Now that we live in the age of the internet and wireless connection, WiFi has become an essential part of our life. In this post, we shall be discussing the difference between the 3 major WiFi protocols. In simple terms, What is the difference between WiFi4, WiFi5, and WiFi6?
The Origin of WiFi
WiFi is a networking standard developed and published by the Wi-Fi Alliance. The entire technology industry has followed suit and developed wireless devices that are compatible with each other with the help of the WiFi standard.
WiFi4/5/6 are different wireless network standards, which are like the upgrade of mobile networks – 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G, the larger the number, the faster the speed and the better the performance.
WiFi has Never Actually Had a Specific Generation
There are only changes in technical standards, but in order to distinguish technological innovations, the industry roughly divides these network protocols/standards into WiFi4, WiFi5, and WiFi6.
Deifinition of WiFi4, WiFi5 and WiFi6
- WiFi4 was defined in 2009, the protocol it uses is 802.11n, and the maximum single-stream bandwidth is 150Mbps.
- WiFi5 was defined once in 2013 and 2016 respectively. In 2013, the protocol defined and used was 802.11ac, with a maximum single-stream bandwidth of 433Mbps. In 2016, the protocol defined and used was also 802.11ac, but the maximum single-stream bandwidth was increased to 867Mbps.
- Similarly, WiFi6 was only defined after 2018. The protocol it uses is 802.11ax, and the single-stream bandwidth can reach up to 1201Mbps.
The difference Between the 3 Major WiFi Network Standards
WiFi4 only supports the 2.4G frequency bands, WiFi5 only supports the 5G frequency bands, and WiFi6 supports both the 2.4G and 5G frequency bands.
WiFi4 Scope and Range
The first is WiFi4. The 2.4G WiFi frequency band is currently the most frequently used frequency band. The low frequency has small propagation attenuation, good penetration, and long propagation distance, but it is easy to be interfered with by the outside world, such as microwave ovens, Bluetooth, etc.
The 5G WiFi frequency band has high frequency, low interference, and strong penetration. Today’s computers, mobile phones, tablets, printers, and other devices must follow such standards.
WiFi6 Features, and Scope
Wi-Fi Internet access has become the most commonly used way for us to access the Internet. The simple understanding is that WiFi4 supports small frequencies means High-speed Internet access cannot be achieved with it.
Also, WiFi5 only supports high-speed Internet access in specific frequency bands, while WiFi6 is compatible with the advantages of WiFi4 and WiFi5, not only compatible with low-speed and high-speed devices but also has a higher transmission rate.
Advantages of WiFi6 Over WiFi4 and WiFi5
Compared with the previous generation of WiFi5, WiFi6 has four advantages of “two highs and two lows”:
- High bandwidth: 1024-QAM high-order modulation, maximum support 160MHz bandwidth, nearly 3 times faster;
- High concurrency: Intelligent frequency division, a concurrent connection of multiple devices, 4 times capacity increase;
- Low latency: Multiple devices are concurrent, greatly reducing queuing and waiting, and reducing latency by 2/3;
- Lastly, it boasts of Low power consumption: terminal equipment wakes up on demand and reduces power consumption by 30%.
WiFi6 was officially commercialized in early 2020, and it is now very popular. Those who need to replace their equipment can start to consider it.