The highly anticipated next generation of wireless networks, 802.11ax, better known as Wi-Fi 6, is here, promising significant improvements over the current 802.11ac standard (now Wi-Fi 5) alliance). Faster throughput speeds, longer battery life for customers, and lower bandwidth congestion are some of the most obvious reasons to upgrade to the new standard. But before you buy and buy a Wi-Fi 6 router, there are some important points to keep in mind.  What is Wi-Fi 6?
So far, a lot has been written about Wi-Fi 6, but here is a brief overview of what you can expect from the latest 802.11 wireless standard. (For more information, please see our explanation.) WLAN 6 routers use several new technologies that can increase overall performance through higher throughput speeds (theoretically close to 1
In addition, Wi-Fi 6 aims to reduce network congestion, increase client capacity, and reduce client power consumption. For example, Wi-Fi 6 uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation, which allows up to 30 clients to simultaneously share a channel. This improves efficiency by increasing overall capacity and reducing latency. In short, OFDMA assigns time intervals to clients that allow them to better analyze available network channels. For example, if someone in your home is streaming a movie and another person is checking social media on a phone, a router using OFDMA can assign channels to each device, depending on when it's most needed.
Wi-Fi 6 also uses Target Wake Time (TWT), which allows devices to determine when they normally wake up to begin sending and receiving data. This extends the battery life of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as battery-powered smart home devices such as surveillance cameras and video doorbells. The new standard also utilizes previously unused radio frequencies to provide faster 2.4 GHz performance and uses improved bandwidth management to provide improved quality of service (QoS) options. In addition, Wi-Fi 6 provides multi-user multiple-input multiple-out (MU-MIMO) for uplink and downlink 8-stream connections, streaming data not consecutively but simultaneously, and a fairer distribution of bandwidth between connected MUs MIMO-enabled clients. Wi-Fi 5 MU-MIMO has been upgraded with four streams.
So, should you upgrade now?
The short answer is probably not. You can currently find a handful of WLAN 6 routers on the market (see reviews of the Asus RT-AX88U and the Netgear Nighthawk AX8). Every day, more and more are backward compatible with previous generation clients. However, to take advantage of the faster speeds, improved range, reduced power consumption and other benefits of Wi-Fi 6, you must use Wi-Fi 6-enabled clients between.
Devices supporting the latest protocol are just being introduced. Note, however, that they also use a form that is still in the draft. PCs with Intel Ice Lake CPUs will support the protocol, but these are being slowly commercialized. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor-based smartphones, including OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10, also support Wi-Fi 6. If you do not have a Wi-Fi 6-enabled device, accessories for the aftermarket are also available.
Is Wi-Fi 6 completed?
Remember, Wi-Fi 6 is still a draft only. The Wi-Fi 6 standard is not yet finalized and is expected to be ratified later this year. This means that early routers and clients may not offer all the features that Wi-Fi 6 promises. And as with Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5, there will probably be two waves of Wi-Fi 6 devices as the functions are fine-tuned and finalized. That is, the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to begin certification of Wi-Fi 6 devices in the third quarter of 2019. Final IEEE approval is expected towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.
Also required is support for 1024-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), a method that allows more data to be packed into each signal to increase throughput. This provides 25 percent more capacity than the 256-QAM method used in most Wi-Fi 5 routers. Finally, devices must have scheduling capabilities for target activation. All this jargon is a lot to unpack, but rest assured that every device that supports the final Wi-Fi 6 standard has all these features.
Think Before You Upgrade
Here's Where Wi-Fi 6 will still work in the summer of 2019, but once it's fully available, it's likely to be a new game. So, what's the conclusion for an upgrade now? If you're currently using a Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) router with a mix of Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) and Wi-Fi 5 clients and the job is done, there's no reason to switch it on replace Wi-Fi 6 router. But if you want to build a new network and be prepared for the onslaught of Wi-Fi 6 clients that will eventually come to the shelves, future proofing with a Wi-Fi 6 router is a good choice. However, keep in mind that the technology is likely to evolve and add more features at a later date.