What is Wi-Fi 6 and when is it coming?

Next year is going to be an important one for the wireless technology – 5G will become part of the lives of millions of people across North America, we will continue seeing a rollout of Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) devices, and your next connected device will most likely be Wi-Fi 6 compatible. Future routers, laptops, smartphones, and other connected devices will be Wi-Fi 6 certified. While we’ve discussed 5G and briefly touched on WPA3 in the past, Wi-Fi 6 needed to be discussed.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation wireless Wi-Fi® based on the latest 802.11ax technology. The technology will still be called 802.11ax, but the devices that are compatible with the new standard will be called Wi-Fi 6 compatible. Here’s a quick explanation of how previous versions of Wi-Fi® are called;

  • Wi-Fi 6 is used to identify devices that support 802.11ax technology
  • Wi-Fi 5 is used to identify devices that support 802.11ac technology
  • Wi-Fi 4 is used to identify devices that support 802.11n technology

Wi-Fi 6 comes with many advantages when compared to the previous versions. With the latest option users will enjoy faster speeds, an increased amount of possible connections passing through a device, and will generally deliver better experiences to users using Wi-Fi. The latest Wi-Fi 6 will be backward compatible and would still work with Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 devices. However, we wanted to highlight that only Wi-Fi 6 compatible equipment such as the latest tablets, phones, notebooks, thermostats, and video cameras will be the only ones able to take full advantage of the new technology. So when you are purchasing your next router, laptop, or smartphone, look for the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ mark.

What is WPA3?

As you might already know, the Wi-Fi Alliance developed Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2). The primary goal of the two security protocols and security certification programs has always been to secure wireless computer networks. WPA3 is the latest version of the protocol. The new standard is meant to simplify the process of setting up devices with no visible display interface and to mitigate security issues posed by easily detectable passwords.

How are these technologies going to affect you?

WPA2 has been around for a long time and went through some security hoops. Individuals and businesses were affected, as weakness in the WPA2 protocol allowed cybercriminals to access the network, as well as all traffic, between connected access points. Wi-Fi 5 compatible devices are struggling to meet the growing need for more devices connected to a single network. Fortunately, a few months ago the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying products that use their replacements: WPA3 and Wi-Fi 6.

Tech giants immediately began adapting the new standards. Electronics manufacturers have been rolling out WPA3 security routers one after another for months now. The majority of WI-Fi 6 devices will start hitting the market in 2019. The world is slowly but steadily moving towards faster speeds and better experience and the race is already on – EnGenius recently launched the world’s first 2×2 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) access point meant to serve small and medium organizations wanting to take advantage of the latest technology.

WPA3 will be on place to provide a secure connection, and Wi-Fi 6 will make sure that the wireless networks will be able to handle the steadily growing amounts of connected devices that businesses and homes need. However, we have to remember that the more connected devices you have, the higher will be the risk of cyber-attacks as more devices will simply give more possible entryways to hackers who are after your sensitive information. But don’t panic! We are happy to confirm that quality antivirus software will be working with devices that are Wi-Fi 6 and WPA3 enabled.

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