to the new 6 GHz band, Wi-Fi 6 allows for more devices to send data simultaneously – up to 8 devices for each wireless access point.

That’s a big enhancement that is especially advantageous for today’s connected homes and offices. It means, for example, that more users can be streaming Netflix simultaneously without buffering or loss of video resolution. But more importantly, it allows the numerous other wireless devices in your environment to connect simultaneously and respond faster. For whole-home/office automation, that could be dozens of devices connected to multiple wireless access points at blazing speeds. So even if one device or user starts hogging up the network, it won’t affect the performance or connectivity of other devices.

longer battery life for wireless devices

Automated environments typically use numerous battery-powered devices, including sensors, wireless locks, cameras, and so on. Wi-Fi 6’s enhancements make connectivity with those devices more efficient, which helps to extend their battery life.

More specifically, Wi-Fi-6 devices reduce the amount of time needed for antennas to stay powered on to transmit signals. That means less strain on the battery, so that wireless devices can go even longer without needing batteries replaced.

upgrade your networking with help from AVDG

AVDG provides robust networking solutions to power your connected devices with the fastest and most dependable technology on the market. We are experts in both AV and IT solutions, which ensures that all your connected technologies are seamlessly unified for maximum performance and reliability.

For more information on upgrading your wireless network to Wi-Fi 6, or taking advantage of today’s automation solutions for residential or commercial environments, request a free consultation today.