Should You Upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 Router?
Now that Wi-Fi 6 has been around for over a year, is it worth updating your router? One of the greatest benefits to Wi-Fi 6 is the increased speed and how it better supports multiple devices than previous versions. But you don’t necessarily need to upgrade unless you’re experiencing problems with your current Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi 6, which is also called 802.11ax, can support multiple devices on one network easier than Wi-Fi 5.1 If you have five devices, your spouse has three, you have a couple smart TVs in your house and both of your kids have a phone, laptop, and tablet, then Wi-Fi 6 is better for supporting all of those connections at once. If you know that your Wi-Fi is slow because you have so many devices on your network, then upgrading will help.
On the flip-side, most households work totally fine on a Wi-Fi 5 router.2 Even with all the devices of your tech-savvy family, you might be fine with the router you have. If you’re experiencing problems with your internet, the culprit could be a slower-than-optimal internet connection or even a networking problem or a virus.
You’ll also want to consider how old your Wi-Fi 5 router is. Wi-Fi 5 came out in 2014, so your router could be six years old or only two years old. Let’s say you have a Wi-Fi 5 router that you purchased and installed in 2018. Most routers last about five years.3 If everything’s working fine, then you’ve still got time before you need to update your router.
|Router model||List price||Wireless compatibility||Details|
|Linksys Velop Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router||$399.99||802.11ax/a||View on Amazon|
|TP-Link WiFi 6 AX1500 Smart WiFi Router||$79.99||802.11ax/a/b/g/n/ac||View on Amazon|
|ASUS RT-AX3000 Dual Band WiFi Router||$179.21||802.11ax/n/b/a/ac||View on Amazon|
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 12/16/19 2:09 MST).
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 5
Wi-Fi 6 is better for supporting multiple devices than Wi-Fi 5. If you’ve got several devices and even a home security system, you can expect a more reliable connection if you have a Wi-Fi 6 router.
Another big difference is speed. Wi-Fi 6 can reach up to 9.6 Gbps.4 This is a lot faster than Wi-Fi 5, which can only reach 3.5 Gbps.4 Your Netflix movies will stream faster, your download speed will be faster, and you’ll have an easier time gaming when using Wi-Fi 6.
All of that said, If you aren’t having problems with your Wi-Fi 5, then upgrading is more of a luxury than a necessity.
Common factors that contribute to slow internet
Here are couple more reasons you might have slow internet:
- Your ISP (internet service provider) might be throttling your internet. This can happen when you go over your data cap.
- You might have a trojan virus on your device. This might be the case if you’re experiencing slow responses to your requests. You can download an antivirus software to scan your computer from cover to cover.
- Your router doesn’t have enough coverage to reach your device. Sometimes your laptop can’t connect to your router. Moving closer can help.
- Too many people are hooked up to your W-Fi. Every connected device slows down your internet, since each one uses some of your internet bandwidth. It’s always a good idea to turn the Wi-Fi off on devices you don’t use.
- Tp-link, “What Is Wi-Fi 6? Also Known As AX Wi-Fi,” March 8, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2020.
- Samuel Contreras, “Should You Buy a Wi-Fi 6 Router in 2020?,” November 20, 2020. Accessed November 29, 2020.
- Jeremy Laukkonen, “How Long Do Routers Really Last?,” September 11, 2020. Accessed November 29, 2020.
- Aaron Forbes, “WiFi 6 vs. WiFi 5: What’s the Difference?” June 24, 2020. Accessed November 27, 2020.