At the multi-thousand square foot 2019 consumer electronics exhibitor madhouse in Las Vegas Dell, Hewlitt Packard, Asus and others were touting “WiFi 6” as a flagship feature.
But what is WiFi 6 and what does it mean to an EMF Consultant?
WiFi 6 is the latest generation of wireless connectivity technology that is devoted to handling the streaming of multiple gadgets on the Internet of Things all at one time, and to do this WiFi now will “know” (computational intelligence) to send a stronger signal to those devices on the edge of its football field size footprint.
Basically this means, stronger WiFi signals, extending its footprint farther, with more wireless devices operating.
Think of it’s footprint this way – an American football field is 360 feet long (an acre is about 76% this size, unless you include the end zones then it is 96%)), so in a neighborhood where the lots are 100 ft wide, you will be impacted by WiFi signals emitted from four houses away on each side, front and back. Your home will be in the middle of overlapping signals from about16 homes.
Of course many homes in high density neighborhoods like apartments, condos, townhomes etc are much closer, and so the overlap would be much greater.
It is time for us to consider more shielding products in our homes certainly, but it also calls for change. Change in us to become more active in requesting changes in our home owner’s association (HOA) rules, or from our landlords. To put it another way, we need to become the change we wish to see in the world. EMF Consultants will need to be prepared to help their clients raise their voices to decision making authorities that affect them.
Here you can see a letter that was written to an HOA, in which the necessary changes are articulated. Letters do make a difference, they serve as notification of a problem and they create a record if more action, including legal action, is required in future. You are welcome to modify this letter for your own use.
But that just deals with WiFi routers, WiFi 6 will also now be featured in cellphones, iPads and other mobile devices.
Meet WiFi 6 and Its Parents
You’ll recognize the new technology is in operation, by the familiar WiFi icon at the top of your wireless device, along with its ‘generation’ number affixed to it – WiFi 4, WiFi 5, WiFi 6 etc.
With WiFi 6 the WiFi Alliance, which is made up of about 800 manufacturers, such as Microsoft, Samsung, LG, Google, Facebook etc., has officially abandoned the standard naming convention it previously used, which simply cited the standard it was based on that was established by the International of Electrical and Engineers, or IEEE.
After all, consider the cool factor of “WiFi 6” and how it rolls off the tongue better than IEEE Standard 803.11ax. And so, from now on, WiFi with its sequential number will be used to describe which version of the WiFi network you’re connected to. Additionally, “WiFi Certified 6” will refer to the certification program that device makers must go through.
The Benefits of Wifi 6
Wondering what benefit WiFi 6 is flashing in front of consumers? As you might expect it is touted to optimize the user experience. While it may give your Nintendo Switch or Roku a little more wireless speed, keep in mind that it is not designed to improve performance on a single device or at a single access point, the main objective of this new change in standard is to increase the performance of network connectivity in order to handle streaming to multiple gadgets – it is WiFi for a crowded mobile gadget world.
Do I Need a New EMF Meter to Measure WiFi?
WiFi 4 (ie the 2009 standard) operates on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. WiFi 5 uses only 5GHz. WiFi 6, is said to optimize for the transmission frequencies of both.
So, like 5G, the new WiFi 6 technology is still using the same frequencies, at least until new spectrum frequencies are allocated, which will predictably occur when wireless technology is innovated to the point that it can make use of them. Meantime, innovators have enough to do in optimizing the use of currently available frequencies, by means with such loftily expansive names as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access.
What About Me?
Wondering about getting left by the side of the road with your old EMF-conscious wired WiFi Modem? Backwards compatibility with older devices that aren’t Wi-Fi 6 certified will still there, and they will be able to pull a signal from Wi-Fi 6 routers. The experience just might not be (here comes that word again) optimized.
More and more as consumers wake up to the rising exposure levels of wireless EMF in their environment they are opting to remain wired, at least in their own homes. As EMF Consultants we see that consumer emf-safety education plays a big role in this ‘awakening’. Add to that, on a more practical level, the price of WiFi 6 routers is significantly more expensive (at $350 to $400), and the price increases are reflected in the end cost of WiFi 6 enabled devices, so this may slow down its adoption by consumers.
Although WiFi 6 is said to be launching in the Fall of 2019, we probably won’t see manufacturers integrate the available chipsets until next year. Even then, both the “end user” devices and the wireless routers serving up the connectivity will have to both be using WiFi 6 for it to work as intended.
Although 5G is getting more air time, WiFi 6 is every bit a significant a step closer to the wireless device filled world consumers are being lured into.