6 questions to understand the new wi-fi 6


Why is it called wi-fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the sixth standard that can be used in wireless Internet networks. Each new Wi-Fi standard since 1999 offers improvements over the previous one, both in terms of speed and the quality of the connection and the number of simultaneous connections possible.

The wi-fi standards were not numbered as simply and intuitively until wi-fi 5 made its appearance in 2014, the year in which the names of the old wi-fi standards were retroactively changed (wi-fi). -fi 1, wi-fi 2, etc.).

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the consortium that owns the Wi-Fi brand, decides on these standards.

Here are the technical terms of each generation of wi-fi:

  • Wi-fi 1: 802.11b (1999)

  • WiFi 2: 802.11 (1999)

  • Wi-fi 3: 802.11g (2003)

  • WiFi 4: 802.11n (2009)

  • WiFi 5: 802.11ac (2014)

  • WiFi 6: 802.11ax (2019)

Is it really faster?

In a word, yes.

Its theoretical maximum data transfer speed is about 9.6 Gb / s (gigabits per second), nearly three times faster than the theoretical maximum speed of wi-fi (3.5 Gb / s).

You will most likely never reach these theoretical maximum speeds, since the average download speed in Canada is 86 Mb / s (megabits per second). Considering that a gigabit equals 1000 megabits, these changes should not be perceptible to the average individual.

What's the use then?

It will mainly serve to improve the speed of connection in denser areas, such as an airport, where thousands of people are connected to the same Wi-Fi network at the same time. The microprocessor maker Intel claims that wi-fi 6 will be four times faster than wi-fi 5 in such situations.

With the explosive growth of the Internet of Things and the incessant increase in the number of devices connected to the same home network, wi-fi 6 will also serve to have a better speed and a better connection quality at home.

It will be particularly useful in situations where many people use the Internet extensively, for example watching streaming videos.

Several experts estimate that the average home will contain 50 connected devices (New window) in the next 5 years. It's a quantity of devices that would overload today's average router.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 exposed. Enlarge image (New window)

Samsung's recent phones S10 and Note 10 (seen in the photo) are compatible with Wi-Fi 6.

Photo: Lucas images for samsung / Bryan Bedder

How does he manage to be faster?

Basically, it communicates more effectively with multiple devices at the same time as previous generations of wi-fi.

The old wi-fi technologies were only able to transmit data to one device at a time, so they communicated with each device connected to a network in turn.

This is something that has changed with the arrival of MIMO technology (multiple entries, multiple exits) in recent years. This can transmit data to four devices at a time. Wi-Fi 6 improves this technology so that it can communicate with eight devices at the same time.

Will it be safer?

Yes, it will be safer by default, but that does not mean that old wi-fi standards can not also benefit from this same level of security.

That is, to obtain Wi-Fi Alliance 6 Wi-Fi certification, a device must have the WPA3 security protocol, which was introduced in 2018. This is the most recent mechanism for securing networks. wireless, and makes it more difficult to hack.

The WPA3 security protocol is present in many of the current routers and devices, but remains optional.

When will I be able to use wi-fi 6?

Some wi-fi 6 certified routers have already started to appear on the market, and a larger deployment of the technology is planned for the end of the year.

For the wi-fi 6 works, however, you will need compatible devices. The wi-fi compatibility 6 must necessarily be integrated in the hardware, that is to say that it is impossible to have it simply by performing an update. Take advantage of the wi-fi 6 necessarily passes by the purchase of new devices.

It will be some time before all new connected devices that enter the market are compatible with this new standard of wireless Internet. We can realistically estimate that the average person in Canada will not be connected to this higher Internet until 2021 or 2022.

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