Wi-Fi 6: upgrade or wait?

Wi-Fi 6 is here for more than 2 years now and routers & access points with this new standard are readily available. Should you update to Wi-Fi 6 then or is it still OK to hold on to your Wi-Fi 5 router & access points?

Yes, you can upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 access point right now. The number of Wi-Fi 6 clients keeps growing, it’s possible to upgrade existing computer to Wi-Fi 6 and there are many routers & access points on the market. Also, you can’t go wrong with Wi-Fi 6 and in some situations you might gain a lot.

But, Wi-Fi 5 is still relevant and, depending on your situation, a Wi-Fi 6 router might not be the best choice. If you have a Wi-Fi 5 router at the moment, don’t upgrade just to stay up-to-date. There are a number of reasons not to upgrade yet:

1  There are no high-end Wi-Fi 6 clients on the market. Most clients have 2×2 radios with a maximum speed of 1.2 Gbps. This is slower than top-tier 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 clients, which can connect at 1.73 Gbps.

2  To maintain compatibility with older clients (Wi-Fi 4 or older), Wi-Fi 6 routers need to work in compatible mode. And the older clients need to have updated drivers to work well with Wi-Fi 6 networks. These updates will not be there for every device.

3  The theoretical high speed of Wi-Fi 6 has no practical use at the moment. The wired backbone of the local network has a maximum speed of 1 Gbps in most cases. And the speed of your internet connection is often much lower than that.

So lets end with 4 reasons why it’s a good idea to invest in a Wi-Fi 5 router or access point:

1  Wi-Fi 6 is more expensive than Wi-Fi 5. The premium for Wi-Fi 6 is around $100.

2  Wi-Fi 5 is mature, stable and affordable. It is a mainstream product with fewer bugs and fast & reliable performance.

3  Wi-Fi 5 is forward compatible, which means that Wi-Fi 6 clients will work with Wi-Fi 5 routers & access points.

4  Wi-Fi 6E is coming in the near future. It is not backwards compatible, so you will need to invest in new hardware again, should you buy a Wi-Fi 6 router today.

Want to know more about Wi-Fi?  Contact the experts at Pink Coral iT!