Asus recently listed their own Wi-Fi 6 network card on Amazon, without much fanfare. You can pre-order it now, but it won't be shipped until Nov. 24. Priced at $69.99, the Asus PCE-AX3000 will add Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to your computers. You still need to have a Wi-Fi 6 router to make use of Asus' new network card.
According to their product specifications, the PCE-AX3000 supports speeds up to 2,402 Mbps on the 5GHz channel, and 600 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz channel. It uses Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for faster wireless transmission of data on a wider coverage area.
There aren't that many Wi-Fi 6 hotspots out there right now, which is what the AX3000 is designed to connect to. Thankfully, this Wi-Fi 6 network cards are backward compatible, so you could upgrade now while retaining your current connections.
Asus' PCE-AX3000 also uses the latest WPA3 network security, which provides an extra layer of protection for your connection. You won't have to worry about cybersecurity threats with this enabled.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax connectivity, is faster than its predecessor, the Wi-Fi 5, also called 802.11ac. It's not a new way of connecting to the internet, but rather an upgrade of what we currently use when connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
Theoretically, Wi-Fi 6 connections can transmit up to 10 Gbps, which is around 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5. CNet's speed tests clocked the Wi-Fi 6 transfer speeds at 1,320 Mbps, 40% faster than the fastest speed they ever clocked with the Wi-Fi 5. Take note that the maximum transfer speed that your router could provide still largely depends on your Internet Service Provider (ISP), so getting a Wi-Fi 6 router doesn't automatically make your internet connection faster.
Aside from the faster connection, Wi-Fi 6 also reworks the way routers handle multiple connections. Routers usually service up to a dozen different devices in homes nowadays, and bandwidth allocation sometimes becomes a big problem. Wi-Fi 6 routers will help decongest the household internet traffic, giving everyone fast internet connectivity even if some users would be using Netflix.
There won't be a lot of Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices or routers anytime soon, especially since Wi-Fi 6 prices are still jacked up compared to its predecessors. However, Wi-Fi 6's backward compatibility lets you adopt the technology early so you could adapt more easily when Wi-Fi 6 becomes more mainstream. In a sense, it's a way to future-proof your computers.
Meanwhile, there are currently only two smartphones in the market that supports Wi-Fi 6. These are Samsung's Galaxy S10 and Apple's iPhone 11. Owners of these devices will be able to enjoy faster Wi-Fi connections once Wi-Fi 6 becomes more widespread, although they won't be noticing much improvement right now.
Considering how fast both Samsung and Apple releases new models of their phones, you shouldn't be rushing to get them just to get Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. By the time Wi-Fi 6 becomes more mainstream, both companies may have already launched new models, also using Wi-Fi 6.
Since the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit organization that oversees Wi-Fi adoption, only started releasing Wi-Fi 6 certification on devices this Fall, we also can't expect smart home devices are making use of Wi-Fi 6 until early next year. However, we hope that Wi-Fi 6 will become ubiquitous soon. It won't hurt to start preparing this early.