Can I Connect a Wi-Fi 5 Device to a Wi-Fi 6 Network?

by -196 views

Count how many devices need to connect
(Epitome credit: Windows Central)

A new Wi-Fi designation has landed, and it’south bringing some important changes. Wi-Fi 802.11ax, at present named Wi-Fi half dozen to lessen confusion, is prepare to improve speed and functioning and better fix for a wireless future with thousands of devices all vying for data. Hither’southward everything you need to know.

What exactly is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is a new Wi-Fi standard, named and then to avoid confusion with older standards, which are now designated equally follows:

  • 802.11b is now Wi-Fi i
  • 802.11a is now Wi-Fi 2
  • 802.11g is now Wi-Fi iii
  • 802.11n is at present Wi-Fi 4
  • 802.11ac is now Wi-Fi 5
  • 802.11ax is now Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi vi is based on the new IEEE 802.11ax standard, so you might see the two terms interchanged. It’s still going to human action like the Wi-Fi you know and love now, except with some added benefits. The Wi-Fi Alliance (the standards body that oversees Wi-Fi technology) lists these four key benefits of Wi-Fi vi:

  • Faster overall transfer speeds to and from devices
  • More capacity for continued devices
  • Ameliorate performance with many connected devices
  • Less device battery drain when continued

To summarize, Wi-Fi 6 expands on Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) to be better suited to handle large crowds vying for information at the same time (including expansive public events), and it is capable of handling theoretical speeds up to nigh 9.6Gbps, which is about three times the current maximum theoretical speed limit of Wi-Fi v (802.11ac). As nosotros move to higher-resolution video streaming, demanding gaming performance, and more connected devices, Wi-Fi half-dozen will exist better suited to handle our needs.

What is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6 popularity has exploded since I showtime wrote this commodity in 2019, and there’s now a newer version called Wi-Fi 6E popping upwards in plenty of devices. Whereas standard Wi-Fi 6 operates on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Wi-Fi 6E has been extended — that’southward where the “E” comes from — into the 6GHz band.

To extrapolate, the 2 bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) that standard Wi-Fi 6 operates on are very crowded. Wi-Fi 6E’south power to operate on the 6GHz band solves a lot of congestion, at to the lowest degree for compatible routers and devices. Wi-Fi 6E has seven additional 160MHz channels, which is roughly an extra 1,200MHz of spectrum to work with. The 6GHz ring doesn’t overlap, also reducing congestion.

Wi-Fi 6E should further help conform the needs of people with heavy streaming demands, whether for high-resolution video content or game and VR streaming.

How is Wi-Fi 6 different from previous Wi-Fi standards?

Source: Intel

(Image credit: Source: Intel)

Wi-Fi half dozen devices connected to Wi-Fi 6 routers volition see potential performance gains up to virtually 40% compared to Wi-Fi 5 devices and routers. This is accomplished due to Wi-Fi half-dozen being able to pack more data into each packet, and it will piece of work on both the 2.4Gz and 5GHz bands (and the 6GHz band with Wi-Fi 6E).

A larger benefit, nonetheless, is revealed when there are multiple devices connected to the aforementioned network. If y’all’ve ever stayed in a hotel or have continued to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, y’all know how slow throughput can be due to the main admission point attempting to handle all simultaneous connections.

In a writeup on Intel’s IT Peer Network, it’south claimed that Wi-Fi vi will improve the efficiency of a single network past about four times, which will, in turn, improve average throughput for those continued to Wi-Fi six in heavily congested areas past most four times. Wi-Fi half dozen continues and expands on the MU-MIMO trend released with Wi-Fi five, which allows a Wi-Fi radio to evangelize data simultaneously to multiple devices instead of in a rotating way. Instead of handling four simultaneous streams, Wi-Fi vi ups the number to 8.

Thanks to the addition of Target wake time (TWT) in Wi-Fi 6, all connected devices should see significantly less bombardment drain. Compatible devices and routers will communicate cardinal wake and sleep times, which means less up time for an adapter and less pull on a battery. Not only is this important for everyday devices similar laptops and modern phones, it volition also brand a difference equally nosotros meet more Cyberspace of Things (IoT) products enter our homes and businesses.

What does official Wi-Fi 6 certification hateful?

Source: Nick Sutrich / Windows Central

(Epitome credit: Source: Nick Sutrich / Windows Central)

While hardware manufacturers have been pumping out Wi-Fi 6 products for a while already, official certification via the Wi-Fi Alliance, which assures devices see sure guidelines, only began mid-September 2019. The Samsung Galaxy Notation ten was the first phone to receive official certification, with the Ruckus R750 coming in as the commencement certified access signal. Devices released before certification began are classed equally “typhoon certified,” which means they might not necessarily meet the official standards now set up by the Wi-Fi Brotherhood.

Products that adhere to the Wi-Fi Certified 6 certification plan evangelize an optimal wireless experience. Whereas Wi-Fi v delivers 256-QAM (quadrature aamplitude modulation fashion), Wi-Fi half-dozen steps it up to 1024-QAM. This offers far more throughput for information-hungry devices, and together with 160MHz channels, MU-MIMO, and transmit beamforming, yous’re going to see phenomenal performance even with many users vying for bandwidth. Orthogonal frequency partitioning multiple admission (OFDMA) for channel sharing is also a must for certification, which will amend performance beyond the board when there is a high demand for data.

How tin can you tell Wi-Fi standards apart?

Source: Wi-Fi Alliance

(Image credit: Source: Wi-Fi Alliance)

Other than knowing your ain hardware, being able to tell which Wi-Fi standard y’all’re connected to while in public tin be fabricated easier with new interface icons. This will depend on the device that’s being continued to Wi-Fi, but y’all can look most modernistic phones, laptops, and tablets to spring on board earlier long.

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

Are wireless 5G and Wi-Fi half-dozen the same thing?

Source: Windows Central

(Paradigm credit: Source: Windows Cardinal)

No, these two technologies are not the same. Wireless 5G is a cellular engineering designed for mobile devices and Ever-Continued laptops, while Wi-Fi 6 is a wireless LAN (WLAN) technology that expands on (and is compatible with) older standards. You’ll detect that wireless 5G is most normally associated with cellular information, while Wi-Fi 6 is nearly normally associated with your abode or office network.

Do you demand to purchase a new router for Wi-Fi 6?

If yous’re currently using a Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi v router with your devices and y’all’d similar to become in on the Wi-Fi vi hype, you volition demand to buy a new router (and you lot’ll need compatible devices). In that location are at present quite a few practiced Wi-Fi 6 router options on the market, and we recommend the Netgear Nighthawk RAX50. It brings all the benefits of Wi-Fi vi, and residue assured it remains uniform with any older devices that were using previous Wi-Fi standards. If yous’re looking for the best Wi-Fi 6E routers, something like the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 might do the fob.

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Primal. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He’due south been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Key. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends nigh of his fourth dimension either tinkering with or writing about tech.