Whenever there is a new WiFi standard, it comes with the buzz of being the biggest thing. Since 2019, 802.11ax has taken over 802.11ac in the wireless internet world.
If you do not want to be carried away by the new technology and want to make a decision based on facts about 802.11ax and 802.11ac, you need to be well-informed about both wifi standards.
Before we get to what 802.11ax and 802.11ac have to offer, 802.11ax is also referred to as Wifi 6 while 802.11ac is wifi 5.
Newer technology does not always mean better standards. Although wifi 5 is older than wifi 6, it is still significantly relevant and relied upon to deliver high-quality internet to homes and institutions.
Is 802.11ax Better Than 802.11ac?
802.11ax is an improvement of 802.11ac and is therefore better. While some devices might do better with wifi 5, wifi 6 has better features, like working with dual bandwidth, better security standards, speed in congested networks, and battery conservation capabilities among others.
What is 802.11ac?
Wifi 5 or 802.11ac replaced wifi 4 and is much more improved than its predecessors. Wifi 5 mainly works with the 5GHz bandwidth. It is the 5th generation of wireless internet standards. 802.11ac was introduced in 2014 and has been the buzz for wireless internet standards until 2019.
Advantages of 802.11ac
- It uses the 5GHz band which has less congestion compared to the 2.4GHz band which the previous wifi generations used.
- Improved signal modulation compared to its wifi predecessors.
- Wifi 5 delivers faster internet and is capable of delivering up to 6.9Gbps
- Uses current wifi technology to enable several device connections to the network
Disadvantages of 802.11ac
- Devices that work on the 2.4GHz may not be compatible with wifi 5
What Is 802.11ax?
If you have come across terms such as AX wifi, wifi 6, or high-efficiency wifi, they refer to the wireless network operating on the 802.11ax standard. 802.11ax is the improvement of wifi 5, and it was introduced to the market in 2019.
It carries the new technology and excitement of the most recent wifi inventions and older wifi inventions like beamforming technology.
Advantages of 802.11ax
- Wifi 6 routers use MU-MIMO to connect more devices to the network
- Wifi 6 uses target wake time to save on battery
- Delivers faster speeds than its predecessor wifi 5
- Work on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidth
- It is reliable with security protocols
Disadvantages of 802.11ax
- It is expensive during installation
- Has compatibility issues with old wifi devices
802.11ax VS 802.11ac
Wifi 6 is generally 40% better than wifi 5 and is worth it. Below is a comparison of the two:
802.11ax can conserve the battery life of your wifi devices as opposed to 802.11ac. 802.11ax uses the target wake time to conserve battery for the connected devices. Target wake time cuts on the idle time a device spends when connected to wifi.
Data Transfer Speeds
802.11ac uses 256-QAM to deliver real wifi speeds of about 200 Mbps and is capable of wifi speeds of up to 6.9Gbps. 802.11ax uses 1024 QAM modulation and has wifi speed capabilities of up to 9.6Gbps.
802.11ac supports WPA and WPA2 protocols which are quite secure for your network and wifi devices. This is, however, vulnerable to password predictability. 802.11ax, on the other hand, supports WPA, WPA2, and WPA3.
Wifi 6 also incorporates security technology such as scannable OR code, and OWE technology which is effective in protecting your wifi devices.
The wifi 5 (802.11ac) is a single band, and it uses 5GHz only. On the other hand, wifi 6 uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidth.
The use of two bandwidths with Wifi 6 gives it an advantage over wifi 5 as devices can switch between the two bandwidths. Your wifi devices can choose the bandwidth with less interference.
Wifi 6 delivers reduced latency compared to wifi 5. This means that homes with wifi 6 experience faster speeds due to the low latency.
Do you need new wifi devices to connect to wifi 6?
Wifi devices usually indicate whether they are compatible with wifi 6. If your devices have older hardware that is not compatible with wifi 6, you need to upgrade to newer devices.
Do all routers support wifi 6?
Not all routers support wifi 6. There are routers that are specifically designed tp work with Wifi 6 standards. To get 802.11ax internet standard, you need a wifi 6 router.
802.11ax is better than 802.11ac in many ways. Wifi 6 has outdone wifi 5 in speeds, device connection, bandwidth connection, security protocol, power consumption, and many other features.
If you want to get future-proof wifi with the best internet speeds and capabilities, 802.11ax is better. Nevertheless, Wifi 5 also has many benefits as it is the second best wifi to use currently. Although 802.11ac falls behind 802.11ax, it is still great wifi to have in your home.