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What is Wi-Fi 6? and why should I care?

Blog Cover photo which is an illustration of a woman on a laptop

Wi-Fi has been around since 1999 and, as you may have guessed, has had 5 iterations since then.  Wi-Fi 6 was just introduced in 2019 and wasn’t commonly seen until last year.  If you’ve had us visit recently for an installation or maintenance appointment and we replaced your router, chances are you now have access to that latest and greatest wireless connectivity that is Wi-Fi 6!

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of Wi-Fi.  Some of its unique features include being able to talk to more devices at once and communicate signals better in device-congested areas as well as automatically selecting the highest-performing channels for internet connectivity (also known as band steering). It also dramatically affects battery life on our devices – in a good way! This matters in both the access point (generally a router) and in the device we’re using to receive Wi-Fi (such as a smartphone or laptop).

However, not all devices can utilize the new functionality that comes with these routers.  To receive the very best Wi-Fi experience, the tech in our hands also has to be up-to-date.  While we have a general rule that an item three years or newer in manufacturing date should have everything necessary to take advantage of this improved connectivity, it’s not always the case.  To be safe, you can look for wireless devices that are “Wi-Fi 6 certified.”

The Wi-Fi 6 certification symbol.

Now, this doesn’t mean that devices with other versions of Wi-Fi won’t work at all on these newer router systems.  It just means they won’t work as well, and you may be missing out on some of the bandwidth available to you.  For more on Wi-Fi 6, visit the Wi-Fi Alliance.