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The long wait is over. Wi-Fi 6 has finally launched. But what is Wi-Fi 6 and what does its arrival mean for the average consumer?
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Wi-Fi Certified 6 program is now available for devices “based on IEEE 802.11ax.” The Wi-Fi Alliance’s press release on the matter sheds some light on what customers can expect from Wi-Fi 6:
“Wi-Fi Certified 6 supports a more diverse set of devices and applications, from those requiring peak performance in demanding enterprise environments to those requiring low power and low latency in smart homes or industrial IoT scenarios. Wi-Fi Certified 6 delivers nearly four times the capacity of Wi-Fi 5, and is an evolutionary advancement for Wi-Fi’s ability to deliver high-performance infrastructure and optimized connectivity to all devices on a network simultaneously – bringing noticeable improvements in densely connected Wi-Fi environments.”
Wi-Fi 6 is also expected to offer support for cellular networks and to “deliver many advanced 5G services.”
As 9to5Mac notes, the launch of Wi-Fi 6 also means that manufacturers of Wi-Fi-ready devices “can have compatible devices certified to use the “Wi-Fi 6 Certified” label. While the latest iterations of Apple’s flagship smartphone ( the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro and Max) are expected to qualify for the certification, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Samsung Galaxy Note10 has already been Wi-Fi 6 certified. The Wi-Fi Alliance expects Wi-Fi 6 to be widely supported by “most leading phones and access points.” Announced just last week, the latest line of iPhones are expected to ship out as early as September 20.
As far as security is concerned, the Wi-Fi Alliance also states that the certification for Wi-Fi 6 “requires the latest generation of Wi-Fi security, Wi-Fi Certified WPA3.” For individual customers, that will most likely mean using a version of WPA3 called WPA3-Personal. With WPA3-Personal, customers can primarily expect to have the ability to use easier-to-remember Wi-Fi passwords because of a technology that is “resistant to offline dictionary attacks where an adversary attempts to determine a network password by trying possible passwords without further network interaction.”
In addition to increased security, 9to5Mac reports that Wi-Fi 6 is also expected to provide longer range and “reduced battery consumption.”