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Wi-Fi 6 and 5G

The Difference Between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G

Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 have been on our tech radar for several years now, thanks largely to their abilities to give businesses a leg up by having fast and reliable Internet access.

They are similar in that they both use radio waves that you can’t see.  They’re different in the distance range and purpose they are used for.

Businesses should learn how to use each of these technologies to their advantage instead of pitting them against each other.

What is 5G Technology?

5G technology is the fifth and latest standard for cellular networks. Cell service providers have been rolling 5G networks out since 2019, with the intention of providing greater cellular access and wider coverage to a larger number of devices, which has been made possible thanks to 5G's increased bandwidth. 5G devices feature faster data speeds thanks to the efficiency of the technology.

Specifically, 5G technology offers a tenfold increase in throughput (the rate of digital message delivery) and connection density, a ten-times increase in connection density (the number of devices that can be supported with connectivity service in a given area), and a tenfold decrease in latency (the communication delay between two different devices).

In addition, 5G also offers triple the spectrum efficiency (the rate at which information is transferred over a specific bandwidth) and 100 times the network efficiency and traffic capacity of 4G technology. In other words, the cell coverage that is made possible by 5G technology blows previous generations out of the water and offers a superior user experience for individual users as well as businesses.

Is 5G Safe?

For people who ask this question, they don’t realize that radio waves are a spectrum of frequencies that have been in our enviroment from the dawn of time.  If you’ve been using a cell phone in the last 10 years, the phones are using certain slices of the radio frequencis that an international standards body has all agreed to called 4gLTE.  This way different manufacturers can make phones that can connect to tower receivers and make a voice call, browse the internet, retrieve your email, watch a movie, ns.  5G added more slices to improve the number of connected devices and speed up the connection.

Advantages of 5G

Because it offers greater bandwidth, 5G allows a higher number of internet-enabled devices to use the same network without severely limiting network speeds. This is especially helpful if your business is in a high-internet-traffic environment, as a 5G network will make it easier to keep up as web traffic becomes more crowded.

As 5G technology becomes more common across the country and around the world, more and more devices for both personal and business usage are produced with the capability to access 5G networks. This makes real-time communication increasingly feasible regardless of geographic location or other limitations.

5G technology offers plenty of other benefits, such as roaming support (which gives your employees better mobility when they're working on the go), dynamic beamforming (which helps deal with the reductions in power density associated with path loss), and even the ability to offload traffic onto indoor Wi-Fi networks when too many people are congesting the network's bandwidth. 

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest generation of Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technology. The number of WLAN-connected devices has surged to tens of billions of devices around the world. This means that a solid Wi-Fi network is essential for any business that needs to keep its employees operating on the internet at competitive speeds.

Designed with superior efficiency and security in mind, Wi-Fi 6 also offers new features that are well-suited for businesses. For example, Wi-Fi 6's orthogonal frequency-division multiple access feature provides greater support for multiple users who are on the same network.

Advantages of Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is an improved version compared to previous generations in several ways. For instance, its peak data rates (the peak speeds of data transfer available in a short period) are 40% higher, and it offers quadruple the network efficiency of Wi-Fi 5.

As mentioned above, Wi-Fi 6 makes it feasible for multiple users to send data all at the same time, thereby reducing overall latency. Wi-Fi 6 also utilizes the WPA3 protocol, which provides a greater level of security to network users.

Another perk of Wi-Fi 6 technology is its use of Target Wake Time (TWT), which improves efficiency by allowing wireless access points to manage device activity within the Wi-Fi network. The bottom line? This reduces access traffic and, therefore, contention between devices. This, in turn, reduces overall power usage and improves overall battery life.

The Key Differences Between 5G and Wi-Fi 6

Perhaps the most obvious and relevant difference between these two technologies is that they are not even the same kind of technology. As mentioned above, 5G is a cellular technology, whereas Wi-Fi 6 is a type of WLAN technology.

The former type of technology provides internet connectivity through access points and routers, while the latter type of technology provides internet connectivity by using cell towers.

In addition, cellular technology in general (and 5G in particular) is tied to a specific cell carrier, which means that users operate on licensed spectrum bands that are intended to limit interference between different devices on the same network.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi technology (including Wi-Fi 6) uses unlicensed bands, meaning they don't require permission to use the way that cell bands are but also that they may experience greater interference.

Another major difference between the two types of technology is the areas in which they are ideal to use. Wi-Fi technology typically works better indoors, and Wi-Fi 6 is no exception. On the other hand, cellular networks such as 5G are great for outdoor usage, such as when users are out and about.

How Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Can Get Along 

While these technologies have varying differences in what they do best, both of them represent a major step forward for wireless service and internet connectivity for users.

If your business is rooted in a brick-and-mortar reality that requires high levels of security and the support of multiple users at once, then Wi-Fi 6 may be a better technology for your company to focus on.

However, if many of your employees are highly mobile and spend a lot of their most productive time on the move in highly congested areas, then 5G technology is probably a worthwhile option for you to entertain.

In the end, however, it is possible to make good use of both technologies. Understand your business and choose to emphasize whichever technology you will be using more, but do so knowing that both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 can give your company a shot in the arm when it comes to fast and reliable wireless connectivity. 

Contact a Leading IT Service Provide to Schedule a Consultation

If you want to make sure your business's internet service is performing at top-notch efficiency while maintaining high levels of security and stability, contact TechBldrs to schedule a consultation. Our service experts will make sure that your company's internet service is optimal for your needs.

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