If you are building a brand new wireless network, you may wonder “what do I need for Wi-Fi 6?” The best new routers, after all, tend to include support for the sought-after Wi-Fi 6 Internet protocol. Keep reading to learn all about the steps you need to take to ensure you have a blazing fast Wi-Fi 6 connection.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Wi-Fi 6 is the latest and greatest wireless Internet protocol, offering increased speed and reliability over Wi-Fi 5.
  • The main thing you’ll need for Wi-Fi 6 is a router that supports the protocol. You will not likely have to replace your modem.
  • You will, however, also need Wi-Fi 6 devices that can make the most out of Wi-Fi 6, such as newly manufactured smartphones.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Before understanding what you need to get a Wi-Fi 6 connection going, and if you should get a better router, it is helpful to understand exactly what the protocol means. Wi-Fi 6 refers to IEEE 802.11ax, officially marketed by the Wi-Fi Alliance as Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E. Basically, it is an IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks, following in the footsteps of 802.11ac, which was referred to as WiFi 5.

Insider Tip

Wi-Fi 6 routers can be expensive, so be on the lookout for deals.

Wi-Fi 6 offers faster speeds and a more reliable connection. Wi-Fi 6 can also support eight simultaneous device connections, up from WiFi 5’s four. But what do you need to hop on board the train? Keep reading.

Wi-Fi 6 Router

This is the primary device you will need to purchase to access WiFi 6 Internet. A new router that integrates with the protocol will create a WiFi 6 network. Before purchasing a new router, double-check to ensure that it supports WiFi 6, as even some modern routers are tied to Wi-Fi 5 or even Wi-Fi 4. In other words, if you are wondering what a travel router does and if it can access Wi-Fi 6, the answer could be no.

Modem

It is worth noting that you do not need a new modem to access WiFi 6, as the magic happens in the router and not the modem. The primary thing you’ll need is a new router, though it could never hurt to contact your Internet service provider (ISP) and let them know you are thinking about making the switch.

Supported Devices

WiFi 6 offers some benefits no matter what kind of wireless devices you are using, but you could run into some hiccups with devices that are tied to 2.4GHz. You won’t make the most out of the switch to WiFi 6 unless your devices actively support the upgraded protocol. Don’t worry, though, as most newly manufactured smartphones, tablets, UHD TVs, PCs, and related devices all support the upgrade. Still, read the fine print before making any purchase.

F.A.Q.S

Should you upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router?

It is definitely faster, but these routers are also expensive and may not integrate well with some Wi-Fi devices, such as those designed for a Wi-Fi 5 router.


How to choose the best Wi-Fi 6 router for you?

This depends on your needs and the specs of your current router. Look for a new router that boasts fast maximum speeds over previous generations and an excellent overall Wi-Fi 6 capability.


What devices support Wi-Fi 6?

Plenty of connected devices support the protocol, including smart home devices, smartphones, tablets, and computers.



STAT: The term “Wi-Fi” was created by the nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance and refers to a group of wireless networking protocols that are based on the IEEE 802.11 network standard. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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