When it comes to internet access, what do we want? Faster. More privacy and security. What have we been getting from the past decade? Not much faster, and seemingly less privacy and security.
Wait. What? Not much faster? Says who? As with anything technology, internet access performance has a growing number of variables and improved processes. Variables? The speed your internet service provider gives you. That varies with location. Download speeds vary between websites. Some Wi-Fi is faster than 4G LTE.
Won’t all that get fixed with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G?
Think again. First, 5G isn’t really here yet, and despite the advertising hype, 5G won’t be here for the great unwashed masses of internet humanity for perhaps a decade because the technology brings a boatload of unchecked checkmarks which impede progress.
5G coverage is here, but in limited locations, and it may take the better part of a decade to make it as ubiquitous as 4G LTE is now. Still, 5G promises internet access speeds a gazillion times faster, right?
More on that in a moment.
What about Wi-Fi 6? This is yet another wireless standard– faster than whatever you’re using now, yes, but few devices are capable of addressing Wi-Fi 6 now. Next year? More. The year after? More.
Wi-Fi 6 is typical Wi-Fi in that it’s connected to the internet through a service provider; whether cable or fiber, the speed itself is only as fast as that connection, and that connection is only as fast as the public internet.
The public internet– how fast websites transfer webpages to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad– isn’t even up to average 4G LTE speeds yet, and even if you have a 5G tower on your roof, or fiber to you door to power Wi-Fi 6, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to download 2-hour movies in 11-seconds.
Website servers are not fast enough to deliver 5G-like speeds to millions of users. Sure, you can run tests between your 5G cellphone and the cellphone company’s servers, and they will be screaming fast, but those are what they are. Tests. All that high-speed bandwidth doesn’t translate into higher speed for everyone connected to 5G.
Will 5G destroy the need for a different internet connection and 6G?
Many areas simply will not be covered by 5G, or coverage will be weakened by geography, buildings, and congestion. Both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will peacefully co-exist but neither will dominate for another decade.