Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6: All You Need to Know

Wi-Fi has been around for a long time. In the last couple of years, we have seen many new versions come out and many improvements to the old ones. We are now seeing a new battle of Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6.

The new Wi-Fi 6 is a game-changer in the world of wireless networking. It’s faster than ever, but how does it compare with its predecessor? There are so many different options for Wi-Fi routers on the market today that it can be hard to know which one will best suit your needs.

To make the choice of a Wi-Fi router easier, we’ve created this handy guide that compares all of the key features and specs between these two popular standards. We’ll also give you some tips on what to look out for when buying a router and help you decide whether or not upgrading is right for you!

These two Wi-Fi protocols are similar in terms of how they work and what each one can do for your wireless network, but there are some significant differences. Which one is better? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of each so you can decide!

Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6

Whether you should go with Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 depends on the answer to a lot of questions and your individual circumstances. However, while they both do the job they were designed to do (get you connected easily), the differences are too significant to say one is better than the other. 

Wi-Fi has been around for a long time. In that time, we have seen many versions come out, each with its pros and cons.

And now, because you likely have so many wireless devices trying to connect all at once to your Wi-Fi, it’s essential to make the right choice. That’s what I hope to help you with using this blog post. As a network engineer, people often ask me what the difference is between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. More importantly, these people want to know which one is better.

Wi-Fi 6 is the current standard and we all know that it is important to stay up to date with technology. The problem is that most people don’t even understand what Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) are, how they work, and why you should care about them.

When people ask me about new technology, I will usually say to go with the latest, which in this case would be Wi-Fi 6. But that’s not the case with Wi-Fi. In this instance, I’d say you’re better off with Wi-Fi 5 for now. But let’s look at each of them and see what the differences are.

Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi 5

Here are some pros and cons of choosing Wi-Fi 5.


  • It still works with most legacy devices and clients.
  • It is still fast enough to deliver the speeds you need to accomplish what you want online.
  • You’ll pay less for a Wi-Fi 5 router.
  • Wi-Fi 5 is forward compatible.


  • It will be outdated someday, and you might not want to be left behind.
  • It’s not as fast as Wi-Fi 6.

Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi 6

What is Wi-Fi 6: WiFi 6 compatible devices vs Wi-Fi 5

What is Wi-Fi 6? The current Wi-Fi technologies are Wi-Fi 6 and 802.11ax, which were announced in 2017. It has a lot of improvements over previous Wi-Fi versions.

We all know that wireless connectivity has become an important part of our daily lives whether we’re at home, work, or even outdoors where there are many people using their smartphones to browse the internet, download content, and stream videos while connected to WiFi networks for faster connection speeds than 3G/4G LTE connections can provide.

Below are the differences between Wi-Fi 6 technology including its differences with wi fi 5 along with when it will be available in 2019 for consumers to purchase devices supporting this new standard of wifi technology.

Here are some pros and cons of choosing Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 5 and other previous versions.


  • It’s much faster than Wi-Fi 5.
  • Wi-Fi 6 can handle more devices
  • Wi-Fi 6 has newer security protocols
  • There are a lot of new Wi-Fi 6 clients on the market, especially some phones and computers.


  • It isn’t backward compatible with some Wi-Fi 5 devices.
  • Not all networking vendors have released Wi-Fi 6 devices yet.

Do You Need a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

If your current Wi-Fi 5 router is working well for what you need to do now, there’s no need to upgrade. Most likely, you’re able to do everything you need to do with your current Wi-Fi setup, so there’s no need to rush out and purchase Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi standards are best when you use them as an incremental improvement from their predecessors. That means that you don’t need to worry about upgrading right away just because you think everyone else has or because it’s the latest technology.

How Can You Save Money?

If money is a concern, you can save money by going with Wi-Fi 5 instead of Wi-Fi 6. You’ll generally pay more upfront for a new router than what it is worth in most cases. For example, a Wi-Fi 6 router will cost you about $100 more than a Wi-Fi 5 router and won’t have the features to support that cost upgrade.

Even if you can find a cheaper Wi-Fi 6 device comparable to the price of a Wi-Fi 5 device, it just means that they will probably have the same features with no difference.

How Long Can You Wait to Upgrade?

Many people think that they have to upgrade their devices to the latest technology. This is not the case most of the time because the new technology is often not worth the cost. Waiting a little while to upgrade can save you money and allow you to make an informed decision when it comes time for your device to reach the end of its lifespan.

If you’re looking at upgrading, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I want my Wi-Fi 6 router or hotspot to be able to provide that my Wi-Fi 5 doesn’t?
  • Is the router the cause of my network issues, or is there something else causing the problem?

The answers will determine whether or not waiting on upgrading before making any big decisions about your Wi-Fi system is worthwhile.

Do You Want Stability or the Newest Technology?

Many times there is a trade-off between the newest technology and stability. More recent technology might offer higher speeds and faster buffering, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re getting the best overall performance.

Remember that Wi-Fi routers are usually replaced every five years or so due to their age. The average lifespan of a Wi-Fi router is about six years before it starts lagging or becomes obsolete for what we need them to do. However, the technology behind Wi-Fi 5 has been around for nearly a decade. It’s had time to mature and become super stable, which most people want in their network.

Also, one thing about stability is that Wi-Fi 5 is forward compatible, meaning that you won’t need a Wi-Fi 6 router to deploy Wi-Fi 6 clients. These all work just fine with the “older” Wi-Fi 5 technology. What’s more, they don’t sacrifice speed in the slightest.

Bottom Line

While I usually encourage people to go with the latest tech, in this case, I’d say stick with the Wi-Fi 5 for now. There are too many disadvantages to upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 at present, especially when Wi-Fi 5 will do everything you need it to do without very many drawbacks.

We all know that Wi-Fi is the technology used to connect devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets to a network. But what are the differences between these two technologies?

This article has compared Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ac vs 802.11ax in terms of speed, range, and security features. You can decide which one you prefer for your home or office wireless network setup based on our findings from testing both technologies side by side.