What is WiFi 5 and WiFi 6

WiFi standards like IEEE 802.11ax or IEEE 802.11ac started to be confusing for consumers so the WiFi Alliance decided to simplify naming and clearly indicate technology progression. Lets look at the latest standards, their naming and features.

The IEEE 802.11ac was renamed to WiFi 5 an is the current popular standard for fast 5 GHz WiFi connections.

The IEEE 802.11ax was renamed to WiFi 6 and is the now incoming standard bringing even more throughput and much lower latency. It also introduces new security protocols like WPA3.

Based on WiFi 6 there is also a standard called WiFi 6E that will use 6GHz frequencies based on local regulations - right now 6GHz was opened in the USA and the technology is still very early in its deployment. Using 6GHz allows for more data but at a slightly shorter distance. Wireless VR headsets, streaming 4K to a TV and much more would be possible. Still - the more devices connected the smaller part of the throughput each device would get.

2.4GHz got oversaturated with various consumer short range radio devices, bluetooth and multiple WiFi networks overlaping. 5GHz in current WiFi networks also has it limits and also has some competition from other radio devices. 6GHz isn't used by consumer devices yet, although some industrial systems are using it for communication which is causing friction between them and the WiFi Alliance.

Right now WiFi 6 is still very new technology. It will take some time until routers and devices enter mass consumer market. You don't have to rush it to get a WiFi 6 router. As for WiFi 6E - this is even further away.

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