What Is A Wifi 6 Router

Can You Upgrade Your Pc To Wi

What is WiFi 6? (& Why Your Next Router Should Have It)

Upgrading a PC with Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 is harder than you might hope.

Wi-Fi 6 USB adapters exist, but theyre rather expensive and can be hard to find in stock. , about three times more than a typical Wi-Fi 5 USB adapter. Ive also read that this D-Link model uses a Realtek Wi-Fi adapter that does not support the fastest wireless channels available to Wi-Fi 6, so it may not perform as well as youd hope.

Desktops have more choice in adapter upgrades and typically pay less. MSIs internal Wi-Fi 6 adapter is about $40. Most desktop adapters use the same Intel wireless adapters found in laptops, which perform well, and have an external antenna that can be moved to a better position. Installing an internal adapter means youll have to open your PCs case, however, and may void your warranty.

Its possible to replace the internal Wi-Fi adapter on many PC laptops. Wi-Fi adapters often plug in to a laptops motherboard and can be replaced. This is a difficult install for most people, though, and some laptops are not designed to be opened. As with a desktop, this upgrade may void your warranty.

How Can You Tell Wi

Other than knowing your own hardware, being able to tell which Wi-Fi standard you’re connected to while in public can be made easier with new interface icons. This will depend on the device that’s being connected to Wi-Fi, but you can expect most modern phones, laptops, and tablets to jump on board before long.

When connecting, it’s expected that you’ll see a standard Wi-Fi icon with a number included, which will denote which standard is being used.

What Is Wifi 6

WiFi 6 is basically faster internet, which means quicker downloads, more reliable streaming, and even accelerated load times for all your devices and anything going through them.

Technically, its the next generation of WiFi standard classification, as certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Yes, theres a Wi-Fi Alliance. While they dont make law or save the universe as it might sound, they do certify devices to ensure the quality and speeds were supposed to be getting out of our gear.

For the WiFi 6 evolution, you can expect higher data rates, increased capacity for simultaneous information, better performance for multiple devices connected at the same time, longer range, and improved power efficiency.

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How Fast Is Wifi 6

WiFi 6 can theoretically achieve maximum speeds of 9.6 Gbps , which is up from 3.5 Gbps on WiFi 5. However, you probably wont ever come close to achieving those speeds in real life.

If you want to find out how fast your current WiFi connection is, check out our guide on how to test your WiFi speed.

While you might not use all 9.6 Gbps with one device, it can be split up across your devices. That means each of your devices will be faster. However, you can only experience faster speeds with WiFi 6 if you have a router and devices that support the new standard.

One reason WiFi 6 is so much faster than previous standards is because the new standard has a technology called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access . This technology allows your WiFi transmissions to deliver data to multiple devices at once.

If you imagine a WiFi 5 signal as a delivery truck, it would only be able to deliver one package to one location at a time. However, with OFDMA, a Wi-Fi 6 signal is more like a tractor-trailer that can deliver multiple packages to several different locations in one trip.

This means OFDMA can significantly lower latency because high-priority traffic wont have to wait in line behind lower priority traffic. So, you wont experience any buffering while streaming a movie if someone else starts using the internet in another room.

Who Is Wifi 6/6e Best For

The First 802.11ax WiFI 6 Routers are Now Shipping for $350 and Up

Because Wi-Fi 6 hardware is generally pretty expensive, many are hesitant to make the switch outright. Still, some of us may benefit more than others when it comes to taking advantage of Wi-Fi 6s network capabilities. For instance, households that have higher-than-average data needs may find that making the switch sooner than later is preferablesuch as gaming households or those with tons of devices.

Wi-Fi 6e, on the other hand, is even more expensive than Wi-Fi 6 as far as investments go, and may not be worth the cost just yetparticularly because most devices dont yet support the technology. There may be an argument for future-proofing your network as things shift in 6es favor, but standard Wi-Fi 6 will likely be perfectly suitable for even the heaviest of data users for the time being.

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Should You Upgrade To A Wi

As with all emerging tech, theres an important condition for the burgeoning Wi-Fi 6 ecosystem to work wonders: Your laptop, phone, TV and other smart home devices need to also support Wi-Fi 6 in order to take full advantage of its improvements. Some devices, including the The Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 12, are good examples of mainstream tech thats taken on Wi-Fi 6 capabilities but your house is likely full of mostly Wi-Fi 5 devices. Over time, as you upgrade all the tech in your home, youll start to see more benefits.

In addition, there’s already a new iteration of Wi-Fi 6 on the horizon called Wi-Fi 6E that could be even more exciting than Wi-Fi 6 since it allows devices to use portions of the wireless spectrum previously locked down by the FCC. Like Wi-Fi 6, though, it’ll require a new router and new devices, which should start rolling out by the end of this year and pick up steam in 2021.

With that in mind, buying a Wi-Fi 6 router today is a bit like buying an iPhone 11 a month before the iPhone 12 came out. Sure, you still get a great phone but if you can hold off just a tad, you’ll have something much better that lasts you longer into the future. If you’re just itching to upgrade, I say wait. If your router is broken and you need a new one now, go ahead and buy a Wi-Fi 6 router or grab an affordable Wi-Fi AC router like the TP-Link Archer A7 as a stopgap until Wi-Fi 6E shows us its stuff.

Whats The Difference Between Wifi 6 And 6e

Wi-Fi 6e is an expansion of Wi-Fi 6, with the e standing for expanded. In previous generations, the only spectrums that were available were 2.4GHz and 5GHz, with the latter being the most impressive implementation. Wi-Fi 6e brings with it the ability to access a brand new 6GHz spectrum, better in nearly every aspect compared to previous iterations .

Wi-Fi 6 has already made impressive strides in solving spectrum congestion issues, with its ability to handle more connected devices with relative ease 6e will move the benchmark even further with 6GHz connectivity.

A common issue with older Wi-Fi signals was having multiple networks competing for the same spectrum, having only had access to a relatively small number of frequencies. The 6GHz spectrum makes notable steps in the right direction in terms of solving the issue of limited capacity, making way for seven additional 160MHz channels. This means less lag for gamers, less buffering for streaming, and more efficient networks across the board.

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What Are Some Good Wifi 6 Routers

If youre looking for a quality WiFi 6 router to start with, wed recommend taking a look at the TP-Link Archer AX50. While there are certainly more powerful and capable routers out there, the Archer AX50 is powerful without being overkill for most peoples internet needs and comes in at a price that is reasonable. In addition to its ability to deliver WiFi at 2.4 Gbps, the AX50 also comes with built-in virus and malware protection that will be updated for free over the lifespan of the router. If youre in search of something more affordable, or with more functionality, you can also find some great WiFi 6 routers in our roundups of the best WiFi routers and best gaming routers.

What Important Features Should I Look For In A Wi

The Best WiFi 6 Routers For Every Scenario

As with any router, you’ll find that Wi-Fi 6 routers come with a wide variety of features that can bring specific benefits, though typically with the side effect of a bigger dent in your wallet. The big benefit is higher performance, but other benefits are available, as well. Router models with a specific focus, especially gaming routers, tend to include features specific to that specialty while ignoring other capabilities, so be sure you’re getting everything your network will need.

If you’ll be connecting wired devices like gaming consoles, home automation hubs, and network attached storage drives, look for a router that has at least four LAN ports. Many high-end Wi-Fi 6 routers support link aggregation, which utilizes two gigabit LAN ports to provide increased throughput for things like large file transfers and network traffic load balancing. This also helps serve as a fail-safe in the event that one LAN port stops working. Some of the more advanced models are equipped with multi-gig LAN ports that can handle 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 10Gbps connection speeds.

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Q: Do I Really Need A Wi

In short, yes. Chances are, the devices youve purchased in the last couple of years already support Wi-Fi 6, so it only makes sense to pair them with a router that can take full advantage of this capability. Wi-Fi 6 isnt all about speed, though, as the standard brings features like MU-MIMO and OFDMA to the table, allowing for more efficient communication with multiple devices at once and WPA3 for better security. And considering the Wi-Fi 6 standard is already a couple of years old, the router prices have come down markedly to more approachable levels.

Having said that, Wi-Fi 5 routers are still aplenty in the market and are often available at a significantly lower price than their Wi-Fi 6 counterparts. For instance, the Google Nest Wifi is a good value for money pick if you dont care much about Wi-Fi 6.

What Is Wifi 6 Router

If your internet is always laggy, the router you are using might be the culprit. Thats because an older router will struggle to support high-demand apps such as video conference call or video live streaming. This will result in a slow connection which affects your user-experience.

The good thing is, you can always purchase your own wireless router and use it with the Internet connection from your provider. Wi-Fi 6 is the latest WiFi technology for faster WiFi speed and seamless connection in a modern household.

Here are the reasons why you should buy a WiFi 6 router:

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So Should You Upgrade Now

The short answer is likely “yes” if your current router is more than three years old. Notebooks that support Wi-Fi 6 are becoming more common, including both higher-end models, like the Editors’ Choice-winning Dell XPS 15 OLED, as well as lower-priced units such as the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3. The same goes for newer tablets and smartphones, like the OnePlus 9 Pro and the Apple iPhone 13.

The Apple iPhone 13 is among the many new devices that support Wi-Fi 6.

Even if your devices are still operating on 802.11ac, it’s still worth the trouble to consider a Wi-Fi 6 router upgrade now. Prices are coming down on both standalone Wi-Fi 6 routers as well as Wi-Fi-6-compatible wireless mesh systems that provide wall-to-wall coverage for homes of all sizes. Among the latter, the TP-Link Deco X20 is an affordable three-piece Wi-Fi 6 mesh system designed for homes of up to 5,800 square feet. It’s around $200 less than many alternatives, which almost lets it qualify as a budget router. At the higher end of the spectrum is the Asus ZenWiFi AX , one of the best-performing mesh options we’ve tested.

Meanwhile, adding a Wi-Fi 6 range extender could be an alternative if you’re happy with your existing Wi-Fi 6 router but have a larger home or live in a dense neighborhood with lots of competing wireless signals.

Speed: How Much Do I Need

Asus RT

Since the more technical term for the Wi-Fi 6 standard is 802.11ax, Wi-Fi 6 routers use an AX prefix to define their speed ratings. The number after the AX indicates the total speed thats available across all the frequency bands.

So, an AX6000 router is capable of 6Gbps of throughput, but this will be divided across two or three different wireless bands. Most Wi-Fi 6 routers that offer AX6000 speeds or less are dual-band routers, while AX11000 models are tri-band.

In practical terms, the maximum single-band speeds youll get from any Wi-Fi 6 router right now are 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz bands, and 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz side. This would be an AX6000 dual-band router or an AX11000 tri-band router .

Of course, some dont even go that high. AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 routers are fairly common, which usually offer either 2.4Gbps/600Mbps or 1.8Gbps/1.2Gbps speeds on the 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels. AX4200 is also fairly common among tri-band mesh Wi-Fi routers like Linksys Velop and the Eero Pro 6, which have an even more unusual split of 2.4Gbps/1.2Gbps/600Mbps. In this case, the faster 5GHz band operates as a wireless backhaul. The Netgear Orbi AX6000 does something similar, except that the second 5GHz band is also 2.4Gbps .

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How Fast Is Wi

Wi-Fi 6 has the potential to reach a whopping 9.6 Gbps, which is nearly 200% faster than peak speeds from Wi-Fi 5. To put those numbers in context, check out these potential speeds from Wi-Fi technology from the past few years.

Wi-Fi Generation Speeds Compared
2.4/5/6GHz9,600Mbps

As you can tell, the potential speeds of Wi-Fi 6 completely blow older Wi-Fi standards out of the water. But before you get too excited, lets back up and refocus on the word potential. Youre unlikely to reach maximum data speeds on a single connected device, but imagine how that data could split across an entire network.

Putting Public Wi-Fi to the Test

Im writing this article while testing a public Wi-Fi 5 connection, and the internet doesnt feel nearly as responsive as I would like. Web pages take about 10 seconds to load, and my Spotify music streaming has been spotty. Lets assume there are about 500 users sharing this Wi-Fi 5 connection.

If this network is running at Wi-Fi max speeds, that would mean each user would get about 7 Mbps per connected device. However, if we were sharing a Wi-Fi 6 network connection, each connected device would get closer to 20 Mbps, more than doubling the efficiency of the data speeds.

In that sense, Wi-Fi 6 is less about making one single connection blazing fast and more about improving the connection for all devices using the Wi-Fi network. All Internet of Things devices that connect to a Wi-Fi 6 access point should experience faster data speeds.

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