Samsung's upcoming smartphones will reportedly support the new 'WiFi 6' standard. Here's what it'll mean for you

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  • The Galaxy S10 from Samsung is said to come with WiFi 6 support - the newest WiFi standard.
  • WiFi 6 will come with several benefits over the current generation of WiFi devices.
  • Mobile devices like the upcoming Galaxy S10 in particular will benefit from WiFi 6.

If the latest batch of rumors are to be believed, Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S10 is said to come with "WiFi 6" support. That sounds lovely and new compared to current WiFi standards, which have been unfortunately graced with confusing names like "802.11AC."

WiFi 6 is lovely and new, but its just a better name for the upcoming "802.11AX" WiFi standard.

Either way, like every new generation of WiFi, WiFi 6 brings with it improvements that are worth knowing about.

Check out what improvements will come with WiFi 6:

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WiFi 6 is the name of the upcoming new WiFi standard.

WiFi 6 is the name of the upcoming new WiFi standard.

Every few years, a new WiFi standard is introduced that brings improvements over the previous standard. But the naming system for each new standard had no rhyme or reason, which was confusing.

WiFi standards were given names that always started with the numbers "802.11," followed by a letter to indicate the standard. Usually, only the letters are used to indicate what standard your WiFi routers and devices use.

For example, the current standard is called "802.11AC," but it's usually simply known as "AC."

For clear reasons, this traditional nomenclature made it somewhat confusing for regular WiFi users — i.e. anyone and everyone — to follow. WiFi standards began with "b" back in 1999, then "a," then "g," then "N," and now "AC." See what I mean about confusion?

WiFi 6 — the new upcoming WiFi standard — can also be technically known as "802.11AX," but we're happy to simply call it WiFi 6. That way, it's clearer that WiFi 6 is the 6th-generation of WiFi standards. It's the name given by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 is said to come with WiFi 6, which is between four and 10 times faster than the current WiFi 5 (AC), but you won't notice unless you have an insanely fast internet plan.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 is said to come with WiFi 6, which is between four and 10 times faster than the current WiFi 5 (AC), but you won't notice unless you have an insanely fast internet plan.

Devices and routers that support WiFi 6 will continue to use the familiar "2.4GHz" and "5GHz" bands that we use today, but speeds will be faster on each band. We can expect between four and 10 times the speeds with WiFi 6 than the current WiFi 5, according to Network World.

Keep in mind, though, that your speeds are totally dependent on the internet plan you're paying for. So if your plan includes 200Mbps download speeds, you'll still only get 200Mbps with WiFi 6.

WiFi 6 starts making a difference in terms of raw speed if you have insanely fast internet speeds that the current WiFi 5 can't deliver. I'm talking about speeds over 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

But even with humble internet speeds, WiFi 6 comes with other improvements ...

Theoretically, it could also mean better range.

Theoretically, it could also mean better range.

So the WiFi mantra goes, you connect to the 5GHz band for better speeds, and the 2.4GHz band for better range.

WiFi 6 will be more efficient with how much data it can fit into the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. More data translates to faster speeds.

For the 2.4GHz band, specifically, that poses an enticing prospect.

Theoretically, WiFi 6 will let you connect to the longer-range 2.4GHz band rather than the shorter-range 5GHz band for heavy data lifting, as the 2.4GHz band will be able to offer faster speeds.

Essentially, you'll get faster speeds on the Galaxy S10 at greater distances if you're connected to your router's 2.4GHz band.

With that said, the 2.4GHz band is also typically crowded, especially in dense environments like a city. Crowding means interference, which results in slower speeds. We'll have to wait and see how WiFi 6 pans out for the 2.4GHz band.

But WiFi 6 is also meant to improve the WiFi connection and performance in crowded places.

But WiFi 6 is also meant to improve the WiFi connection and performance in crowded places.

WiFi speeds get slower as more and more devices connect to a WiFi network. That's especially true in places where several people might connect to a single WiFi network, like an office, stadium, airport, college, hotel, public WiFi networks, or even your own home. WiFi 6 is meant to improve that, and it could help with the typically congested 2.4GHz band.

Intel claims WiFi 6 will deliver four times the speeds in "congested environments," which bodes well for Galaxy S10 users who often connect to crowded networks (that is, if the Galaxy S10 rumors about including WiFi 6 are true).

WiFi 6 might actually improve the battery life on the Galaxy S10, and any other mobile device that supports WiFi 6.

WiFi 6 might actually improve the battery life on the Galaxy S10, and any other mobile device that supports WiFi 6.

WiFi 6 will come with a new "Target Wake Time" (TWT) feature that better manages the WiFi radios in mobile devices, like smartphones, laptops, and anything else that's battery-operated and connected to the internet.

In summary, TWT will set a schedule for your devices that are in sleep mode to receive WiFi data. Currently, mobile devices that aren't being actively used keep their WiFi radios connected to WiFi networks in case something new shows up to notify you about, like a new email.

It sounds like the battery-saver modes you'd find on most mobile devices. We'll have to see how TWT affects notifications on the Galaxy S10 and other mobile devices.

Will you want to upgrade your WiFi routers to WiFi 6 models if you get the Galaxy S10 that will supposedly come with WiFi 6?

Will you want to upgrade your WiFi routers to WiFi 6 models if you get the Galaxy S10 that will supposedly come with WiFi 6?

I'm not personally seeing any immediate need for anyone to upgrade routers if they're planning on getting the new Galaxy S10, and that's if the new phone comes with WiFi 6 support.

For one, routers that support WiFi 6 at the moment cost around the $350 to $400 range, which is pretty expensive. And the benefits of WiFi 6, while great, may not be quite worth a forced upgrade if you already have a good WiFi 5 (AC) router.

I have a 200Mbps internet plan and I'm using a Google WiFi mesh system that uses the AC standard, and I have no complaints with the 30 devices I have connected to it. I can easily stream 4K videos on two different TVs while others browse the web or play an online game.

Plus, despite better congestion management, WiFi 6 routers may not make sense until you also upgrade other devices around your home, like smart TVs and smart home devices.

And even if you frequent congested places, you'd need to hope that these locations also upgraded their routers to WiFi 6 models for your WiFi 6 devices to take advantage of.

Still, it's worth checking if any new WiFi-connected device you buy in the near future supports WiFi 6 should you want to upgrade to a new WiFi 6 router down the line.

If you're rocking an older WiFi 4 (N) router, or something even older, the WiFi 6 generation would be a good standard to upgrade to. WiFi 6 routers will be backwards compatible with devices that use older WiFi standards. While you won't enjoy WiFi 6 benefits on devices that don't support it, you'll likely enjoy faster speeds and better range with a WiFi 6 router than a WiFi 4 or older router.

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