• Technology

Battle of the WiFi Generations: What’s the Difference Between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6?

Jan 02, 2023 by Gracey Maala

3 min read

AB_Battle of WiFi Generations_ What’s the Difference Between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6_

WiFi, short for Wireless Fidelity, is a prevalent technology used worldwide. It’s indeed difficult to imagine a day without WiFi as it unites our growing number of electronic devices. WiFi has also kept people connected and entertained, increased the capabilities for education, healthcare, and other sectors, and aided in creating new technologies, industries, and careers around the world.

Let's compare the WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 standards!

WiFi 5, which was introduced in mid-2013, was the industry standard for wireless local area networks. However, in 2019, WiFi 6 started gaining popularity, with significant global shipments. WiFi 6 differs from WiFi 5 in key areas such as power consumption, security, data transfer speeds, and latency. Let’s find out more!


How are they different?

 WiFi 5 and 6

WiFi is a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology based on IEEE 802.11. WiFi 5 (802.11ac) is the 5th generation of WiFi, which rolled out with Wave 1 certification in mid-2013. On the other hand, WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is the 6th generation of WiFi. It was introduced in 2018 and hit the market in 2019, designed to improve speeds, increase efficiency, and reduce congestion in heavy bandwidth usage scenarios by building upon WiFi 5.

The most recent WiFi standard generation is backward compatible with the previous standards. WiFi 6 supports all features of WiFi 5 with added benefits.


What makes WiFi 6 better than WiFi 5?

WiFi 6 is faster and more configurable than WiFi 5, thanks to WiFi's most recent technological advancements. Check out its key improvements below.


  • Speed
WiFi 6 vs WiFi 5 Speed 

From TP-Link Official Website

Every generation of WiFi increases WiFi speeds. Compared with WiFi 5, the largest transmission rate of WiFi 6 reaches 9.6 Gbps, which is around 40% higher than that of WiFi 5 (6.9 Gbps). In addition, WiFi 6 uses a 160 MHz Channel to provide a wider channel and a 1024-QAM to provide a signal packed with more data, increasing efficiency. You will experience stutter-free VR or enjoy vivid 4K and even 8K streaming.


  • Frequency

WiFi 5 only supports 5GHz, while WiFi 6 covers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Although 5GHz has a smaller range than 2.4GHz, it is faster. With WiFi 6's dual bands, you can use 2.4GHz to cover a wider area and 5GHz to get faster speeds.


  • Efficiency

The WiFi 6 standard uses OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) for increased efficiency. This feature establishes independently modulating subcarriers within frequencies to enhance wireless network performance. In addition, this method enables multiple clients to send and receive data simultaneously. This considerable improvement in efficiency works for both uploads and downloads.

Moreover, WiFi 6's distinguishing feature is ultimately performance in congested networks. Therefore, it performs best in places with lots of devices, such as offices, shopping centers, and crowded buildings.


  • Security

For security, WiFi 6 adopts the WPA (WiFi Protected Access) 3. The WiFi Alliance released the WPA 3 encryption protocol in 2018, which is an improvement over WPA 2. WPA 3's enhanced security makes it better able to prevent brute-force attacks.


  • Power consumption
WiFi 6 vs WiFi 5 Power Consumption 

From TP-Link Official Website

Target Wake Time (TWT) enables devices to negotiate how often they wake up to send or receive data. With this feature, IoT and mobile devices can sleep for longer periods and have significantly longer battery life.


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The most recent WiFi generation is intended to boost network capacity and enhance the functionality of your home network. You can enjoy buffer-free streaming, quicker downloads, and more connected smart home devices with faster WiFi speeds and a dependable connection powered by PLDT Home. Stream better and enjoy more intense gaming sessions with WiFi 6 routers!


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