Feb 24, 2023 by Toktabek, Tim
First introduced in 1997, WiFi has become an essential utility in homes, offices, and buildings worldwide. WiFi is data transmission through wireless signals. Mobility and flexibility are the most significant advantages WiFi. Users can use their devices without remaining in one place. You’re probably becoming more aware of WiFi 6 and considering replacing your current devices with the ones that support the latest WiFi standard.
Having gone through numerous iterations over the years, the transition to WiFi 6 and 6E (and soon, WiFi 7) are critical as the number of connected devices in homes reaches 30.9 billion units by 2025, according to Statista in 2022. Similarly, mobile networks have undergone multiple iterations since the 1980s, with the latest standard, 5G, first rolling out in 2019.
In both cases, WiFi 6 and 5G provide gigabit speeds perfect for low-latency gaming, 4K streaming, and more for connected devices. The critical difference between WiFi and 5G lies in the specific frequency each uses, each with its own strengths and weaknesses summarized below.
Since 5G operates on a higher frequency than WiFi, it has a greater range than WiFi which is generally limited to the confines of a home or office with the help of WiFi mesh or extenders. If 5G can penetrate a much longer range with the same speeds as WiFi, then why utilize WiFi at all?
The Wi-Fi 6 standard will maintain Wi-Fi’s traditional advantage regarding indoor wireless coverage. Besides enhanced support for IoT devices, Wi-Fi 6 can also be used in sports arenas, stadiums, and other venues with high wireless densities.
Regarding cellular, 5G is better suited to outdoor use cases, such as autonomous vehicles. Aside from mobile backhaul and fixed wireless access, 5G also supports mobile backhaul. Specifically, 5G is designed to improve connectivity and bring cellular into fixed wireless spaces for organizations that have turned to 4G and LTE for backhaul use cases.
The successful rollout of IoT devices and our increased reliance on the cloud make it natural to believe that cellular technology would hold everything together. Truth be told, it is a far more nuanced picture. Taking into account the benefits of edge computing, higher throughput, more dense connection density, a broader coverage area, a greater level of accessibility, and heightened network performance, there is no doubt that interoperability between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will be a necessity in the coming decades.
Thanks for reading! Want to learn more about WiFi? Our team of experts has put together an eBook that explores the past, present and future of WiFi! Read our WiFi: The Definitive Guide eBook for ultimate WiFi mastery.
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