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2019 should be the year of Wi-Fi 6, but it hardly appeared at CES

We won't see the vast majority of Wi-Fi 6 devices until 2020

WiFi symbol, iOS

The next generation of Wi-Fi — Wi-Fi 6 — will reduce demand on batteries, pack more information into transmissions, and reach more devices at once. Most importantly, it’ll bring faster speeds… eventually.

If CES 2019 is anything to go by, there aren’t many Wi-Fi 6 devices out there. Sure, plenty of companies showed off routers that supported the new generation. However, only a small number of laptops could take advantage of the benefits.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the group that oversees Wi-Fi standards and their implementations, has worked on Wi-Fi 6 for several years. 2019 was supposed to be the kick-off point, but it looks like Wi-Fi won’t really ramp up until 2020.

For one, the Alliance won’t even start certifying devices until the fall. On top of that, Intel said its next generation of processors would support Wi-Fi 6 — processors that won’t come until later this year.

Despite this, HP, Dell, MSI and Asus all announced laptops that would support Wi-Fi 6 at CES.

As far as smartphones go, Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 855 CPU will support Wi-Fi 6, but it didn’t make an appearance in any devices at CES. However, the 855 is expected to be in several Android flagships this year, meaning most flagships will support the new Wi-Fi generation.

There’s no word yet if Apple’s next phone will support Wi-Fi 6. Some reports indicated the next iPhone would, but more likely we’ll see Wi-Fi 6 support along with the 5G iPhone in 2020.

Ultimately, if Wi-Fi support is important to you, you’ll have to do your research when buying devices this year. There’s no guarantee a device in 2019 will support it.

That said, you also likely won’t miss out on much if your new device doesn’t support it, because the era of Wi-Fi 6 won’t truly start until next year.

Source: The Verge

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