Wi-Fi 6 and What it Means for Businesses

Wi-Fi modem at Louisville Geek

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of wireless internet technology that will be available at the end of 2019, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Some capable routers and devices are already on the market. However, the final version of the technology is not finalized, and if large changes are made in the coming months there could be some issues with devices purchased now.

If you are wondering what happened to the previous 5 versions of Wi-Fi, they were always in use, but they had much more complicated names. The previous version of Wi-Fi was called 802.11ac. Understandably, this name was not marketed to the masses to avoid confusion. With the next version being such a large step forward, the naming standard is being simplified. You may even start to see version numbers that appear next to the Wi-Fi icon on your device when connecting to a network.

Since there is no one company in charge of wireless internet, how did the technology for Wi-Fi 6 come to be? Well, it was developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is the largest association of technical professionals in the world. They exist essentially to advance electronics and electronic engineering. The other major player is the Wi-Fi Alliance. This is a non-profit organization made up of a group of companies all around the world. They are the people who decided to simplify the naming process and are in charge of overseeing the roll-out of Wi-Fi 6.

What is Improved?

So, what is so much better about Wi-Fi 6 that warrants the buzz and the renaming? Obviously, the newer version has to be faster. It will be capable of much more efficient data encoding than the previous version. This means a 37% faster peak speed, so with one device connected to a network and no interference it is 37% faster. But speed isn’t even the main improvement of this new version.

Perhaps the biggest improvement about Wi-Fi 6 is its capacity for multiple devices. More data can be transferred at once with the new technology, giving much better performance on crowded networks with multiple devices. Part of the reason is that there are now double the number of spatial streams, previous technology had 4 and there will now be 8. Additionally, the channels for information transmission (how data is transferred from routers to devices) can be divided into sub channels, allowing them to send and receive data simultaneously.

Your devices should also have more efficient power usage with the new Wi-Fi. With the new technology, your device can put its Wi-Fi function in sleep mode more often, when it is not in use. Your phone, laptop, or tablet will last longer despite the only difference being its connection to the new Wi-Fi.

What Does it Mean for Businesses?

With improved wireless internet coming soon, businesses should be excited. It means less reliance on a wired internet connection. More connections and more bandwidth could allow some businesses to rely solely on Wi-Fi for their internet connection. It also means happier customers. Those who visit your business will have faster and more consistent internet connections. To get a Wi-Fi 6 connection when it comes out, you will need a capable sender and a capable receive. This means a router and a device with Wi-Fi 6 enabled. When shopping for new devices in the coming months, look for models that can operate on Wi-Fi 6.