Wi-Fi 6: A faster Wi-Fi for a faster world Part of the series: Top 9 tech trends for 2020

Image credit:  Wi-Fi Alliance

Image credit: Wi-Fi Alliance

This is the second in a series of articles where we will focus on 9 technology trends you will likely hear more about over the next 12 months. Working with hundreds of nonprofits and small businesses for over two decades, we work to guide our customers through the benefits and risks of new and evolving technologies. In this series of articles, we will introduce you to several emerging technologies, so you can be better informed about whether new I.T. solutions are aligned with your organization's goals and risk tolerance.

Below are our top 9 tech trends for 2020, links to any past articles, and our second topic, Wi-Fi 6.

1) 5G (See article.)

2) A faster WiFi for a faster world

3) AI and machine learning: The force multipliers for data analytics

4) Autonomous drones

5) ACPCs (Always Connected PCs)

6) Smart Cities

7) XaaS: Everything-as-a-Service

8) Consumer and User Experience

9) Digital Privacy

A faster Wi-Fi for a faster world

The new standard for Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi 6 – along with 5G mobile networks will bring a faster network into your home or office with more efficiency in 2020.

Forbes contributor Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, explains that once the wireless standard takes shape in routers and other devices, download speeds will jump up to three times faster than were achievable with Wi-Fi 5. And Wi-Fi 6 will be able to extend faster data speeds to more devices than before.

The name, Wi-Fi 6, stems from the fact that this standard is the sixth version of 802.11 and is simpler to remember than 802.11ax.

Wi-Fi 6, CNet reports, isn't a new means of connecting to the Internet, “rather, it's an upgraded standard that compatible devices, particularly routers, can take advantage of to transmit Wi-Fi signals more efficiently.”

Specifically, the latest Wi-Fi standard offers faster data transfer speeds. According to How-To Geek, “If you're using a Wi-Fi router with a single device, maximum potential speeds should be up to 40% higher with Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 accomplishes this through more efficient data encoding, resulting in higher throughput.”

Wi-Fi 6 also promises faster speeds when there are many devices connected to the same Wi-Fi. So, whether you are at home when your teen is gaming and you’re trying to stream Netflix, at the office, or in a crowded airport, this new technology is touted to improve user speeds by “at least four times,” according to Intel.

Intel adds that it should increase network efficiency by more than four times while extending the battery life of devices.

When can you expect Wi_Fi 6? How-To Geek explains that Wi-Fi 6 certification began on September 16, 2019 and some Wi-Fi routers may already advertise “802.11ax technology,” but the Wi-Fi 6 standard isn’t finalized yet. However, devices are starting to roll out with built-in Wi-Fi 6 capability in anticipation of the roll-out, including Apple’s new iPhone 11. More hardware should follow by the end of this year.

However, to take full advantage of the benefits, both the sender (router) and receiver (device) need to support WiFi 6. Go-To Geek advises, “If you want Wi-Fi 6 performance on your phone, you’ll need both a wireless router (access point) and a smartphone that supports Wi-Fi 6. If you connect a laptop that only supports Wi-Fi 5 to your Wi-Fi 6 router, that particular connection will operate in Wi-Fi 5 mode.”

As with all I.T. solutions, we advise our customers to review this new technology after it has been tested and proved reliable. Consider adopting it within a comprehensive technology replacement cycle. Do your routers need to be replaced soon? Are your employees looking productivity because of slow Wi-Fi speed? Will your current devices be able to take advantage of the benefits of Wi-Fi 6?

If you have questions about how emerging technologies might (or might not) benefit your organization, contact us. As your technology partner, we offer CTO-level consulting as part of one all-inclusive fee. Not a customer? See if Sinu might be right for you.