What Is WiFi 6 Router | Does WiFi6 Work With Older Devices | Is WiFi 6 Worth It?

The demand for better-improved internet never stops, and it never will. The more we depend on it, the more it is needed. And that is why the world shall keep seeing the best of WiFi technology every two to three years.

The WiFi needed to be faster and more efficient with bandwidth towards the end of the last decade. And that is when WiFi 6 was introduced to all of us in early 2019. Nobody goes searching for different and newest wifi standards over the browser unless they have been considering buying WiFi 6 or have been intrigued about what Is WiFi 6 router is and what it could offer you.

This article is for you if you are curious about everything that WiFi 6 has to offer and all the changes that it has brought for us. Keep reading, and you shall find out everything there is to know about WiFi 6 before making your purchase.

What Is WiFi 6 Router And Do I Need it

WiFi 6 was one of the most awaited developments when it comes to WiFi Technology. WiFi 6, as the name states, is the 6th generation model of WiFi launched into the market after amazing contributions made by WiFi 5. WiFi 6 is also referred to as 802.11ax because of the technology it supports. 

WiFi 6 is very thoughtfully engineered to boost the performance of the WiFi by improving its throughput speed. Theoretically, they can achieve a very high speed of up to 9.6Gbps, which is a huge step up from WiFi 5 and the speed it offers. 

WiFi 6 offers promising results when it comes to better bandwidth and connectivity in crowded and congested regions. 

You must have definitely heard about these things already, but you are about to find out all the honest merits and demerits that WiFi 6 has brought along. Let’s get to the bottom of it. 

What Does WiFi 6 Mean and why Need It?

Any device or technology is upgraded with an intention to overcome the challenges faced with the existing models. Humankind thrives on improvements and innovation. 

The previous WiFi standards like WiFi 5 still serve their purpose very well. But failed to provide an uninterrupted network when used in very congested areas, and the bandwidth made all the difference here. 

And with the growing pandemic, our dependency on a good network increased, and everybody needed a smooth connection to work, study, play or entertain. And hence the world felt the need to shift to the Brand new WiFi 6 standard. 

WiFi 6 Vs WiFi 5

It’s crucial that you understand the difference between the two to know how exactly WiFi 6 contributes. There are two major differences here that we need to focus on.

The first major difference here is that WiFi 5 uses Single-user MIMO (multi-input, multi-output) technology, whereas WiFi 6 uses Multi-user MIMO technology.

This enables WiFi 6 to connect with multiple devices at the same time instead of connecting with them one by one as the turn comes.

This technology or feature of connecting with multiple users is, of course, not entirely new, but it has been improved with WiFi 6. Let’s say a WiFi 5 router can connect with 4 devices together, and WiFi 6 can connect with 8. 

Another major difference to highlight here is that the WiFi 6 has all-new Target Wake Time Technology, also known as TWT. This enables the WiFi to check in on the connected devices after fixed intervals. Therefore, your WiFi will only send any signals to your devices when there is any data to be sent or received. This helps improve the battery life of your devices. 

Pros That WiFi 6 Brings Along 

WiFi 6 has become the must-have appliance for the home. The users made the best use of it since the pandemic hit, and a lot of them have entirely shifted to WiFi 6 with all the compatible devices and equipment. This investment has proven to be very beneficial for most of the users because of the following benefits- 

  1. Increased data rates or speed: theoretically, WiFi 6 is 250% faster than the WiFi 5 router. It can offer up to 9.8gbps speed without any interruption. 
  2. Improved capacity: WiFi 6 offers a very stable network when connected to multiple devices. Each household has multiple devices per person ready to be connected to the WiFi, and WiFi 6 has made it possible to accommodate all of them at once without hindering the quality of internet provided to each of these devices. 
  3. Improved performance: In congested areas and regions like a crowded and overpopulated neighbourhood or an airport, there is much improved performance. The higher bandwidths make a path for better signals in a very densely populated region.
  4. Improved power efficiency: its all-new TWT technology has made it possible to save the battery life of connected devices. This is a unique benefit that no other generation of WiFi has ever offered. 

Special Features Of WiFi 6 Routers

There are so many new technologies or features that go into creating a brand new model. Similarly, there are newly added features in WiFi 6 that make WiFi 6 unique. 

What Is WiFi 6 Router
  1. It has brand new OFDMA (Orthogonal frequency division multiple access) technologies that make the WiFi 6 more efficient by sharing the channels effectively. 
  2. The next feature is MU-MIMO, also known as Multi-User Multi-Input and Multi-Output, which makes it possible to connect with multiple users simultaneously and enhances the WiFi capacity. It does so by allowing the device to transmit more downlink data altogether and enables the APs(access points) to handle more devices. 
  3. Target Wake Time (TWT) technology helps to save and improve the battery life of the connected devices. 
  4. It also has an IoT-specific operation mode for devices that need lower power and bandwidth, like sensors or automated devices. 
  5. WPA3 helps improve the user’s privacy and security under open networks for IoT devices or any confidential government equipment. 

How Fast WiFi 6 Routers?

As discussed earlier, theoretically, WiFi 6 promises to deliver a speed of 9.8 Gbps. But it might not be possible to achieve that much maximum speed in an ideal situation in real life.

That’s because the possibility is that when you connect multiple devices to the WiFi, the speed of 9.8Gbps gets distributed amongst those devices, and it’s not possible that 1 device gets all that speed.

But let’s not forget that WiFi 5 could provide an overall speed of only 3.5Gbps, and WiFi 6 is much faster even after connecting with multiple devices. Not to forget it’s always going to be tough to calculate one exact number as its constant speed, it will vary depending on different conditions and environment.

Because if you are living in an area where the operator towers are not in your nearby vicinity there’s no WiFi that can get you the perfect speed. It is possible to improve your speed further if you upgrade all your devices with the ones that support the new WiFi 6 standard. 

Is WiFi 6 Backward Compatible?

Whenever there’s a new and upgraded model launched in the market, it comes with a lot of strings attached, like having to buy additional hardware for compatibility with the devices that work on previous models or standards. 

Thankfully that is not the case with WiFi 6. It is easily compatible with all new wireless standards that have been in use before its launch. The devices that support older standards can easily get connected to WiFi 6 and function smoothly, but they won’t be able to experience any new features that the WiFi 6 has brought along. 

Not only that, but if you choose to get the WiFi 6 supporting devices, you don’t have to worry about them failing you in a situation where a WiFi 6 router isn’t available for you; they can easily get connected to WiFi 5 or WiFi 4. 

This ensures that you are not forced to upgrade your routers, devices, or any kind of hardware and hence invest the amount that you are not prepared for. This ensures that a user can have a smooth transition from one standard to another. And this is something a lot of upgraded WiFi standards fail to support.

Now that you have gone through all the reasons why WiFi 6 could work out very well for you, it’s time to get to know of a few demerits that WiFi 6 may have.

Demerits And Challenges Of WiFi 6 

Although WiFi 6 is compatible with all the older WiFi standards, you now understand that it won’t perform at its best. It can only promise a performance ensured by the standard that the device supports. And that is why if you want to use the WiFi 6 to its fullest you need the devices that support the WiFi 6 standard.

Now, these devices are available in the market, but they are expensive. Another major drawback faced with WiFi 6 is that while adjusting the broadcasters setting, you won’t be able to choose a 160MHz channel entirely; you only get the option to choose a base channel of 40MHz or 20MHz.

And after clubbing these and adding some extensions, the hardware will form the frequency of 180MHz. And hence when your router has to use DFS channels, it takes much longer than expected, that is 1min to 10 mins to initiate the process.

And therefore, you may notice that your WiFi is taking a long time to start or reboot. One thing no one really talks about is that if you wish to attain the real speed of WiFi 6 your router needs a minimum of 1 multi-gig LAN port. That is because routers help share the data and with you but they can only do so in a band that it is most capable of.

And hence no matter how much the speed of your WiFi is, your router must be compatible too. If not you will have to keep going with the older speed. While you are trying to wrap your head around all that WiFi 6 has to offer, you must have definitely heard about the latest WiFi 6E standard. 

WiFi 6 VS WiFi 6E: Which One Is Best For You?

The major difference between while WiFi 6 functions on 2.4GHz and 5Ghz frequency bands the WiFi 6E works on 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz frequency bands. And this is what makes all the difference in the world. WiFi 6E includes all the new features in WiFi 6 standard and provides a few additional features like- 

  1. Improved channel capacity because of a wider bandwidth provided by the 6GHz frequency band. 
  2. Unlike WiFi 6 it supports frequency channels of 160MHz, which is the most important for high definition video and audio streaming or any real-time online activities. 
  3. It has no negative effect of interference caused by different microwaves or radio signals. 

Of course, you must think if WiFi 6E offers so much more than WiFi 6, then you should purchase WiFi 6E instead. But don’t get influenced by these differences because there are so many drawbacks to WiFi 6E. 

Unlike WiFi 6, WiFi 6E isn’t compatible with the previous devices and hardware that supports older WiFi standards. WiFi 6E only operates on a 6GHz frequency band and hence needs a Tri-band broadcaster in order to operate on another frequency band.

It is not as flexible and compatible as WiFi 6 and requires a lot of additional budget in order to make it work. Changing all of this hardware isn’t an easy task, and hence its installation is a lot more complicated than that of WiFi 6. 

Can WiFi 6 Provide A Better Range?

The answer to that question is not as simple as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you are going to be using a single WiFi, then most likely, the range of your WiFi 6 will be the same as WiFi 5.

But the higher speed of WiFi 6 compensates for the lower range, and you end up getting a good speed even if you are far from the device. As a result, WiFi 6 works way better with WiFi mesh systems than the WiFi 5 standard. 

Marketing Strategies Behind WiFi 6 

Marketeers find a way to glorify any flaw of the product and often give unclear facts about the same to the consumers. Similarly, WiFi 6 has failed to support the 160MHz and the marketing strategies have done a brilliant job of trying to upsell it.

Strategically they have started calling their routers “80MHz at best WiFi 6 routers 8×8” when they should be calling it 4×4. It raises eyebrows because, in reality, 8×8 clients do not exist. Another thing to note is that WiFi 6 uses multiple frequency bands to supply 160Mhz in total and not a whole.

And therefore a WiFi Tri-band functions on 3 different frequency bands- one 4×4 5 GHz WiFi 6 band, one 2×2 5Ghz WiFi 5 band, and another 2×2 2.4 GHz WiFi6 band. And then a total number is shown to us.  

Is It Worth Purchasing WiFi 6?

WiFi 6 is worth investing in if you are someone who uses multiple devices that need a WiFi connection, which most of us do (more so after the pandemic). This system is compatible with all the existing devices and isn’t getting outdated for many years to come, and hence you can happily use it without having to replace it anytime soon. 

One thing you need to consider while purchasing this WiFi is upgrading your router if it is older than 3 years. Doing this will ensure that you are using WiFi 6 to the fullest.

The WiFi 6 could be more expensive than the older standard like WiFi 5, but it is affordable in comparison to the newer technologies like WiFi 6E. If you look at all these pros and cons carefully, you must have realized that WiFi 6 is definitely worth investing in and improving your daily online experiences.

Living in an era where you cannot go a single day without the internet, where your work and studies all depend on online services, it’s always the best decision to upgrade your WiFi for a seamless experience. 

Wrapping Up With Final Conclusions

This article has walked you through everything that you need to know about What Is WiFi 6 Router only if you are planning to make a purchase. WiFi 6 has great features that could benefit every household, and they come at a reasonable cost.

Setting it up is fairly easy, and you need not worry about replacing your hardware, routers, or devices. This is a cost-effective solution in comparison with WiFi 6E. Like any other product WiFi 6 also has room for improvement but it does not cost the customer more money.

Unlike its superior version, WiFi 6 is far more flexible and compatible. Hope this article helped you understand everything about WiFi and that it answered all the questions. You can go ahead and order your WiFi 6 and have no regrets about it. 

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I am Steven S. Martin, the person behind HDMITechnologies. Personally, I run my tech hub in Texas and used almost thousands of devices for my hub for the last 15 years. I put all my experiences and knowledge to make your decision better and valuable.

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