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Is Wi-Fi 6 that helpful to end-users?

We’ve had a new WiFi standard approximately every 3-5 years since the invention of WiFi, but end-user issues have remained the same. The most important requirement is consistent WiFi connections at a reasonable speed with no connection drops throughout online activities.

This survey was conducted in the US market to check user satisfaction and what they are doing to improve the WiFi experience. A total number of 1682 WiFi consumers participated in the survey.

Even though theoretical WiFi speeds have increased from 600 Mbps in WiFi 4 to 6.9 Gbps in WiFi 5 and 9.6 Gbps in WiFi 6, WiFi5 users will see little difference when switching to WiFi6. The biggest shift, in principle, is from WiFi 4 to WiFi 5/6.

Table 1 – WiFi Standards Comparison
IEEE Standard FrequencyMaximum Data RateYear
WiFi 6/6E802.11ax2.4/5 GHz (6 GHz for WiFi 6E)9.6 Gbps2019
WiFi 5802.11ac5 GHz6.9 Gbps2014
WiFi 4802.11n2.4/5 GHz600 Mbps2009
WiFi 3802.11g2.4GHz54 Mbps2003
WiFi 2802.11a5.4 GHz54 Mbps1999
WiFi 1802.11b2.411 Mbps1999

According to the report, over half of all users in the United States appear to be satisfied in practically all cases, regardless of WiFi standards. In the WiFi6 environment, it was found that a ten percent gain in satisfaction when compared to previous WiFi versions.

The survey results show end-users are a little happier with WiFi6 though the percentage of improvement is almost negligible. Still, around 30% of the end-users are not satisfied with their WiFi performance. It was found that a significant number of the end-users were not satisfied with the reliability of the WiFi. Even the introduction of WiFi 6 had not had much impact.

A poor WiFi experience could be caused by several factors, including inadequate signal strength or a broken WiFi router. According to sources, there is a clear link between WiFi signal strength and download speed. The median download speed of end-users in the United States is around 4Mbps when the signal intensity is low, i.e. -90 dBm, until it reaches around 50Mbps at a maximum signal strength of -35dBm with few changes, maintaining an upward linear trend.

The user survey from the US market endorses the notion of WiFi router location optimization. 67-73% of end-users optimize their router location to get a good signal in various scenarios.

The location of the WiFi router is an essential factor that influences signal strength. A more significant percentage of consumers tend to optimize the site of the WiFi router irrespective of the router type to get a stable and robust signal to connect to the internet.

Consumers are doing everything they can to assure reliable WiFi access, such as optimizing the router’s placement or upgrading to the most up-to-date gadgets. Unfortunately, the new WiFi standards haven’t increased end-user satisfaction as much as projected; about half of end-users are dissatisfied with WiFi performance, with only a few exceptions.

sources

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Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.

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