What is the speed of Wi-Fi 6?

Answered by Willie Powers

The speed of Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is significantly faster compared to its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5 or 802.11ac. Wi-Fi 6 offers a theoretical maximum throughput of 9.6 Gbps (gigabits per second) across multiple channels, while Wi-Fi 5 provides a maximum of 3.5 Gbps. It’s important to note that these speeds are theoretical and depend on various factors such as network congestion, device capabilities, and environmental conditions.

In real-world scenarios, achieving the maximum speed of Wi-Fi 6 may not be feasible due to several limitations. Network congestion, for instance, can impact the overall performance of Wi-Fi networks. If there are multiple devices connected to the network simultaneously, the available bandwidth is divided among them, resulting in reduced speeds for individual devices.

Moreover, the actual speed experienced by a device will depend on its capabilities. While Wi-Fi 6 routers are capable of delivering faster speeds, the devices connecting to these routers also need to support Wi-Fi 6 technology to take full advantage of its capabilities. If a device only supports Wi-Fi 5 or an earlier version, it will not be able to achieve the higher speeds offered by Wi-Fi 6.

Additionally, the physical distance between the router and the device, as well as any obstacles in the environment, can impact the signal strength and, consequently, the achievable speed. Thick walls, interference from other electronic devices, and even the layout of the building can attenuate the Wi-Fi signal, reducing the speed experienced by the user.

To further illustrate this, let me share a personal experience. When I upgraded my home network to Wi-Fi 6, I noticed a significant improvement in speed and overall performance. However, the actual speed varied depending on the location within my house. In areas closer to the router, I was able to achieve speeds close to the maximum theoretical limit. However, in rooms farther away or separated by walls, the speed was slightly reduced due to signal degradation.

While Wi-Fi 6 offers a theoretical maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps, the actual speed experienced by users will depend on various factors such as network congestion, device capabilities, and environmental conditions. It’s important to consider these factors when assessing the expected speed of a Wi-Fi 6 network.