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WiFi 6 and 5G: All You Need To Know - blog post image

WiFi 6 and 5G: All You Need To Know


2019 is the year of WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and 5G, but what exactly can we expect from the next-generation of connectivity? With powerful high speeds, high bandwidth and lower power requirements, these new standards are set to change the game regarding IoT (Internet of Things) and wireless connectivity. 

What is WiFi 6?

WiFi 6, which will be technically known as 802.11ax, is the new standard of WiFi which will replace WiFi 5, also known as 802.11ac. WiFi 6 is set to be a lot faster than it's predecessor, which is great news as the internet is constantly in demand with more and more users consuming high bandwidth-demanding apps, games and media via our smartphones, laptops, tablets and TV's. 

WiFi six is fast. Sitting at around 9.6Gbps, it is 6.1Gbps faster than WiFi 5. This is the maximum number for WiFi 6, and although it is unlikely that you will ever reach these speeds, or ever need to, it is still important that the maximum speed is relatively higher than that of WiFi 5. 

WiFi 6 is coming out at the right time. There's an average of 5 devices which are connected to the internet in an average Irish household and that number seems to be on the rise. 

The more devices that are connected to your network will result in an in-demand WiFi connection and will slow it down overall. However, the technology being introduced with WiFi 6 can change that.

The next-generation of WiFi will be able to communicate better with more connected devices, allowing routers to send data to multiple gadgets at the same time in the same broadcast. You might not be able to notice a huge difference while using WiFi 6 with only one device connected, for example a laptop, but when you bring multiple devices into the equation, you will notice that the speed and connectivity is a lot faster and stronger than before. 

Devices will be able to maintain top-speeds even in the busiest of environments. This means that in a household someone could be using Netflix, another person could be playing a video game online, another could be using FaceTime with a friend, all the while Alexa is still connected as well as security cameras, smart fridges and sensors. 

WiFi 6 will also help to retain battery life for some of the connected devices. This comes from the technology Target Wake Time (TWT) which allows the connected devices and router to plan communication times which will reduce the need for them to constantly search for signals. This feature has been integrated for smaller devices that only need to update their connectivity status once in a while (smart home devices and sensors). 

What is 5G?

It's been nearly 10 years since work has begun on 5G and now it's finally becoming a reality. Mobile carriers started bringing 5G out in selected cities in 2018, however there is a much bigger rollout to be expected in 2020. 

At the moment, most people avail of 4G mobile broadband which is the best you can get right now. 5G is the next-generation of mobile broadband which will slowly phase out 4G. 

With 5G, you will experience a much faster experience regarding download and upload speeds while using the internet via your smartphone. Latency will also see a drastic decrease (This is the time it takes for devices to communicate with other wireless networks). 

5G will enable the user to do so much more so much faster. From downloading movies, streaming music and uploading blog posts, your online activity will become a lot more frictionless. 

Not only will we experience improved broadband, we are more likely to see autonomous vehicles on the roads. These vehicles will be able to communicate with each other, making intelligent decisions based on the shared data from one car to another which will ultimately save many lives. 

Cities will become smarter too. 5G smart city solutions can be applied to the management of vehicle traffic which can produce billions of savings through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestions and fuel costs (Accenture). 

Jefferson Wang, Managing Director of Accenture Strategy has explained that 5G connectivity could be applied to street lights that would house gun-sound detection sensors along with smart security cameras with strong video analytics. This would mean that public safety officials can react at a much faster rate, decreasing crime in built-up urban areas. 

Read what Cisco have to say about 5G technology here.

WiFi 6 and 5G are closely linked:

Both WiFi 6 and 5G are huge technological advances that bring very significant performance improvements. Consumers of WiFi 6 and 5G will be able to roam seamlessly from 802.11ax networks and mobile broadband without having to deal with any interruptions. 

Both of these new connectivity standards represent a huge leap regarding stronger connectivity, lower latency and greater density which will allow consumers and businesses to do things that were impossible with WiFi 5 and 4G.