Wifi 6 vs. 5G: how do they compare?

Internet connectivity is entering a new era, and you might be plagued with the constant online debate about Wifi 6 vs 5g. However, the reality is much more promising than that. The world of wireless connectivity is expanding rapidly, and consequently, our internet requirements are changing. Will Wif 6 or 5g suffice to these needs, and how do these two technologies differ from one another? Finally, what does the future of internet connectivity look like?

Both 5g and Wifi 6 provide higher speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity than their predecessors. But what is each technology best for?

Before answering these questions, let’s discuss what Wifi 6 is, its functionalities and what it offers.

What is Wifi 6?

Wifi 6 was released in 2019 by the Wifi Alliance, whereas Wifi 6 enabled hardware was released throughout 2020. At a speed of 9.6 Gbps, Wifi 6 didn’t just simply mean ‘faster internet’. Instead, it meant distributing the 9.6 Gps over a bunch of devices and improving the network for all, which ultimately became a necessity. With the increasing number of Wifi-enabled devices in each household, the demand for supportive Wifi also increases. Previous versions of routers were not able to communicate with so many devices all at once, which resulted in an inconsistent in-home experience.

Wifi 6 technology was the solution to these issues. It allowed Wifi 6 routers to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, without interruption or conflict — along with increased security. Wifi 6 utilizes beamforming technology which enables stronger signal performance, better throughput and easier roaming from one hotspot to another.

What is 5G?

Currently, 5G technology enables higher multi-Gbps data speeds, higher download speeds, the lowest latency levels, a massive network capacity, and overall, a more efficient user experience.

Similar to the previous generations of cellular networks, 5G also uses radio waves to send encoded data. However, these are less cluttered and are also known as millimetre waves. This helps carry data at a much faster rate and enables higher multi-Gbps data speeds.

How do Wifi 6 and 5G differ from each other?

Technology: One of the major differences between Wifi 6 and 5G is the technology type. Wifi 6 is essentially Wifi, a version of WLAN technology, while 5G uses cellular technology. Naturally, both technology types differ in licensing, authentication and use cases.

Connectivity: the way in which users connect to Wifi 6 and 5g technology is distinct. For cellular technology like 5g, cell towers and small cells provide connections to devices. Whereas, for Wifi, organizations use routers and access points from SPs and operators for internet connection.

Network security: It’s safe to say that Wifi’s network security is considerably better to guarantee for devices than cellular networks. And with Wifi 6, we can only expect newer security measures. Wifi Protected Access 3 aims to improve on the shortcomings of its predecessor, WPA2.

On the other hand, security has always been a major concern for 5G and includes several vulnerability concerns. However, 5G is set to introduce various security concepts such as anchor functions, subscription-permanent identifiers and concealed identifiers. These functions will reassemble device authentication as a connected device travels between networks – a prominent update from former cellular generations.

How do Wifi 6 and 5g complement each other?

Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are two competing technologies racing to provide gigabit broadband internet speeds to homes and businesses. Both offer the promise of seamless, high-speed internet access, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Together, Wifi 6 and 5g offer complementary functionalities. And where user experience is concerned, both technologies provide low latency levels and gigabit speeds.

Since 5g offers such a large-scale boost in performance, we can expect to see service providers offering consumers another choice for broadband connectivity in the home: broadband through 5g. Read more about this possibility in Can 5G’s high-speed Wifi replace cable connections?

As exciting as that sounds, we predict Wifi will remain the primary and most efficient way to connect the growing number of devices throughout the home. Luckily, Xunison’s Mesh Wifi routers offer both Wifi 6 and 5g functionalities to users looking to switch it up.

The most exciting applications for both 5g and Wifi 6 will include the Internet of Things or IoT. Businesses will be able to select the wireless technology of their choice, best suited to their needs and still receive high capacity, low latency levels, and fast speeds.

While Wifi 6 operates perfectly for managed manufacturing operations, 5g is more well-suited to large, campus-wide manufacturing environments. And the two can even work simultaneously, for example, in connected cars. The car may offer in-vehicle Wifi for users’ devices but could connect to a 5g cellular network itself.