As technology advances and the virtual connectivity of the world grows, Wi-Fi plays a pivotal role in our everyday lives. With Wi-Fi 6 being brand new, many are left wondering about the differences between the new standards and the old standards of Wi-Fi 5. Let’s delve into the details and contrasts of each, while exploring improvements, features, and benefits. 

Wi-Fi 5 Features

Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO)

Wifi 5 introduced MU-MIMO, which allowed multiple devices to connect to a network without throttling. 

Maximum Speed 3.5 Gbps

Wi-Fi 5 allowed for a maximum speed of 3.5 Gbps, which was under a gigabyte before.


Beamforming was introduced with Wi-Fi 5. It directs Wi-Fi signals towards specific devices rather than broadcasting in all directions. This lead to better signal strength, faster data rates, and improved range. 

80 MHz & 160 MHz Channel Width

Wider channel widths increase the amount of data that can be transmitted at one time, so this drastically reduced the time it takes to transfer files. 

Maximum Speed 9.6 Gbps

Wi-Fi 6 built on Wi-Fi 5 and increased the speed even more, 9.6 Gbps allows for seamless streaming and is best for gaming. 

OFDMA Technology

Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) enables the ability for a single channel to be divided into smaller sub-channels. This allows data to transmit simultaneously across multiple devices. 

Target Wake Time (TWT)

Wi-Fi 6 introduces TWT, which enables devices to negotiate a wake time for the network, decreasing bandwidth usage.

Better Security

Wi-Fi 6 supports the newest security protocol, Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), which has stronger user authentication capabilities and better encryption tools.

Wi-Fi 6 Features

In conclusion, both Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 offer significant improvements over previous Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 5 brought advancements such as MU-MIMO, beamforming, and wider channel widths, which greatly enhanced network efficiency, range, and data rates. However, Wi-Fi 6 takes these improvements a step further by incorporating technologies like OFDMA, TWT, and multiple bandwidth options, which further enhance network capacity, efficiency, and device battery life.

When comparing Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, it’s clear that Wi-Fi 6 provides a more future-proof solution, as it is designed to handle the increasing number of connected devices in today’s smart homes and offices. While Wi-Fi 5 is still a viable option for many users, upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 offers long-term benefits, particularly for environments with numerous devices and higher bandwidth demands.

Ultimately, the choice between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 depends on your specific needs, such as network capacity, device compatibility, and budget constraints. However, as technology continues to progress and the demand for faster, more efficient Wi-Fi networks grows, Wi-Fi 6 will increasingly become the standard for wireless connectivity.


Samantha Annis

IOT/IT Specialist

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