What is WiFi 6? Features & Benefits

what is wifi 6

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If there’s anything we can bank on, it’s that technology will evolve. As internet providers regularly increase internet speeds, the infrastructure that makes faster speeds possible must improve. This includes consumer devices like modems and WiFi routers.

Enter WiFi 6, the latest iteration of consumer WiFi, which is a welcome upgrade. Here we’ll highlight what WiFi 6 is, its features and benefits, and whether or not you need it.

What is WiFi 6?

WiFi 6 is the latest generation of WiFi technology, also known as 802.11ax, that leap-frogs the performance of the previous WiFi 5 (802.11ac) standard. WiFi 6 provides improvements in many areas that consumers and technophiles find important. This includes faster speeds, greater capacity, and improved performance–especially in large homes with multiple users.

What Are The Benefits of WiFi6?

The significant features and benefits baked into WiFi 6 can be of great value to many consumers. But for today’s internet users and households, the two most prominent improvements are the increase in speed and capacity. But here’s a closer look at the main benefits of WiFi 6:

Faster Speeds

Wi-Fi 6 is capable of supporting speeds up to 9.6 Gbps, which is 40% faster than Wi-Fi 5, enabling faster download times, improved streaming quality, and faster file transfers. However, it’s important to note that achieving the top speed of Wi-Fi 6 can be influenced by various factors that affect wireless connections. It is recommended to run a wifi speed test and optimize network configurations to ensure optimal performance.

Increased Capacity

Wi-Fi 6 introduces new technologies that allow for multiple devices to receive and transmit data simultaneously. This significantly increases the capacity of wireless networks, reduces the time each device has to wait to receive data, and the number of dropped connections. If your household has multiple users and a multitude of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, this benefit alone is worth the upgrade.

Longer Battery Life

Wi-Fi 6 requires less power consumption, which results in longer battery life for connected devices. This is particularly beneficial for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Enhanced Security

Wi-Fi 6 includes new security protocols, such as WPA3, which provides enhanced protection against cyber threats. This is essential in today’s world, where the security of personal data is constantly under threat.

Do I Need WiFi 6?

This depends on how you currently use the internet and how many others in your household use it at the same time. Another question you may be asking yourself is, “How much speed do I need?” This question is just as important when selecting the best internet provider for your needs as it is when considering gear upgrades.

internet speed quiz

How Much Speed Do I Need?

Take our speed quiz to determine what speed you need based how you use the internet in your household.

Find the Speed You Need

“Need” is a relative term and specific to each person’s situation, but if you fall into any of the categories below, you likely stand to benefit greatly from an upgrade to WiFi 6:


With the number of people working from home skyrocketing in recent years, remote workers need a reliable and fast internet connection. With its improved speeds and capacity, Wifi 6 can handle multiple devices and heavy traffic, making for stable video calls and faster file sharing.


Looking to gain a competitive edge in your online gaming speed? Wifi 6 coupled with a high-speed, low-latency internet connection, such as fiber internet, may just be the winning combo you need. Faster speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity baked into WiFi gives gamers a seamless and reliable gaming experience.

Streaming Enthusiasts

Are your evenings and weekends spent binging movies and shows on from your favorite streaming service? With faster download speeds and improved coverage, Wifi 6 makes for a buffer-free streaming experience for HD and 4K video content.

Connected Households

And what if multiple people in your household regularly engage in the above activities at the same time? The improved coverage, capacity, and speed of Wifi 6 ensure that all connected devices in the home receive a strong and stable signal. 

Will My Devices Work with WiFi 6?

Wifi 6 is backwards compatible with previous generations of Wi-Fi technology, including Wifi 5 (802.11ac) and Wifi 4 (802.11n). You can still connect older devices to a Wifi 6 router and use the internet, but they won’t benefit from the advanced features of Wifi 6.

To take full advantage of the faster speeds and other benefits of Wifi 6, the device you’re using must be Wifi 6-enabled. These devices are specifically designed to get the full measure of the improved WiFi 6 technology.

What Providers Offer WiFi 6 Devices?

Depending on who your internet provider is, you may already have or have access to WiFi 6 technology. Here are a few providers that currently offer WiFi 6 hardware:


Xfinity offers a variety of Wifi 6 gateways and routers, including the xFi Advanced Gateway, which supports speeds of up to 6 Gbps and provides coverage for up to 4,500 square feet.

  • Same-day installations
  • 8+ million free WiFi hotspots
  • Unlimited data available


AT&T offers the Nighthawk AX12 Wifi 6 router, which is capable of delivering speeds of up to 10 Gbps and provides coverage for up to 3,000 square feet.

  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds


Spectrum offers the Spectrum Internet Modem, which supports speeds of up to 3 Gbps and provides coverage for up to 1,500 square feet.

  • Contract buyouts up to $500
  • Free access to WiFi hotspots
  • Nationwide availability

Cox Communications

Cox offers the Panoramic Wifi Gateway, which supports speeds of up to 3 Gbps and provides coverage for up to 2,000 square feet.

Note: Availability may vary depending on your location.

  • Low introductory prices
  • Excellent customer support
  • Blazing fast speeds

Roundup of WiFi 6 Routers

If your provider doesn’t offer WiFi 6 equipment, or you prefer to run your own equipment rather than rent a modem or router, here’s a look at some of the top-selling Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market today:


Source: Amazon

This router offers speeds of up to 6000 Mbps, with 8 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 Gigabit WAN port. It also has built-in AI security to protect your network from cyber threats and comes with a user-friendly setup and management app.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Source: Amazon

This router offers speeds of up to 6000 Mbps, with 4 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 Gigabit WAN port. It has a powerful quad-core processor and advanced beamforming technology to deliver fast and reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.

TP-Link Archer AX6000

Source: Amazon

This router offers speeds of up to 6000 Mbps, with 8 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 Gigabit WAN port. It features advanced security features like WPA3 encryption, parental controls, and guest network support. It also comes with an easy-to-use Tether app for setup and management.

Looking Ahead

WiFi 6 is here and ready for you to enjoy its benefits. While it does offer significant speed potential, your internet speed depends on your provider and plan. Enter your zip code below to find the fastest internet plans in your area.

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Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Keith is a Contributing Writer for HighSpeedOptions with over 10 years of experience in writing and marketing. He has written for and contributed to organizations in the non-profit, financial, and enterprise internet and cable service industries. At HighSpeedOptions, Keith covers everything from broadband news to emerging technologies and how they complement different lifestyles and budgetary needs. In his free time, Keith enjoys spending time with his family, reading as many books as he can, and photography.