6 VS WiFi comparison. WiFi 5: Do you have to buy an AX WiFi router in 2022?, Wi-Fi 6: What is it and which operators offer it?

Wi-Fi 6: What is it and which operators offer it

Good to know: to benefit from the advantages of this new standard, it is necessary have a Wi-Fi 6 compatible device . Which is not the case, far from it, of all smartphones, tablets and other computers.

6 VS WiFi comparison. WiFi 5: Do you have to buy an AX WiFi router in 2022 ?

While WiFi 5 has been democratized for a few years already, the WiFi 6 compatible devices are increasingly present on the market. The question arises now: there is an interest in jumping today the step of WiFi 6 by buying a compatible router ?

July 28 update : Netgear’s ORBI RBK352 kit appears in our comparison. This offers the possibility of creating a mesh network, improving the performance of a wireless network when the area to be covered exceeds 50 m² or obstacles are present. Icing on the cake, its price is rather affordable for a WiFi 6 compatible product.

That on the way from WiFi “1”, the original version of the Wireless communication standard Appeared in 1997 (with a maximum speed of… 2 Mbps !) and popularized in 1999 with the 802 standard.11b. In just over 20 years, WiFi has settled solidly at the heart of our network facilities, offering an increasingly Reliable, fast and practical to conventional wired connections. Over time and versions, performance has logically progressed: the theoretical 11 Mbps of WiFi 802.11b seem so insignificant today, compared to some Gbps authorized by the latest versions of the WiFi standard.

Mobile wifi

Today, the Wifi 6 (or 802.11AX) tends to democratize, gradually replacing the WiFi 5 (previously 802.11ac) At the heart of compatible devices. Version after version, WiFi has evolved in terms of performance, stability and features. And the passage from WiFi 5 (WiFi AC) to WiFi 6 (WiFi AX) is no exception.

The news and advantages of WiFi 6

The first advantage of WiFi 6 compared to WiFi 5 remains the increase in maximum theoretical flow, thanks to the use of different frequency and technologies bands (number of simultaneous flows, channel width, type of modulation used, etc.). Thus, WiFi 5 offers a maximum bandwidth of 3.4 GBPS if we respect the standard the standard for the standard in terms of number of flows, channel width and modulation used, while WiFi 6 allows Increase this bandwidth to more than 10 Gbps.

Netgear Nighthawk AX8 AX12 Netgear routers

WiFi 6 also requires the possibility of using the WPA3 security protocol, Even if it is still possible to use WPA2. In dense environment, latency is lower and the flows are higher than with WiFi 5, and a larger number of customers can connect. Finally, energy management has been improved, authorizing a decrease in consumption and therefore an increase in autonomy. Suffice to say that WiFi 6 will quickly become essential.

WiFi 6: which compatible router to choose ?

Many models of WiFi 6 compatible routers have appeared in recent months on the market. Difficult to navigate; So we have selected some interesting models, with a Good performance/functionalities/price ratio. Note that all models are also compatible with the old versions of the WiFi standard. You will have no problem connecting a WiFi 5 compatible device only, or even WiFi 4 (802.11n) or anterior.

Image 1: WiFi 6 vs comparison. WiFi 5: Do you have to buy an AX WiFi router in 2022?


Netgear Nighthawk Rax80 (AX8)

Netgear’s Nighthawk Rax80 is clearly our “favorite” router. Efficient, with a simple and complete administration interface, it offers many features at a reasonable price for this type of product.

Netgear Nighthawk Rax120 (AX12)

The Netgear Nighthawk Rax120 is the big brother of the RAX80: with a multi-agig port and based on a more powerful platform than the RAX80, it can cover a larger number of peripherals simultaneously. Its much higher price reserves it for very specific needs.

Image 3: WiFi 6 vs comparison. WiFi 5: Do you have to buy an AX WiFi router in 2022?

TP-Link Archer AX11000

The AX11000 Archer of TP-Link is an interesting model, with some features that are worth a look, such as the second WiFi network in 5 GHz dedicated to gaming or the aggregation of link on two Gigabit Ethernet ports. However, it is not free from faults, but we can hope that future firmware updates will correct this. There remains its price, a little too high for our taste to offer a really viable alternative to the Nighthawk Rax80.

Image 4: WiFi 6 vs comparison. WiFi 5: Do you have to buy an AX WiFi router in 2022?

Netgear Orbi RBK352

WiFi 6 mesh at affordable prices

The orbi range from Netgear consists of different kits made up of routers and satellites allowing you to mount a mesh WiFi network, such as the RBK50 that we tested some time ago already. WiFi 6 compatible, the ORBI RBK352 kit is particularly affordable and allows you to simply extend its wireless network. The installation and configuration are very simple: everything is done via its smartphone and a dedicated application (it is however also possible to directly configure the router via a browser on your PC). If the router of the RBK352 kit is enough to cover an area of ​​approximately 50 m², the diffusion of the WiFi signal to other parts of its home is improved when adding the satellite.

The theoretical maximum flow rate is announced at 1800 Mbps, but the 2 × 2 configuration of WiFi antennas limits the theoretical bandwidth in 1200 Mbps in 5 GHz in practice in practice. In practice, our tests (see below) highlight performance in relation to the Nighthawk Rax80 and Rax120 when you are near the router. On the other hand, from a certain distance and/or when obstacles are present, the advantage of the mesh network compared to a single WiFi access point becomes interesting.

WiFi 6 routers: what performance ?

WiFi performance remains highly dependent the client station used, the distance and the size of the frequencies, among other things. To measure the gain brought by WiFi 6 compared to previous standards, so we had to develop a most representative and reproducible test protocol possible, while of course that each case and each residential installation is almost unique.

So we used two WiFi customers, an Acer Predator Helios 300 notebook boarding a Killer AX1650X controller, and a One Plus smartphone. Both are of course compatible WiFi 6 and are in a configuration 2 × 2 Mimo. Only the AX1650X, on the other hand, supports a canal width of 160 MHz. In terms of distances, we carried out tests at 1.5 meters (next to the router), 5 meters (in the same room) and 10 meters, a wall separating in this last configuration the router of the client station. We measure the update and descendants’ flows thanks to the IPERF test software. A PC directly connected to the router to test in Ethernet, via two Ethernet interfaces at 2.5 Gbps, hosts the server part. On the customer side, we launch the same software by taking care to use the two network interfaces well. Thus, the test is only limited by the bandwidth of the WiFi connection. We finally take the average of three successive measures of 180 seconds.

The improvements and innovations made by WiFi 6 are clearly visible when you are interested in real performance. Even if differences exist between the different products tested, Overall WiFi 6 is faster than WiFi 5, Whatever the distance or type of customer.

Interesting detail, if the flow rates drop significantly with the use of the 5 GHz band, the bandwidth remains superior in all cases to that obtained in 2.4 GHz. Of course, each practical case is almost different, it may be necessary to juggle between the two frequency bands to obtain optimum performance. This is one of the strong points of WiFi 6 on WiFi 5, the latter being limited to the 5 GHz band.

The future: WiFi 6th now, Wifi 7 by 2024

WiFi is a constantly evolving standard, and the next revisions are already on our doors. Thus, the WiFi 6th (which is also part of standard 802.11AX) already begins to be integrated into certain general public devices, and the WiFi 7 (802.11be, or WiFi Be) already points out, with a final version provided for 2024.

Concretely, WiFi 6e is an extension of the WiFi 6 standard which uses frequencies beyond 6 GHz, where WiFi 6 is limited to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Aside from this point, we find all the advances, improvements and innovations made by “classic” WiFi 6. This is why the 6th WiFi was integrated into the standard “WiFi 802.11ax “and was not ratified apart. Only problem, in 6 GHz, the 6th Wi-Fi on the trays of the hertzian beams, services fixed by satellite and radioastronomy. The new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, released in early 2022, is for example equipped with it. Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that 20 % of Wi-Fi 6 aircraft sold will be compatible with Wi-Fi 6th by the end of the year. The Livebox 6 is also the first box marketed to be compatible with Wi-Fi 6th.

In the longer term, WiFi 7 (or 802.11be for purists) should make its appearance. This new extension of the WiFi standard will bring an increase in flows, thanks to the use of band frequencies in 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz, to band widths reaching 320 MHz and different improvements and new features. It should offer a theoretical maximum speed almost 5 times higher than that of Wi-Fi 6 (46 Gbps against 9.6 Gbps). The final version of the standard should not see the light of day before 2024.

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Wi-Fi 6: what is it and which operators offer it ?

Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless connection standard launched in 2019, offers increased speed and better performance than the previous version, Wi-Fi 5. So what are the news provided by Wi-Fi 6 and which internet box to choose to benefit from it ?

Wi-Fi 6: What are it and which operators offer it?

François Le Gall – Modified on 06/30/2023 at 4:06 p.m. Summary

  1. Wi-Fi 6: What is it ?
  2. Wi-Fi standards
  3. What are the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 ?
  4. What are the boxes compatible with Wi-Fi 6 ?

The demand for wireless connections is experiencing exponential growth. Indeed, in a home the number of devices connected to the Internet also continues to increase. An evolution to which the new wireless connection standard is supposed to meet: Wi-Fi 6. A new Wi-Fi standard which is included in some of the best internet boxes.

Wi-Fi 6: What is it ?

WiFi 6 (802.11 ax) is the latest generation of wireless connection. It appeared in 2019. This evolution which succeeds Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac) allowsIncrease flow by 40% Compared to the previous standard, available since 2014. What boost internet flow rates at home, the performance of which is often much lower than the actual connection capacities, as you can see on our debit test. This new generation of wi-fi, more intelligent, also offers Best performance in terms of connectivity but alsoenergy savings On your devices.

The Wi-Fi 6 standard increases the flow by 40% and improves coverage of the Wi-Fi network

Wi-Fi standards

In addition to its performance, the 6th generation of wireless network is also synonymous with novelty with the simplification of its nomenclature by Wi-Fi Alliance, the American association which has the Wi-Fi brand and which performs certification tests. Until now, Wi-Fi standards have been expressed with a series of figures 802.11 and two letters. Thus, the new 802 standard.11 AX becomes Wi-Fi 6 and its predecessor Wi-Fi 802.11 AC is now named Wi-Fi 5. Here is a summary table of the different Wi-Fi standards since its introduction:

Wi-Fi name Wi-Fi standard Release date
Wi-Fi 1 802.11 B 1999
Wi-Fi 2 802.11 a 1999
Wi-Fi 3 802.11 g 2003
Wi-Fi 4 802.11 n 2009
Wi-Fi 5 802.11 AC 2014
Wi-Fi 6 802.11 Ax 2019
Wi-Fi 6th 802.11 Ax 2021

Good to know: the Wi-Fi network allows you to connect several devices (computer, smartphone, network printer, tablet, etc.) to the Internet without wireless. Very practical, this technology uses radio waves to disseminate information on the Internet and connect all your equipment compatible with the Internet.

When you do a search on the Internet from your computer connected to the Wi-Fi network, the wireless network adapter of your computer converts information to a radio signal. This signal is then transmitted, thanks to your Wi-Fi antenna, your Internet box. She will then decode the receipt radio signal and send the information requested to the Internet via her Ethernet connection.

However, even if Wi-Fi waves have the capacity to transmit information to an increasingly important speed, thanks to the evolution of standards, this connection mode is still limited in terms of scope, that is to say -Dire in a cover department. The new Wi-Fi 6 version will bring improvements to this aspect, among other things !


What are the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 ?

The new Wi-Fi 6 standard first allows a considerable improvement in flows. This last evolution of the Wi-Fi standard has a Maximum connection flow of 10 GB/s. More specifically, Wi-Fi 6 allows an increase in flow of 40 % compared to its predecessor, thanks to a higher data transfer and more powerful processors. In practice, no one will benefit from such performances. However, the average speed of connections is well boosted with this standard.

This new generation of wireless network also has an optimized management capacity of congested Wi-Fi networks. Thanks to the association of OFDMA and MU-MIMO technologies, Wi-Fi 6 is more efficient and the flow is multiplied by 4 in dense areas, where many devices are connected (as in airports, stages, shopping centers . )). With current versions, the Wi-Fi network is indeed very often slow in public places, when many devices are connected and this because of congestion.

Technology Ofdma (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) allows you to divide the Wi-Fi channel when it communicates with several devices. Technology Mu-milo (Mimo-Multiple-in multiple-out) allows all devices connected to Wi-Fi to communicate with the router simultaneously. To summarize, Wi-Fi 6 can Manage a large number of connected devices at the same time without slowing performance.

Another advantage, Wi-Fi 6 is also more ecological by boosting the battery life of connected devices. This new standard indeed improves the autonomy of connected devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) thanks to the Target Wake Time function (TWT). Concretely, this Smart wi-fi Allows you to indicate to your devices when putting their Wi-Fi on standby, to save their battery.

Apart from a faster speed offered compared to the Wi-Fi 5 standard, the new generation of wireless network, Wi-Fi 6 also improves the effectiveness and the connection capacity. In addition, the difference in Wi-Fi 6 in comparison with the previous standard is also played on a maximized range of the latter, because it optimizes the use of the 2.4 GHz band. Consequence: with Wi-Fi 6, there is a Best Wi-Fi coverage of premises (35 meters).

Good to know: to benefit from the advantages of this new standard, it is necessary have a Wi-Fi 6 compatible device . Which is not the case, far from it, of all smartphones, tablets and other computers.

Finally, let’s finish with an important precision: since 2021, Wi-Fi 6 has experienced an evolution with theArrival of Wi-Fi 6th. It is a tri-band Wi-Fi, since the 6 GHz frequency band has been added to the two already existing bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Consequence, flows and wi-fi coverage are even better.

What are the boxes compatible with Wi-Fi 6 ?

Launched in 2019, the Wi-Fi 6 standard is now widespread with the general public. More and more devices are now available with this new wireless network technology.

Indeed, the modems of many internet boxes are compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 standard:

  • The SFR Box 8 with SFR Power and SFR Premium offers
  • The Bbox Fiber Wi-Fi 6, which equips the Bbox Ultym offer
  • The new Wi-Fi 6 of the Bbox Must
  • The Livebox 5 of Orange is also Wi-Fi 6 compatible when it is associated with the Wi-Fi 6 repeater included in the Livebox Up offer
  • Orange Livebox 6 which is available with the new Livebox Max Orange offer.
  • The Freebox Pop server
  • The Freebox Delta server
  • The Red Box modem (optional)

The list of Internet boxes compatible with Wi-Fi 6:

  • SFR Fiber Power
  • SFR Premium fiber
  • Red Box Fiber
  • Bbox Ultym Fiber
  • Livebox Up Fiber
  • Livebox Max Fiber
  • Freebox Pop
  • Freebox Delta Fiber
  • BBOX Must

Important precision: The Freebox Delta, the Bbox Ultym Fiber and the Livebox Max Fiber are also compatible with Wi-Fi 6e.

Wi-Fi 6 increases Wi-Fi flows, manages a greater number of devices simultaneously and improves the coverage of your home.

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