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WIFI 5 vs WIFI 6

There has been a lot of talk lately about WIFI 5 VS WIFI 6. But what are the major differences between these two standards? In this article, we will break down the key differences along with everything you should know about WIFI 6 in comparison with WIFI 5.

What is WiFi 5

WiFi 5 also known as 802.11ac, was first released in 2014 and is the most widely used WiFi standard. WIFI 5 offers a number of benefits over the previous 802.11n standard, including faster speed but low range, less crowded compared to 802.11n and improved security.

One of the most notable improvements with WiFi 5 is the introduction of MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology, which allows 4 devices to connect to the same router and receive data at the same time compared to SU-MIMO(Single-user, Multiple Input, Multiple-output) of 802.11n(WIFI4).


This is a significant improvement over the previous standard, which could only handle one device simultaneously. While WiFi ac offers a number of improvements over the previous standard,

there are some trade-offs to consider. One of the most notable is range. Because WiFi ac uses wider channel widths, it is more susceptible to interference from other devices and objects in the environment. This can impact the range and performance of your network, especially in larger homes or office spaces.

If you’re looking for the fastest and less crowded WiFi connection, 802.11ac is the way to go. However, if you’re concerned about range or compatibility, you may want to stick with the previous 802.11n standard.

What is WiFi 6

WiFi 6 also known as 802.11ax, is the newest WiFi standard and was first released in 2019. This newer standard offers many benefits over the previous 802.11ac standard, including improved higher data rates, faster speeds, lower latency, improved battery life, and reduced congestion in heavy bandwidth usage scenarios.

One of the most notable improvements with WiFi 6 is the introduction of OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) technologies, which allows transmission of multiple data packets of multiple devices in one channel at the same time rather than one data packet of one device in one channel of WIFI 5.

This allows the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, rather than having to take turns sending and receiving data with one device at once.

In addition to OFDMA, WiFi ax has improved MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology. As mentioned before MU-MIMO was introduced in WIFI 5 V2 but it was limited to download-related tasks,

but in WIFI 6 it is applicable to both download and upload related tasks for up to 8 devices connected to the same router.

This is a significant improvement over the previous standard WIFI 5, which could only handle 4 devices simultaneously.

Difference between WiFi 5 vs WiFi 6

WIFI 5 vs WIFI 6 Speed

One of the key benefits of 802.11ax is higher theoretical maximum speeds. An 802.11ax capable router can offer throughput up to 9.6 Gbps, while an 802.11ac router is limited to just 3.5 Gbps. This means that an 802.11ax router can offer nearly three times the maximum speed of an 802.11ac router.

Note: ” Do note that the increased speed doesn’t mean that it is going to increase your internet speed, instead it will better utilize and share the existing speed among multiple devices of your LAN. “


The latency of a WIFI network is the time it takes for a data packet to be sent from one point to another. 802.11ax WIFI networks offer less latency than 802.11ac WIFI networks.

This is due to the use of OFDMA, which allows multiple devices to share the same WIFI channel to communicate with the router, which can be especially beneficial for online gaming, streaming, and other real-time applications.

OFDMA is especially beneficial if you have a lot of devices that require WIFI simultaneously.


802.11ax WIFI networks offer an improved range over 802.11ac WIFI networks. This is due to improved Beamforming. Beamforming is a WIFI technology that directs the WIFI signal to specific devices, rather than broadcasting it in all directions. This can improve the WIFI signal strength and reliability for devices that are located far from the WIFI router.


802.11ax also utilizes a wider channel than 802.11ac, which allows more data to be transferred at once. An 802.11ac WIFI network uses a 80 MHz channel, while 802.11ax WIFI networks can use a 160 MHz channel. This means that an 802.11ax WIFI network can offer twice the bandwidth of an 802.11ac WIFI network.

Power Consumption

802.11ax WIFI networks use TWT to improve WIFI performance and reduce power consumption. Target Wake Time (TWT) is a WIFI technology that helps to improve the battery life of smartphones and IoT devices etc.

TWT allows WIFI devices to sleep for extended periods of time, and only wake up when they need to receive or transmit data. This can dramatically improve battery life for WIFI-enabled devices.

signal interference

802.11ax use BSS (Base Service Station) color to improve WIFI performance in crowded environments. BSS color is a WIFI technology that helps to reduce interference between two different WIFI networks.

BSS color works by assigning each WIFI network a different color. This helps to reduce interference between WIFI networks, as the router will only connect to WIFI networks with the same color.

The bottom line: Is getting Wi-Fi 6 worth it?

Overall, 802.11ax offers higher speeds and lower latency than 802.11ac but is it worth it? well WIFI 6 is well worth it if you have more than 8 devices in your home or small office/ business with many WIFI devices that require constant WIFI simultaneously and looking for the best WIFI performance then 802.11ax is the way to go.

WIFI routers that support 802.11ax also offer improved beamforming and BSS color technology, which can help to strengthen WIFI performance in crowded environments.


Is WiFi 6 worth it over WiFi 5?

WiFi 6 is faster and more efficient than its predecessors. 802.11ax is better at handling dense networks with lots of devices connected simultaneously.

However, not all devices are compatible with the newest standard and it may take some time before WiFi 6 becomes ubiquitous.

If you have the budget and want to future-proof your home network, then yes WiFi 6 is a good investment.

Can Wi-Fi 6 penetrate walls better?

The answer to this question depends on various factors because Wi-Fi signals are designed to travel through the air and they can penetrate walls to some extent.

However, the thicker the wall, the more attenuation (signal loss) will occur. So if you have a brick or concrete wall, it will be much harder for the signal to penetrate than if you have thin drywall.

In general, Wi-Fi signals will penetrate walls better than they will penetrate metal objects. So if you have WIFI signal strength issues and there are metal objects in the way (e.g. filing cabinets, metal studs in the walls, etc.), moving them out of the way can help.

Another factor to consider is that Wi-Fi signals can be reflected by surfaces like mirrors and metal objects. So if you have a WIFI signal issue and there are reflective surfaces in the room (e.g. a mirrored wall, a shiny metal table, etc.), moving them out of the way can also help.

Does Wi-Fi 6 benefit older devices?

If you’re wondering if your older devices will see any benefits from upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router, the answer is: it depends. Newer laptops, phones, and other devices that are built to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6 should theoretically see a speed boost when connecting to a Wi-Fi 6 router.

But if your devices don’t support the 802.11ax standard, they won’t be able to take advantage of the extra speed and efficiency that Wi-Fi 6 routers can provide.

So, if you’re planning on upgrading your home network to Wi-Fi 6, it’s important to make sure that all of your devices will be able to take advantage of the new standard. Otherwise, you might not see the benefits that you’re expecting.

Do I need a new modem for Wi-Fi 6?

No, you don’t need a new modem because it’s the WIFI 6 compatible router responsible for a performance boost, not a modem.

Does Wi-Fi 6 use more battery?

No WIFI 6 will reduce power consumption by utilizing TWT. Target Wake Time is a WIFI technology that helps to improve battery life for WIFI devices.

TWT allows WIFI devices to sleep for extended periods of time, and only wake up when they need to receive or transmit data. This can dramatically improve battery life for WIFI-enabled devices.

Does WiFi 6 have a better range?

Yes, WIFI 6 has a theoretical range of about 30% further than 802.11ac according to the IEEE Standards Association. In the real world, this number will be lower due to obstacles such as walls and interference from other devices.

However, the increased range of 802.11ax can be helpful in large homes or offices where previous WIFI standards had trouble reaching all corners.



Hi! I am Sufiyan, founder and voice behind RouterInstructions. I am a networking expert with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Here at, my main goal is to provide quick and easy guides to fix WIFI routers issues, WIFI extenders issues, slow Internet issues.