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What is WiFi 6? Should You Upgrade?

Wi-Fi 6 Explained

WiFi 6, the upgraded standard in wireless networking, promises faster speeds, improved performance, and enhanced connectivity. As we delve into the intricacies of WiFi 6, it becomes crucial to understand what sets it apart from its predecessors and whether it's time for you to consider an upgrade.

In this article, we will demystify what is WiFi 6, exploring its key features, benefits, and the potential impact it can have on your everyday digital experience.

What is WiFi 6?

WiFi 6, or 802.11ax, introduced in 2019, surpasses its predecessor, WiFi 5 (802.11ac), with faster speeds, enhanced performance in congested environments, and superior power efficiency. Operating across the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, WiFi 6 incorporates features like OFDMA for streamlined data transfer in crowded spaces and bidirectional MU-MIMO, improving support for multiple devices.

With speeds reaching up to 9.6 Gbps, WiFi 6 effectively addresses the escalating demands of our interconnected world, accommodating a growing array of devices and applications.

Note: Reolink introduces its latest security cameras with exclusive dual-band WiFi 6 technology. These cameras transmit data quickly and with high stability on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. You can get a glimpse of these cameras at Reolink CES 2024. You can also stay tuned for information on other Reolink product announcements at CES.

Benefits of WiFi 6

WiFi 6 comes with several benefits compared to its predecessors, let's see the details:

Faster speed

With speeds reaching up to 9.6 Gbps, WiFi 6 promises faster speeds and sets a new benchmark for high-performance wireless connectivity. The combination of advanced technologies such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation allows for more efficient data transmission, contributing to this impressive speed.

Improved security

WiFi 6 ensures top-notch security by employing WPA3, mandated by the WiFi Alliance for a robust setup. Its enhanced capabilities thwart hackers and strengthen encryption, which is especially crucial for securing IoT devices.

Increased battery life

WiFi 6 incorporates a forward-facing development known as Target Wake Time (TWT), offering the potential to extend battery life on compatible devices. TWT facilitates more efficient communication between the router and devices, determining optimal sleep and wake-up times. By activating the device's WiFi radio only when necessary, it minimizes the device's energy consumption and reduces the time spent searching for a wireless signal.

Ultimately, this implementation can significantly enhance the overall battery life of supported devices.

Increasing access point capacity

WiFi 6 significantly enhances access point capacity with support for configurations up to 8x8:8 antennas, enabling more concurrent communication. This advancement is particularly crucial in today's bustling office environments, where the growing number of devices requires a seamless user experience without lag or freezing.

Moreover, WiFi 6 accommodates the increasing deployment of sensor nodes, scanning devices, and other equipment within an expanding workforce, ensuring a robust and efficient wireless infrastructure to meet the demands of modern workplaces.

What Makes WiFi 6 Speed Faster?

WiFi 6 accelerates data speeds by optimizing communication with the myriad devices in modern homes. The use of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) plays a pivotal role by subdividing channels into subcarriers, enabling simultaneous transmission to multiple devices. Unlike previous standards where devices had to wait their turn, WiFi 6 allows a router to communicate with various devices in a single transmission window.

Another contributing factor is Overlapping Basic Service Sets (OBSS), a WiFi 6 feature that alleviates network congestion. By uniquely identifying networks with a "color," OBSS enables devices to ignore non-local traffic, enhancing reliability and reducing latency.

This collaborative effort of OFDMA and OBSS ensures more effective communication in crowded network environments, preserving connection speed and stability as more devices utilize Wi-Fi.

Additionally, WiFi 6 improves Beamforming, a technology that directs data transmission more precisely. While not new to Wi-Fi, the efficacy of Beamforming is enhanced in this generation. Instead of broadcasting data in all directions, the router identifies the location of the requesting device and transmits a localized data stream, contributing to the overall speed improvements of WiFi 6.

How to Get WiFi 6?

Transitioning to WiFi 6 involves a gradual process of device upgrades. Unlike software updates, the new generation of WiFi requires new hardware, so when you replace your mobile phones, laptops, and other gadgets, replace them with WiFi 6 equipped.

However, one intentional step you'll want to consider is investing in a WiFi 6 router. This key piece of hardware is essential for unlocking the benefits of WiFi 6. Even if your devices support the new standard, without a WiFi 6 router, you won't fully harness its potential.

Comparison: WiFi 6 vs. WiFi 5

When considering data transfer speeds, WiFi 6 represents a significant advancement in data transfer speeds, boasting a potential maximum of 9.6 Gbps compared to WiFi 5's 3.5 Gbps.

Moving on to the coverage range, WiFi 6 leads with an extended range of 45 meters, surpassing WiFi 5's typical 20-25 meters. This superiority in coverage is attributed to WiFi 6's improved interference handling, making it the preferred choice for larger spaces where an extended signal reach is paramount.

In device capacity and high-density efficiency, WiFi 6 shines by introducing OFDMA, enabling simultaneous communication with multiple devices. In contrast, WiFi 5 operates sequentially, catering to one device at a time.

Here is a comparison list between WiFi 6 and WiFi 5:

Aspects WiFi 5 WiFi 6
IEEE Standard 802.11ac 802.11ax
Speeds Max 6.9 Gbps Max 9.6 Gbps
Frequency Bands Uses 5GHz Uses 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Max Range 20-25 meters 45 meters
MU-MIMO Yes (4×4) Yes (8×8)
Network Security WPA, WPA2 WPA, WPA2, WPA3
Modulation 256 QAM 1024 QAM
Latency More Less

Should You Upgrade WiFi 6 Now?

Certainly, if your router is over three years old, upgrading to a WiFi 6 router is likely a wise move. Most new consumer devices, including notebooks and tablets, are compatible with WiFi 6. Even if your current devices are running on 802.11ac, it's worth considering the upgrade to a WiFi 6 router.

This WiFi 6 upgrade becomes especially relevant if you've been experiencing network congestion or sluggish performance. WiFi 6 significantly improves speed, efficiency, and the ability to handle multiple devices simultaneously, making it well-suited for modern connectivity demands.

Notably, prices are becoming more affordable for both standalone WiFi 6 routers and WiFi 6-compatible wireless mesh systems, ensuring comprehensive coverage for homes of various sizes.


1. Does WiFi 6 make a difference?

Absolutely, WiFi 6 does make a significant difference in several key aspects of wireless connectivity. It brings faster speeds, improved efficiency in high-density areas, enhanced security, better performance in congested networks, and increased device capacity.

With the potential to reach up to 9.6 Gbps, WiFi 6 ensures quicker downloads and smoother streaming. Its advanced technologies, such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), address the challenges of multiple devices competing for bandwidth in crowded spaces. The implementation of WPA3 enhances security, and features like Target Wake Time (TWT) optimize power efficiency in congested networks.

2. Is WiFi 6 Safe?

Yes, WiFi 6 is considered safe and incorporates enhanced security features compared to its predecessors. One of the notable advancements in WiFi 6 is the mandatory implementation of WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3), which is the latest and most robust security protocol for wireless networks.

WPA3 introduces stronger encryption methods, making it more resistant to cyber threats, including brute-force attacks. It also enhances the security of open WiFi networks, providing a safer environment for users.

3. What is WiFi 6 mesh?

Wi-Fi 6 mesh is a wireless network setup that utilizes the latest WiFi 6 technology in a mesh topology. A mesh network consists of multiple devices, known as nodes or access points, strategically placed throughout a home or office to create a seamless and extended wireless coverage area.


As prices become more accessible, upgrading to WiFi 6, especially if your current router is aging, proves to be a prudent investment. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a remote worker, or a household with numerous connected devices, WiFi 6 delivers a faster, more efficient, and secure wireless experience.

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Yucy, as a proficient editor in Reolink, specializes in the field of home security. Her expertise lies in providing insightful information regarding the latest advancements in security systems, surveillance technologies, and safety measures. Comment and discuss with her!