The much anticipated update to the 5 year-old Wi-Fi 5 standard and its 15 year-old security protocol is finally here. The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the release of Wi-Fi 6 on September 16, 2019 and it represents some major upgrades to how we connect online.
Beyond updates in speed (up to 3x faster than 802.11ac/Wi-Fi 5), there are also major improvements in security and the ability to handle multiple devices, which we all now have thanks to all those new smart devices that have come out in the last few years.
When it comes to wireless networks, whether at home, work, or the corner coffee shop, you’ll be able to connect with less security worries and enjoy smoother connections, even if multiple users are on the same Wi-Fi.
Let’s dig into all the major updates that are available with the new Wi-Fi 6 standard and its WPA3 security protocol.
First, though we give one word of warning… not all Wi-Fis will be magically updated to this standard overnight, so before you assume that the free Wi-Fi you’re connecting to at the airport is now more secure, you’ll want to check to see if it’s been upgraded yet.
What Does the New Era of Wi-Fi Mean?
The world relies on Wi-Fi to connect from our devices to that all-important internet. From smart speakers like Alexa that give us the morning weather report to the cloud software we log into throughout the day at work, our entire technology infrastructure relies on the wireless network connection standard that Wi-Fi uses.
Wi-Fi 6 and WPA3 represent a major update driven by the increasing demands that all those IoT devices are making on their wireless networks to get online, stay online, and transmit data quickly and efficiently.
Now that the new standard is out, here are the positive impacts you can expect on your wireless connectivity.
Improved Wi-Fi Security
We’ve long been warned that connecting to a public Wi-Fi can mean a cyber criminal can spy on our online activity. The new WPA3 security protocol with Wi-Fi 6 addresses this vulnerability and adds new safeguards.
Through the use of CERTIFIED Enhanced Open™and Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE) public Wi-Fi connections are made much more secure by allowing user encryption even when a publicly known password it used.
Another security enhancement includes the addition of a requirement for network interaction with each login, which stops hackers from downloading a cryptographic hash, which they can then try to hack offline using cracking software.
One more security enhancement, which is important for certain industries and government users, is the ability to use the more secure option of 192-bit security for especially sensitive wireless traffic.
Faster Wi-Fi Speeds
Users on Wi-Fi 6 will notice a significant speed improvement over Wi-Fi 5 routers. Speeds are estimated to be 30% better, with latency (i.e. lag time) reduced by 75%.
One of the ways Wi-Fi 6 improves speed is by allowing a signal to carry 10 bits rather than 8 bits, which is something like increasing the capacity of your delivery truck – you can deliver more packages in one drive across town, thus improving the speed of the delivery.
Another feature that improves speed and reduces latency is the expansion of the Wi-Fi band from 80 MHz to 160 MHz. Increasing bandwidth delivers greater performance.
Ability to Handle More Devices
The more devices you connect to a Wi-Fi, the more strain there is on the capacity. This often causes slowdowns when on public hotspots in crowded areas as well as on office Wi-Fi as more and more devices get connected to it.
Wi-Fi 6 increases device capacity by up to 4x through use of better MU-MIMO (Multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) and ODFMA (Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access)
In plain language, what those protocols do is allow a wireless router to accommodate more devices without connections speeds slowing down.
Where to Find Wi-Fi 6 Enabled Phones & Routers
Router and smartphone manufacturers have already been creating Wi-Fi 6 Certified™devices in anticipation of the new standard. As with any major new upgrade, it’s going to take a while for organizations to upgrade all their hardware to use Wi-Fi 6 and WPA3.
When choosing any internet connected devices or wireless routers, you’ll want to look for the Wi-Fi 6 Certified™ label.
Here are a few brands that have already put out devices with the new capability, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. You can also find many more by using their Wi-Fi 6 product finder.
- Broadcom® BCM4375 / BCM43698 / BCM43684
- Cypress CYW 89650 Auto-Grade Wi-Fi 6 Certified
- Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) AX200 (for PCs)
- Intel® Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV600 Series (for routers and gateways)
- Marvell 88W9064 (4×4) Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band STA
- Marvell 88W9064 (4×4) + 88W9068 (8×8) Wi-Fi 6 Concurrent Dual-Band AP
- Qualcomm® Networking Pro 1200 Platform
- Qualcomm® FastConnect 6800 Wi-Fi 6 Mobile Connectivity Subsystem
- Ruckus R750 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Transform Your Wireless Network with Wi-Fi 6
Magnify247.com can help you upgrade your company’s wireless network to Wi-Fi 6 for the enhanced speed and security benefits. We’ll help you locate the best devices for your needs and construct a roll-out plan that makes sense for your budget.