What is Wi-Fi 6 and How to use it?
While everyone is familiar with WiFi, few people know that there are in fact several standards that have followed one another since 1999. In 2019, the very latest version of wireless Internet was released: WiFi 6, called IEEE 802.11. So what is Wi-fi 6 and what does this new technology bring and how can we benefit from it on our computers and mobile devices?
With each “new version” of WiFi, the consortium in charge of this standard necessarily adds new improvements. The problem is that these changes are made at the hardware level: you cannot “update” the version of the WiFi, you will have to change the equipment.
But if you are one of the 90% of Internet users who use an Internet box provided by your ISP, you will have to ask the latter directly. Be careful, if SFR, Free and Bouygues offer compatible products, this is not the case with Orange which is “blocked” on WiFi 5. But if you have WiFi 6 devices, they are of course also WiFi 5 compatible. Note that this type of WiFi released in 2014 already marks a leap forward compared to previous versions.
That is for the “show” side. But it will also be necessary to change equipment for the reception. On PC, you will need a network card or dongle compatible with WiFi 6 and on mobile, you will, unfortunately, have to charge the device. Almost every mid-range Android device released in 2020 now features this standard, you just have to look at the spec sheet to make sure. But even entry-level devices like the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G at 269 € integrate compatibility with WiFi 6. On the Apple side, the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max offer WiFi 6 as well as the very good iPhone SE (2020).
The advantages of this standard?
Better connection speed 3 times faster. Of course, these figures should be taken with a grain of salt, because it is a question of theoretical flow. Compared to WiFi 5, (802.11ac), version 6 offers speeds about 3 times higher on the 4 bandwidths (20, 40, 80 and 160 Mhz). In practice, we can count on a gain of 40%.
Less slowness in busy places
With a WiFi 6 device, you will have fewer problems in crowded places: restaurants, train stations, airports, etc. To be able to connect more easily and without slowing down. WiFi 6 makes it possible to divide the WiFi channels to increase the number of connected devices. And if it works in an airport, it also works at home! You will be able to connect many more devices to your local network without worrying about speed drops.
WiFi 6 is also less energy-intensive since it integrates the Target Wake Time system or TWT. The latter improves the standby system between the transmitter and the receiver. The “wake-up” time is optimized and the standby is, therefore, more frequent. With a WiFi that works for a shorter time, autonomy is increased!
Better data encryption
Replacing WPA2, the WiFi 6 encryption system is called… WPA3! Finally WPA3-SAE (for Simultaneous Authentication of Equals). With a key from 128 to 192 bits, this new authentication method plugs all the flaws of the previous iterations while improving security.
Whether indoors or outdoors, the range does not change radically with this version 6, but when you are far away, your connection will be more efficient thanks in particular to the Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access or OFDMA which uses the bandwidth more efficiently on certain bandwidths. Not a better range, therefore, but a quality which does not deteriorate over the distance.