Difference Between Wi-Fi 5 & Wi-Fi 6

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Difference Between Wi-Fi 5 & Wi-Fi 6

Introduction

Wi-Fi in its extended form is known as Wireless Fidelity . This wireless technology is used to connect devices such as mobile phones , Laptops , tablets and computers to the Internet . The world is becoming digital and, with the passage of time, Wi-Fi has become an essential need for people in the 21st century . Even during the COVID – 19 era, Wi-Fi has been a primary source of entertainment and enjoyment for people.

A good Wi-Fi connection is necessary in offices so that the employees can do their work in peace . It is equally important for gamers , students and people doing work from home to have a stable connection with high speed , wide coverage and reliability . There are several generations or levels of Wi-Fi available now, but Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 are the hot topics these days . Both the respective generations have their own purpose , features, benefits , limitations , pros and cons . Give a read to the following points and dig into the details more briefly .

Wi-Fi 5

Wi-Fi 5 is the fifth generation of IEEE 802.11 and is also known as IEEE 802.11ac . It was launched in 2013 as the successor to Wi-Fi 4 and predecessor to Wi-Fi 6 . It is comparatively better than the previous generations in terms of reliability and connectivity . The previous Wi-Fi technology was based on 2.4 GHz frequency bands while Wi-Fi 5 operates on the 5 GHz frequency band, providing reduced interference and enhanced data transfer.

FEATURESThere are several features of Wi-Fi 5 . Three of the many features of Wi-Fi 5 are the following :

  • Enhanced security – Wi-Fi 5 has improved security features , as it includes a WPA3 encryption standard which helps the user by providing enhanced encryption and stronger protection against unauthorised access . So , we can say that Wi-Fi 5 is from a security point of view .
  • Beamforming – One of its numerous features is beamforming, which helps to improve this signal and range . The Beamforming allows the Wi-Fi access point to direct the signal towards the particular devices which are connected with Wi-Fi instead of transmitting the signal in every direction . It leads to the improvement of coverage and signal strength .
  • Multi-user Mimo – Another feature of Wi-Fi 5 is that it allows multiple devices to connect and receive data at the same time from the access point . It has been possible because of the Multi-user MIMO feature . In most simple words, it means that more than one user can use it without worrying about the speed or the range issue .

Pros

  • It provides high speed .
  • It supports dual bands .
  • Enhanced power efficiency.
  • Good signal strength .
  • Better coverage .

Cons

  • High maintenance cost .
  • Spectrum is limited .
  • Some older devices might face compatibility issues .

Some good routers for Wi-Fi 5 are Asus RT- AX88U , TP – Link Archer C4000 and Google Nest Wi-Fi etc.

Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6, also referred to as 802.11ax and High Efficiency Wi-Fi ( HEW), is the latest generation and most recent technology of wireless network connection . As a successor to Wi-Fi 5, it surely has improvements and better benefits . It provides the user with increased speed , enhanced capacity and better efficiency than before . It works well in a busy environment and thus, is completely ideal to meet the demands and requirements of the digital world . Wi-Fi 6 can use both the 5 GHz and 2.5 GHz frequencies . It allows multiple connections too .

Features – Wi-Fi 6 has greater features as compared to its previous generations . The three of its numerous features are discussed below :

  • Better Power Efficiency – Wi-Fi 6 has many better power-saving features that help to enhance the battery life of the devices connected to it . It also conserves energy by allowing the Wi-Fi 6 devices to broadcast data in shorter bursts, which also reduces the Wi-Fi radio activity time .
  • High speed – With the usage of the latest techniques and advanced modulation , Wi-Fi 6 has been able to serve faster speeds to the users . Wi-Fi 6 offers a maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps (theoretically ), which is believed to be 3x faster than Wi-Fi 5 . It’s more preferable for large file transfers , online gaming and streaming etc .
  • Lower latency : It lowers latency between the process of sending and receiving data , as compared to previous generations. Basically, it provides a smoother user experience . Wi-Fi 6 is the best standard of Wi-Fi for activities like video conferencing , streaming and IoT devices .

Pros

  • Better battery life .
  • Compatible with Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 .
  • Higher speed .
  • An inbuilt safety protocol

Cons

  • It is a bit expensive .
  • It has a smaller range .

Some good routers for Wi-Fi 6 are TP-link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 , D-Link R15 AX1500 and HUAWEI AX3 AX3000 etc.

Difference between Wi-FI 6 and Wi-Fi 5

Both the Wi-Fi standards have their own perks along with limitations too . Give a glance at the following points to understand the difference in a better way :

  • Difference in latency – Latency stands for the time delay in the process of exchanging data i.e. sending and receiving . In this era of digitalization where they almost work through the online process , low latency speed is very much required . Businesses and organizations prefer Wi-Fi 6 as it offers less latency, which is ideal for their work process . Although Wi-Fi 5 is still good for home use, but in comparison, Wi-Fi 6 seems better as it provides faster speed .
  • BSS coloring – It is an entirely new feature of Wi-Fi 6 which enables devices working in the same frequency space to distinguish whether the use of spectrum simultaneously is permissible . However , only Wi-Fi 6 and the upcoming generations or standards can decipher this feature from other devices with the help of a BSS color identifier . Wi-Fi 5 is not compatible with this feature .
  • MU – MIMO – It stands for multi-user, multiple-input, multiple outputs . This wireless technology enables multiple ( more than 1 ) users to connect with the router simultaneously . Both the Wi-Fi standards have this feature but there is a huge difference in the capacity . Wi-Fi 5 is based on a downlink, unidirectional 4 × 4 MU-MIMO whereas Wi-Fi 6 uses the bidirectional 8 × 8 MU MIMO technology . In Wi-Fi 5 , only the specified limit or multiple users can use the router . The Wi-Fi starts showing congestion signs once the limit exceeds, making the network slow and crowded . Wi-Fi 6 allows up to 8 devices to connect and to use the LAN without any kind of interference . Wi-Fi 6 has a better MU – MIMO feature than Wi-Fi 5 .
  • Network security protocols – It is a must feature of the Wi-Fi standards . Security is the biggest asset a company can provide to its users . Wi-Fi 5 and 6 both use different security protocols . Wi-Fi 5 uses the WPA and WPA2 protocols for a safe and secure connection . But as the technology is improving day by day, these protocols seem insufficient , vulnerable and easy to attack . On the other hand , Wi-Fi 6 supports the latest security protocol, which is WPA3 . It has enhanced the level of encryption and a multi factor authentication process which provides better security for users than Wi-Fi 5 .
  • Frequency bands : One major difference is the frequency band feature of Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 . Wi-Fi 5 uses only 5.4 GHz, which supports less interference . It is harder for the signals to penetrate the walls and obstacles . Wi-Fi 6 uses both 5.4 GHz and 2.4GHz, providing an option for the devices to automatically scan and connect to the band with less interference and better connection . So , in this way, the user gets the best network among both along with a high speed benefit .
  • Power consumption – The biggest reason for this feature is that a major difference is that Wi-Fi 6 has Target Wake Time ( TWT) whereas Wi-Fi 5 lacks this feature . This technology, by connecting with the access point, communicates with a device which is not in the transmission process and instructs it to put the Wi-Fi radio mode to sleep . But Wi-Fi 5 lacks this feature and thus cannot contribute to power saving .

Conclusion

Wi-Fi has become a very important part of people’s regular work process and it is very important to choose the right connection as per their requirements . With each standard, Wi-Fi has improved its features, making it an ideal solution to the growing demand and needs .

Both Wi-Fi 5 and 6 are the best possible options for different situations . For instance , Wi-Fi 5 is still a good option for a regular internet user, whereas people having a high load of work depending on the internet prefer Wi-Fi 6 .

Wi-Fi 6 in almost all terms is better than Wi-Fi 5 as it includes less latency , high speed , dual bands and BSS coloring . It is the most advanced version of Wi-Fi available . As the advancement of technology keeps going on , Wi-Fi 6 is believed to be playing a significant role in contributing to the digital world , allowing more high speed Wi-Fi connections and opening pathways to new opportunities.

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