WiFi 6 – The Basics Canadians Should Know

WiFi 6 marks a significant milestone in wireless technology.

Officially known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 is not just another incremental upgrade; it’s a revolutionary leap forward. This technology promises to reshape how we interact with the digital world, offering faster speeds, greater capacity, and improved efficiency.

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of WiFi 6, exploring its features, benefits, and the impact it will have on both individual users and the broader technological landscape.

What Is WiFi 6?

Technical Specifications

WiFi 6, known technically as 802.11ax, is designed to operate in all bands between 1 and 6 GHz, as regulations permit. It brings several technical advancements over its predecessor, WiFi 5 (802.11ac). Key among these is the support for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), a technology that allows for more efficient channel use, and Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), which enables more data to be transferred at once. You can read Cisico’s Wifi Technical Guide for more detailed technical information.

Key Features of WiFi 6

The standout features of WiFi 6 include:

  • OFDMA: Enhances efficiency by allowing multiple users with varying bandwidth needs to be served simultaneously.
  • MU-MIMO: Increases channel capacity to allow more data transfer, which is ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications.
  • Target Wake Time (TWT): This feature significantly improves the battery life of devices by scheduling when to wake up and communicate with the router.

The Evolution of Wi-Fi 6 Standards

The journey from the inception of WiFi to the advent of WiFi 6 is a tale of continuous innovation and improvement. The WiFi journey began with 802.11b, a standard that now seems rudimentary compared to the capabilities of today’s technology. Each subsequent standard, from WiFi 1 (802.11b) to WiFi 5 (802.11ac), enhanced speed, range, and overall performance. WiFi 6, or 802.11ax, stands at the pinnacle of these developments, integrating all the cumulative advancements into a singular, robust standard.

Benefits of WiFi 6 for Users

WiFi 6 is more than just a new standard; it’s a significant leap forward in wireless technology that benefits users, especially in densely populated areas or households with multiple devices. Let’s explore these benefits in detail:

Increased Speed
  • Faster Data Transfer: WiFi 6 offers substantially higher data rates compared to its predecessors, which means quicker downloads, smoother streaming, and better overall internet performance.
  • Efficient Data Handling: Thanks to technologies like OFDMA and MU-MIMO, WiFi 6 can handle data more efficiently, leading to faster speeds even when multiple devices are connected.
Better Range and Coverage
  • Enhanced Signal Range: WiFi 6 routers are designed to provide a more robust and reliable signal, translating into better coverage throughout your home or office.
  • Reduced Dead Zones: With improved signal strength, WiFi 6 reduces the likelihood of experiencing dead zones in areas of your home that previously had weak or no signal.
Improved Efficiency
  • Optimized Network Performance: WiFi 6 optimizes network performance, making it ideal for environments with many connected devices, such as smart homes.
  • Battery Life Extension: The Target Wake Time (TWT) feature allows devices to schedule check-in times with the router, reducing the time they need to keep their WiFi radio active, thus extending battery life.

WiFi 6 and the Internet of Things (IoT)

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, with more devices than ever connecting to the Internet, WiFi 6’s enhanced capacity and efficiency make it an ideal standard for IoT applications. It allows more devices to connect and operate seamlessly on the same network, from smart thermostats and refrigerators to security systems and lighting.

How to Upgrade to WiFi 6

Compatible Devices
  • To take full advantage of WiFi 6, you need devices that support the 802.11ax standard. This includes routers, smartphones, laptops, and other smart devices.
  • Identifying Compatible Devices: Look for the WiFi 6 or 802.11ax labels on product specifications.
Considerations for Upgrading
  • Assessing Needs: Consider if your current internet usage warrants an upgrade to WiFi 6. It’s most beneficial in environments with many devices or high-bandwidth activities.
  • Cost vs. Benefit Analysis: WiFi 6 devices are generally more expensive, so weigh the benefits against the cost before upgrading.

WiFi 6 vs. WiFi 5: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the difference between WiFi 6 and its predecessor, WiFi 5, is critical to appreciating the advancements in wireless technology. Here’s a comparison:

  • Speed: WiFi 6 provides significantly faster data rates than WiFi 5, thanks to improved encoding and higher efficiency.
  • Capacity: WiFi 6 can handle more devices simultaneously, using technologies like OFDMA and MU-MIMO, reducing network congestion.
  • Range: While WiFi 6 and 5 offer similar coverage areas, WiFi 6 ensures better performance at longer ranges.
  • Efficiency: WiFi 6 is more efficient in handling network traffic, making it ideal for areas with many devices connected, such as smart homes or offices.

The future of WiFi 6 holds exciting prospects, especially as the world becomes increasingly connected. Here are some trends and developments to watch for:

  • Wider Adoption: As more devices become WiFi 6 compatible, we can expect widespread adoption of this standard.
  • Integration with Emerging Technologies: WiFi 6 is set to play a crucial role in the growth of technologies like 5G, IoT, and smart cities.
  • Continuous Improvements: Ongoing advancements in WiFi technology will likely bring even more efficiency and speed enhancements.


WiFi 6 represents a significant step forward in wireless connectivity, offering faster speeds, greater capacity, and improved efficiency. Its benefits are particularly noticeable in environments with multiple devices and high-demand network activities. As technology advances, WiFi 6 will undoubtedly become the backbone of our increasingly connected world, enabling smoother, faster, and more reliable wireless communication.

Is it worth upgrading to a WiFi 6 router now?

If you have many WiFi-enabled devices or need higher network efficiency, upgrading to a WiFi 6 router can be beneficial.

Can WiFi 6 routers work with older devices?

Yes, WiFi 6 routers are backward compatible with older WiFi standards, though you won’t enjoy the full benefits of WiFi 6 with older devices.

Will WiFi 6 improve my internet speed?

WiFi 6 can improve the internal network speed of your devices. However, your internet speed still depends on your ISP and subscription plan.

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Michael is the main author and Editor on the InternetAdvice blog. With a decade of experience under his belt, Michael stands at the forefront of the telecommunications industry. As a Senior Telecom Strategist, Michael has witnessed firsthand the rapid advancements in technology and has been an integral part of pioneering efforts in the adoption of cutting-edge telecom solutions across Canada.

1 thought on “WiFi 6 – The Basics Canadians Should Know”

  1. Hi I’m dirk Klein from Klein electrical .
    I have been installing satellite equipment since 1989.
    And yes we do install starlink .
    So far we have over 200 systems installed with 100%satisfaction rate .
    Everyone loves the hi speed internet .
    Myself included I also have a system at my home.


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