Wireless networking has come a long way since the early days of Wi-Fi. Today, there are a number of Wi-Fi technologies that are used to provide high-speed connectivity to our devices. In this article, we'll explore some of the most important Wi-Fi technologies being used today and the benefits they provide. We will also include cost-effective solutions and top-of-the-line products.
- Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is the latest Wi-Fi standard that provides faster speeds, greater capacity, and improved efficiency over previous Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 6 uses technologies like MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output), OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access), and beamforming to provide faster and more efficient Wi-Fi connectivity.
One of the main benefits of Wi-Fi 6 is its ability to provide faster speeds, even in congested environments. Wi-Fi 6 routers and devices can achieve speeds of up to 10 Gbps, making it ideal for streaming high-definition content and online gaming. Wi-Fi 6 also provides greater capacity, allowing more devices to connect to your network without experiencing slow speeds.
Products that use Wi-Fi 6 include the Netgear Nighthawk AX12, which is priced at around $500, and the Asus RT-AX88U, which is priced at around $350. For cost-effective solutions, the TP-Link Archer AX10, priced at around $80, and the Netgear Nighthawk AX4, priced at around $250, are good options.
- Mesh Networking
Mesh networking is a technology that uses multiple access points (or nodes) to provide seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Mesh networks are designed to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones and provide consistent coverage throughout your home.
One of the main benefits of mesh networking is its ability to provide consistent coverage throughout your home, even in areas that are far away from the router. Mesh networks can also automatically switch between access points to provide the best possible signal strength. This makes mesh networks ideal for larger homes or homes with multiple floors.
Top-of-the-line mesh networking systems include the Netgear Orbi and the Google Nest Wifi. The Netgear Orbi is priced at around $600 for a three-pack, while the Google Nest Wifi is priced at around $300 for a two-pack. For a more cost-effective solution, the TP-Link Deco M5 is priced at around $170 for a two-pack. For additional information on Mesh systems, visit our Wi-Fi Mesh article for an in-depth explanation of Mesh Systems.
- Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi 6E is a new Wi-Fi standard that operates in the 6 GHz frequency band. This frequency band provides more bandwidth and less interference than previous Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 6E can provide speeds of up to 10 Gbps, making it ideal for high-bandwidth applications like streaming 4K or 8K video.
Products that use Wi-Fi 6E are just starting to become available. The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is one of the first Wi-Fi 6E routers to become available and is priced at around $550. Another option is the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, which is priced at around $600.
- Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
While Wi-Fi 6 is the latest Wi-Fi standard, it's worth noting that Wi-Fi 5 is still a widely used Wi-Fi standard today. Wi-Fi 5 provides faster speeds and a better range than previous Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 5 routers and devices can achieve speeds of up to 5 Gbps, making it ideal for streaming HD content and online gaming.
Another important feature of Wi-Fi 5 is that it too uses beamforming technology to improve signal strength and range. Beamforming allows the router to focus the Wi-Fi signal toward the device, rather than broadcasting the signal in all directions. This helps to improve both the speed and reliability of the Wi-Fi connection. It's also worth noting that many Wi-Fi 5 routers on the market today come with advanced features like parental controls, QoS (quality of service) settings, and guest network access. These features can help you to manage and prioritize your Wi-Fi traffic, and keep your network more secure.
For cost-effective solutions, the TP-Link Archer C7 is a highly rated Wi-Fi 5 router that's priced at around $80. Another option is the Netgear R6700, which is priced at around $130 and also comes with advanced features like parental controls and QoS settings.