We live in an age where wireless communication is almost a necessity for living. Practically everything we do these days, from communication and work to entertainment and even daily chores, rely largely on some kind of wireless network.
As consumers, we have a lot of options for improving our connectivity. We can upgrade our routers or purchase new equipment. We can also switch to a higher plan with our internet provider. But the speed will still be limited by certain factors, like the number of gadgets that share the same connection, or the capacity of the Wi-Fi network in use.
The Evolution of Wi-Fi
Since the invention of the wireless network, now commonly known as Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity, different standards have been developed to pertain to different speeds, ranges and frequencies. So far, there are 6 Wi-Fi standards in place, which are the 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and most recently, 802.11ax. These standards are also respectively known as Wi-Fi 1 up to Wi-Fi 6.
In many parts of the world today, Wi-Fi 5 is still the technology that is most popularly used by networking devices for both home and office use. But then again, Wi-Fi 5 was already introduced in 2013 so many of the newer routers now make use of Wi-Fi 5, which is faster and has a broader range.
Recently, however, the Wi-Fi Alliance has come up with the newest generation of Wi-Fi so far, which is the Wi-Fi 6. The question on many people’s minds now is whether the introduction of this newest version would cause the demise of the Wi-Fi 5 market or not.
Improvements of Wi-Fi 6 over Wi-Fi 5
Speed is one of the main advantages of Wi-Fi 6 overall the earlier Wi-Fi standards. In ideal circumstances, Wi-Fi 6 offers a roughly 50% performance boost over Wi-Fi 5. It also has better signal encoding that allows the transfer of more data in a single transmission, causing speed have a great improve.
Wi-Fi 6 also has a target wake time feature that lets a device know when to turn off and turn on its Wi-Fi radio to handle transmissions. This new feature, which is not available in Wi-Fi 5, enables devices like smartphones and laptops to extend battery life because the Wi-Fi radio is automatically turned off when not needed.
When it comes to interconnected devices, Wi-Fi 6 has a greater capacity. It can also support larger data transmission to multiple devices connected to the network all at the same time, without affecting the quality of connection that each device experiences.
In crowded areas like malls or airports, Wi-Fi is known to be hard to connect due to very poor signal. Wi-Fi 6 has provided a solution to this problem with the use of the orthogonal frequency division multiple access or OFDMA technology. This is a significant improvement over the OFDM technology used in Wi-Fi 5.
Is Wi-Fi 5 on Its Way Out?
Despite these improvements on Wi-Fi 6, which are quite impressive and certainly notable, Wi-Fi 6 will not necessarily eliminate Wi-Fi 5 from the scene. In fact, for the average individual, there really is no need to upgrade since Wi-Fi 5 actually provides very well for all the connectivity needs for most homes and workplaces. Case in point, practically all the best-selling routers on Amazon still support Wi-Fi 5.
If you are in a situation where you need the least possible latency, or if you are in an extremely and constantly crowded area where connectivity is next to impossible, then you should consider an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6. Otherwise, it would be a more practical choice to stay with Wi-Fi 5. To ensure that you get the best wireless experience, choose a reliable Wi-Fi 5 router like the Linksys Max-Stream AC1900, the TP-Link Deco Whole Home, or the Synology RT2600ac.