What is Wi-Fi 6 and How Does It Impact Smart Homes?

In recent years, the advent of Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, has revolutionized the concept of connectivity, especially in the realm of smart homes. It promises to bring faster internet speeds and better performance, especially in environments with many connected devices, like a modern smart home. Let’s delve deeper into what Wi-Fi 6 is and how it impacts the functioning of a smart home setup.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest iteration in the lineup of Wi-Fi standards, superseding Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). Designed to improve speed, efficiency, and battery life for connected devices, it is engineered with an array of advanced features to facilitate a seamless smart home experience.

Key Features of Wi-Fi 6

Understanding Wi-Fi 6 requires diving into the key features that set it apart:

  • Higher Data Rates: Wi-Fi 6 facilitates faster data transfer rates, promising speeds up to 9.6 Gbps, compared to the 3.5 Gbps of Wi-Fi 5.
  • OFDMA: Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) allows one transmission to deliver data to multiple devices at once, optimizing efficiency.
  • MU-MIMO: Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) enables more data to be transferred at one time, allowing routers to handle more devices simultaneously.
  • Target Wake Time (TWT): This feature allows devices to negotiate when and how often they will wake up to send or receive data, improving battery life for smart home devices.

Wi-Fi 6 and the Smart Home

In a smart home environment, where a multitude of devices ranging from smart bulbs to security systems are interconnected, Wi-Fi 6 offers:

  • Better Performance in Crowded Environments: Smart homes often have many devices connected to the same network. Wi-Fi 6 handles crowded environments much better, reducing latency and ensuring a smoother connection for all devices.
  • Enhanced Battery Life: Thanks to TWT, smart home devices can enjoy extended battery life, which is essential for battery-powered devices such as smart cameras and sensors.
  • Faster Data Transfer: Faster internet speeds mean that tasks like downloading a new movie or transferring large files between devices on your home network will be quicker.

Setting Up a Wi-Fi 6 Network

If you’re keen to set up a Wi-Fi 6 network in your smart home, here is a straightforward guide to getting started:

  1. Upgrade Your Router: To enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6 compatible router. Consider your home size and the number of devices to find the right model for you.
  2. Device Compatibility: Check the compatibility of your existing devices with Wi-Fi 6. Some older devices may not support the new standard.
  3. Setup and Configuration: Follow the setup instructions that come with your new router. You might want to revisit your network security settings during this setup to ensure a secure connection.


Wi-Fi 6 stands as a beacon in the journey of enhancing smart home experiences, offering speed and efficiency enhancements that are a substantial upgrade over previous Wi-Fi generations. Its introduction marks a step forward in realizing the true potential of smart homes, accommodating the increasing number of devices with greater efficacy and laying a robust foundation for the smart homes of the future.

As we transition to smarter living environments, understanding and adopting Wi-Fi 6 can be a gateway to unleashing unprecedented efficiency and functionality in your smart home setup, bringing futuristic living to your doorstep.

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About the Author

Ed Oswald

Ed Oswald has nearly two decades of experience in technology and science journalism, and specializes in weather stations and smart home technology. He's written for Digital Trends, PC World, and TechHive. His work has also appeared in the New York Times. When he isn't writing about gadgets, he enjoys chasing severe weather and winter storms.