5G versus Wi-Fi 6

Everyone has heard about 5G, but is all this fuzz more then just a hype? And what about the much lesser known WI-FI 6?  One thing we know for sure is that these new wireless standards are expected to revolutionize IoT, with low power requirements, blazing speeds, and high bandwidth. And that is important because experts predict nearly 31 billion IoT devices around the world by 2020. 

5G could be a great solution for delivering high speed internet in more remote or rural areas or in older buildings where no fixed high-speed internet is available.

Also 5G will definitely open up loads of possibility for future applications especially with the Internet of things (IoT), but in the beginning that is not something you as a consumer will benefit from yet. 5G will mostly solve latency and capacity problems that are challenging new IoT applications. Just think about it, do you really need those high gig-speeds on your phone? When was the last time you have reached the limits of your 4G/LTE connection? I’m not talking about bad reception here, 5G won’t solve that, I’m talking about the up- and download speed.

The much more unknown WI-FI 6 has a lot more potential to have a direct impact on the life of consumers. You probably experienced it before, you are connected with a bunch of (maye even old) devices to your router and your internet speed gets frustratingly more slower. WI-FI 6 could offer a solution to this.

Where WI-FI 5 only sends one packet to one device, keeping the path occupied. With WI-FI 6 it is possible to send more information to different devices at the same time, only off-loading the right information at the right destination. This is called MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output)

Another great development is that connected devices don’t keep an open connection at all times, because the connection is not permanent. This means that even if you connect older devices to WI-FI 6 that won’t influence the performance of your router.

To make big open networks, like hotspots, the more safe WI-FI 6 adds a new WPA 3-security standard. Providing encryption that is similar to the ones on a mobile network, making hotspots individually secured and a lot safer.   

Finally the names of Wi-Fi will become more relatable and easier to understand as well

802.11n = Wi-Fi 4

802.11.ac= Wi-Fi 5

802.11ax = WI-FI 6

The pros of 5G and WI-FI 6 are more or less the same , there is a higher throughput, a lower latency and the capacity gets higher. The difference is in the back-end en the radio waves. 5G is designed to be a part of a bigger mobile network, while WI-FI 6 is more suitable to be used on a smaller scale.

In terms of costs WI-FI 6 is much cheaper, buy a new router and you are launched! 5G will take a little longer and needs big investments from large companies on infrastructure. This is also one of the big reasons 5G is such a hype, providers need the back up of consumers to be able to roll out this new technology.

Is one better then the other? No, 5G and WI-FI 6 both have their own place and use where they would excel. What we will most likely see in the future is that the difference between mobile networks and WI-FI will get smaller and the two standards will work together, getting even better connectivity.