WiFi 6 has been approved by the FCC, but what does that actually mean for your wireless internet?

Your wireless internet connection is getting an upgrade as 6GHz WiFi is approved by the FCC
(Image credit: Getty)

Struggling with a poor WiFi signal in your home? Well help is on the way because WiFi is about to receive it’s biggest update in the last twenty years. The Federal Communications Commission, better known as the FCC, has adopted new rules that open up a huge amount of space in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use. We previously reported that WiFi 6 had been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which left the FCC as one of the last hurdles for WiFi 6 to overcome. Now the FCC has given the go ahead, but what does this mean to you?

Well currently, WiFi routers operate on either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. However, as technology advances and the number of internet connected devices has skyrocketed, the strain on these bandwidths has increased dramatically. This is due to bandwidth congestion, which happens when too many devices in a small area are trying to send and receive signals operating on the same bandwidth. By opening up the 6 GHz band, the FCC is hoping that it can help to alleviate that problem by opening up 1200 MHz worth of space in the 6 GHz band.

Pretty fly for a WiFi

So, will this new WiFi 6 actually be faster than our current WiFi systems? Kind of. Technically, WiFi 6 will have the same upper limit on data transfer speeds at 9.6 Gbps (which is ludicrously fast, not a single internet provider in the world is offering speeds at this level). So, the speed limit isn’t the issue with our existing WiFi. But we should still see faster speeds thanks to the increased spectrum of the bandwidth that we’re able to use.

It’s going to take a little while before we actually start to see 6 GHz ready devices now that the FCC has laid down the new law though, so we’re not really going to see the benefits of this change until the tail end of 2020 at the earliest, and further into 2021 before we see any widespread adoption of the technology. In the meantime, if you’re struggling with poor WiFi signal in your home, you could try one of the best WiFi boosters. Or maybe your router is just a little past its prime, in which case you could update to one of the best wireless routers to make the most of your internet connection.

Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.