The iPhone 11 helps Wi-Fi 6. This is why that issues


All of Apple’s latest iPhones add help for Wi-Fi 6.

Shara Tibken/CNET

In case you have not heard, it’s new iPhone season — and this yr, amid the flurry of latest options and efficiency claims, Apple made a fairly fascinating technical announcement. No, there is no help for 5G with any of the brand new fashions, however that does not imply there will not be pace. All three of them — the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max — embrace help for Wi-Fi 6.

I can not say I blame you when you missed it at Tuesday’s Apple occasion. The corporate solely talked about Wi-Fi 6 help as a throwaway line throughout a fast checklist of latest options it was enthusiastic about, however did not have sufficient time to give attention to (comprehensible, what with the slofies and all).

Nonetheless, it is proper there in the tech specs. All three fashions help 802.11ax, the technical title for Wi-Fi 6.

That is nice! Additionally, what precisely is Wi-Fi 6 once more?

The Wi-Fi Alliance wants you to look for the Wi-Fi 6 logo.

Wi-Fi 6: The quickest Wi-Fi but.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Subsequent-gen connections

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest model of the 802.11 customary for wi-fi networking, which we generally name Wi-Fi. The present model that the majority of your Wi-Fi gadgets most likely use is 802.11ac, or Wi-Fi 5. Units that help Wi-Fi 6 nonetheless converse that very same Wi-Fi language to speak to one another — they only speak sooner and extra effectively than earlier than.

The particular technical developments that Wi-Fi 6 brings to the desk are a bit difficult, however you can read my full explainer to start out wrapping your head round them (and do let me know within the feedback when you discover the Mortal Kombat analogy useful). However in a nutshell, Wi-Fi 6 is best than Wi-Fi 5 as a result of:

  • It helps sooner prime switch speeds (we have clocked it at as a lot as 1,320 Mbps — about 40% faster than the quickest Wi-Fi 5 speeds we have measured)
  • It lets gadgets ship extra data with every particular person transmission
  • It lets routers and different entry factors service extra gadgets directly
  • It helps sensors and different wi-fi gadgets preserve battery energy by scheduling transmissions
  • It facilitates higher, sooner efficiency in dense, crowded environments like airports and stadiums

In response to our pace assessments, Wi-Fi 6 lets gadgets switch knowledge about 40% sooner than earlier than. That quantity will possible go up as we proceed working by way of extra assessments.

Ry Crist/CNET

So my web will likely be sooner?

Effectively… probably not.

The brand new iPhones and different gadgets that help Wi-Fi 6, just like the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, will certainly be capable of reap the benefits of all the Wi-Fi 6 perks — however provided that they have a Wi-Fi 6 entry level to connect with. You will not see any distinction in any respect when you’re nonetheless utilizing a Wi-Fi 5 router. And certain, Wi-Fi 6 routers are available now (we’re presently testing a bunch of the issues out) — however they’re nonetheless very costly.

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Even when you do get one, it will not do something to magically make your web connection sooner. If the connection out of your web service supplier is, say, 100 Mbps, then that is the pace restrict in your house. Wi-Fi 6 cannot do something to hurry it up.

So yeah, Wi-Fi 6 is quick and thrilling — however it’s additionally very early. Wi-Fi 6 is not even formally licensed but, although that step is supposedly coming very quickly. Supporting Wi-Fi 6 helps future-proof the brand new iPhone lineup, however it is not vital characteristic simply but, and also you should not really feel obligated to hurry out and exchange your router.


Wi-Fi 6 within the latest iPhones will assist spur extra of the market towards adopting the brand new customary, too.

Screenshot by Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The long run appears to be like quick

All of that mentioned, the unfold of fiber networks and different connections that method gigabit speeds implies that Wi-Fi 6 will most likely be an entire lot extra related to an entire lot extra folks inside the subsequent yr or so. And, now that the iPhone is on board, you may count on extra gadgets to observe go well with, too. Apple remains to be a market mover.

Within the meantime, preserve an eye fixed out for Wi-Fi 6 deployments in public locations (one such deployment, a Wi-Fi 6 Boingo network at John Wayne Airport in Burbank, California, has been up and working since this previous April). In case your cellphone helps the brand new customary, you will profit from sooner public networks like these (and when you’re sticking with a Wi-Fi 5 cellphone, don’t be concerned — Wi-Fi 6 networks are backward-compatible with older-gen Wi-Fi gadgets, even when they can not do a lot to make them any sooner).

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