Should You Upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

Easton Smith
May 22, 2023
Icon Time To Read3 min read

Yes, you should definitely upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router to get the best performance from your home internet.

Wi-Fi 6 is faster, can connect to more devices, and is more secure than older technologies. Now that Wi-Fi 6 has been around for a few years, it has proved its worth and routers that use the technology have gone way down in price.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about getting a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade, from the technology specifications to product recommendations.

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Wi-Fi 6 technology and features

Wi-Fi is a constantly evolving technology, much like cellular networks. Every few years there’s a new innovation that makes it more efficient, and users often have to get on board with an upgrade (whether they like it or not).

The new technology in Wi-Fi 6 is also called 802.11ax, but what does that really mean? What exactly makes Wi-Fi 6 so special? Here’s a quick breakdown of the key features.

Wi-Fi 6 routers are faster and allow more connections

Wi-Fi 6 can boost your internet speeds by a lot. Routers with Wi-Fi 6 usually top out at speeds around 10 Gbps, whereas Wi-Fi 5 routers max out around 4 Gbps.

Wi-Fi 6 doesn’t do this by just having a bigger cable or a stronger signal. It uses a variety of advanced techniques to make your network more efficient, and therefore faster. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the ways it increases network speeds:

  • Better traffic prioritization
  • OFDMA technology that gives increased access points to web clients simultaneously
  • Beamforming frequency management that makes more direct connections with devices

If those words don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. The bottom line is that Wi-Fi 6 is a lot faster than older router technologies.

Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 5

You might be asking, isn’t my Wi-Fi 5 router good enough. The answer is: maybe. It depends on what you’re doing with your internet connection. Wi-Fi 5 and 6 aren’t fundamentally different technologies. Both will work for streaming, gaming, or uploading a Tik Tok video. Wi-Fi 6 will just do all those things faster and more efficiently. So if you’re trying to compete in an online game or be crystal clear in your Zoom meeting, then a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade is the way to go.

Wi-Fi 6 can connect to more devices at once

You may have a high-end Wi-Fi 5 router that allows you to connect to dozens of household devices, like TVs, computers, tablets, and phones. But the truth is, your Wi-Fi router can’t actually communicate with every device at once (even if they are technically connected).

Wi-Fi 5 routers can actually only send and receive data from four devices at once. So if you have more than that connected to your router, you may see some significant slowdowns in internet speeds.

Wi-Fi 6 routers use an updated version of “MU-MIMO,” which allows them to connect with up to eight different devices at once. This means you can have more consoles gaming and TVs streaming at once without overloading the network.

Also, Wi-Fi 6 routers will allow you to connect to two different frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz. The 5 GHz frequency is faster, but the 2.4 GHz frequency offers better range.

Wi-Fi 6 can improve battery life on all of your devices

It’s not just speed. Wi-Fi 6 can actually increase the battery life of your phone, laptop, and other devices that connect to the internet. Who doesn’t want better battery life?

Connecting to a Wi-Fi network can drain your devices’ batteries because they are constantly going in and out of range, connecting and then reconnecting again and again. But Wi-Fi 6 uses a technology called “wake time targets” that lets your devices spend more time “resting” between individual data transmissions.

Wi-Fi 6 security is better

If you’re worried about your home security, then you should definitely be thinking about your Wi-Fi network. If someone can get onto your network without your permission (or knowledge) they can wreak all kinds of havoc.

Wi-Fi six routers are required to come with the latest security protocol for networks, called WPA3. This security protocol makes it harder for hackers to guess your password and also makes your data more secure even if someone does get into your network.

What is Wi-Fi 6 Extended?

Wi-Fi 6 started going into devices in 2019. There’s already a new kid on the block, called Wi-Fi 6 Extended or Wi-Fi 6E.

So, what’s the deal with Wi-Fi 6 vs. 6E? Really, it comes down to just one thing: Wi-Fi 6E gets you access to the new 6 Ghz Wi-Fi frequency, which means increased speeds. But even serious gamers and work-from-homers don’t need anything faster than what the 5 GHz frequency offers.

For most people, a standard Wi-Fi 6 router is plenty.

What’s the best router for Wi-Fi 6 upgrade?

There are plenty of incredible routers out there that use Wi-Fi 6 technology. In fact, it’s hard to find a new router that doesn’t use Wi-Fi 6. So how do you decide what to buy?

We’ve already rounded up our top picks for streamers. And you can see our recommendations for specific internet providers in these reviews:

But if you just want the best all around Wi-Fi 6 router, you can’t go wrong with the TP-Link AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 router.

FAQ

That wraps up this article on Wi-Fi 6. But if you still have some lingering questions, look for answers in this short FAQ section.

Yes. All modern smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and other companies can connect to Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Yes. Any device that could connect to an older Wi-Fi 5 (or Wi-Fi 4) router should be able to connect to Wi-Fi 6 without any issues.

Wi-Fi 7 doesn’t really exist for normal home internet customers yet, but it’s sure to hit the market soon. How soon? Probably in late 2023 or 2024.

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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