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5G vs WiFi 6: what are their differences (and why do you need both)

The arrival of 5G mobile network technology will bring a revolution in the way we access the internet. 5G promises to increase download speeds, eliminate latencies and reduce congestion on mobile networks; In other words, you will have nothing to envy to the WiFi. It is not long before the 5G vs WiFi 6 competition arrives, although everything seems to point out that we will probably need both networks to take full advantage of the Internet tomorrow.

5G vs WiFi 6

What is the difference between 5G and WiFi?

We've talked a lot about 5G, but in a nutshell, 5G is the general term to refer to the fifth generation of mobile network technology, and it encompasses many different elements. Cellular or mobile networks depend on licensed spectrum bands, which are auctioned to the highest bidder. Operators, such as Verizon or AT&T, must pay to use them. To deploy coverage, it is necessary to build a network of connected base stations that are capable of issuing a signal with sufficient power to serve many people (thousands, in urban areas) at the same time. To recover their investment they need us, the users, to pay for subscriptions.

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WiFi uses an unlicensed spectrum that anyone can use without paying, but the signal is relatively weak. You pay an internet provider to take the internet to your door; Then a router is used to fill our WiFi home. Using the same frequency band as your neighbors can be problematic, especially in areas with high population densities. The two frequencies that WiFi uses are 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. In simple terms, the 2.4Ghz has a maximum potential speed lower, but penetrates better, so its range is greater than that of 5Ghz. It should be noted that 5Ghz WiFi has absolutely nothing to do with 5G mobile networks.

In everyday life, almost all of us use WiFi at home or in the office (or in cafes) and mobile networks when we go outside and move away from the range of the router. Our phones change automatically and we don't even have to think about it, because the important thing is simply to have a good connection all the time. That will continue to be the case for the vast majority of people once 5G is released. The difference is that both mobile networks and Wi-Fi become faster.

The promise of 5G

The prospect of download speeds of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps, in addition to loading speeds or latencies of just one millisecond, has raised expectations and excited people waiting for 5G, although the reality is that in the day to day We will even approach maximum theoretical speeds. The actual speed of your 5G connection will depend on many factors, including your location, what network you connect to, how many people are connected, and what device you are using. The goal is to achieve a minimum download speed of 50Mbps and a latency of 10ms. That is a major improvement over current average speeds, but as with the 4G LTE, coverage will expand slowly. Also work hand in hand, not only with WiFi, but also with previous generations of mobile network technologies, so that 4G LTE will continue to be offered as backup and continue to evolve and gain speed.

The promise of WiFi 6

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WiFi has usually been somewhat confusing in terms of conventions to name standards. Pas of 802.11b to 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n and then 802.11ac, but fortunately the WiFi Alliance (and ideally, the industry in general) has accepted the need for something less disconcerting, so the next standard, 802.11ax, It will be called WiFi 6. This simpler naming convention will also apply to previous versions, so the 802.11ac will become WiFi 5 and so on. The new standard WiFi 6 should offer speeds at least four times greater than WiFi 5, but also bring improvements in efficiency and capacity, designed to deal with the growing number of devices connected to the internet in the average home. Like 5G, WiFi 6 is a complement and not a replacement for existing WiFi standards.

What do you need to enjoy 5G or WiFi 6?

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Two pieces of the puzzle are crucial to be able to enjoy these faster speeds and the superior performance that 5G and WiFi 6 offer: our operators and internet providers must create networks with hardware that is capable of working with these new technologies and speeds, and we We need to acquire equipment that is able to take advantage of this. Our phones, laptops and other current devices lack the necessary antennas and chips, but we hope to see the first wave of 5G and WiFi 6 compatible devices this year. We will keep you informed about the 5G phones and networks when they become available. For WiFi look for the logo that says Wi-Fi 6 Certified.

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