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Speed ​​comparison between WiFi 5 and 6

Test scenario

To check the real performance of a connection with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5, it is essential that the distance and obstacles between the different tests are exactly the same, the same happens with the Wi-Fi clients used, to compare the speed of both Wi-Fi technologies.

Distance and obstacles

In the first speed test we have connected the wireless clients at a distance of 2 meters from the router and AP, with direct vision, and without any type of obstacle in between. In this way, we can check the real maximum speed that we can achieve in an ideal environment. In the performance tables that you will see below, when we indicate “Direct vision” it refers to this scenario.

In the second speed test we have connected the wireless clients at a distance of 4 meters between the router and AP with the wireless client, and right in the middle we found a wall. In other words, we have carried out the speed test in the «Adjoining room» where we always carry out all the analysis of routers, Wi-Fi access points and other wireless devices. In the performance tables that you will see below, when we indicate “Adjoining room” it refers just to this scenario.

Wi-Fi clients used in benchmarks

In our performance tests we have used different wireless clients, specifically we have used a total of 3 smartphones with different wireless technologies:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 +: in the 2.4GHz band it has Wi-Fi 6 with 1024QAM support, 40MHz of channel width, and has a single antenna judging by the synchronization speed of up to 229Mbps. In the 5GHz band it has WI-Fi 6 with 1024QAM support, 80MHz of channel width (it does not support 160MHz of channel width), and it has two antennas judging by the synchronization speed of up to 1,200Mbps.
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 +: in the 2.4GHz band it has Wi-Fi 4 with 256QAM support, 40MHz of channel width, and it has a single antenna judging by the synchronization speed of up to 192Mbps. In the 5GHz band it has Wi-Fi 5 with support 1024QAM (NitroQAM), 80MHz of channel width (it does not support 160MHz of channel width), and has two antennas judging by the synchronization speed of up to 1083Mbps.
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: in the 2.4GHz band it has Wi-Fi 4 with 256QAM support, 40MHz of channel width, and it has a single antenna judging by the synchronization speed of up to 192Mbps. In the 5GHz band, it has Wi-Fi 5 with 256QAM support (by default), 80MHz of channel width (it does not support 160MHz of channel width), and it has two antennas judging by the synchronization speed of up to 867Mbps.

As you can see, depending on the wireless client (and also the Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi access point) we will achieve one synchronization speed or another. These sync speeds are the maximums, and are taken in the first “direct view” scenario with the router. ASUS RT-AX88U. We recommend you visit our complete article on the maximum Wi-Fi speed, taking into account different factors (Wi-Fi standards, support of new technologies, distance, etc.).

Once we have seen the test scenarios, and also the wireless clients that we have tested, we are going to show you which routers and access points we have used for the tests.

Wi-Fi access points and routers used in benchmarks

ASUS RT-AX88U

Router ASUS RT-AX88U incorporates simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi AX6000. Has a 2.4GHz band capable of providing speeds of up to 1,148Mbps thanks to its four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration and the 1024QAM quadrature amplitude modulation standard that the 802.11ax standard has by default. In the case of the mobile devices that we have tested, we have only one antenna, therefore, we will achieve a speed four times lower. If we connect a device with Wi-Fi 4 (Wi-Fi N), we can use NitroQAM (1024QAM) technology as well, as in the case of the S8 + and S7 Edge.

In the 5GHz band, we have Wi-Fi 6 technology, or also known as Wi-Fi AX. In this frequency band we can achieve a speed up to 4804Mbps thanks to the fact that they have four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration and we have 160MHz of channel width. In the case of the Samsung S10 + is the only one with Wi-Fi 6, we have 2 antennas and only 80MHz channel width, therefore, the maximum speed will get is up to 1.200Mbps, as you have seen in the speed of synchronization. If we connect a device with Wi-Fi 5 (Wi-Fi AC), we can use NitroQAM (1024QAM) technology also to achieve up to 2167Mbps, as in the case of the S8 + which has a synchronization speed of 1083Mbps with its two antennas, 80MHz and 1024QAM.

ASUS RT-AX92U

This Wi-Fi AiMesh system ASUS RT-AX92U It has simultaneous triple band with Wi-Fi AX6100, but the 2.4GHz band has Wi-Fi 4 and the 5GHz-1 band has Wi-Fi 5, the only band available with Wi-Fi 6 is the second 5GHz band . In this case of the third frequency band, we can get a speed up to 4804Mbps thanks to the fact that they have four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration and we have 160MHz of channel width.

We are in exactly the same scenario as the ASUS RT-AX88U router that we have indicated before. S10 + synchronized to 1.200Mbps that has two antennas, 80MHz and supports Wi-Fi 6 and 1024QAM, the S8 + synchronized to 1083Mbps that has 1024QAM and Wi-Fi 5, and finally, the S7 Edge synchronized to 867Mbps that has Wi- Fi 5 standard.

EnGenius EWS377AP

This professional access point from the manufacturer EnGenius has simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi AX3000. Has a 2.4GHz band capable of providing speeds of up to 1,148Mbps thanks to its four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration and the 1024QAM quadrature amplitude modulation standard that the 802.11ax standard has by default. In the case of the mobile devices that we have tested, we only have one antenna, therefore, we will achieve a speed four times lower. If we connect a device with Wi-Fi 4 (Wi-Fi N), we will not be able to use NitroQAM (1024QAM) technology because it is only available on Wi-Fi 6.

In the 5GHz band, we have Wi-Fi 6 technology, or also known as Wi-Fi AX. In this frequency band we can achieve a speed up to 2,400Mbps thanks to the fact that they have four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration and we have 80MHz of channel width (it does not support 160MHz of channel width as dictated by the standard). In the case of the Samsung S10 + is the only one with Wi-Fi 6, we have 2 antennas and only 80MHz channel width, therefore, the maximum speed will get is up to 1.200Mbps, as you have seen in the speed of synchronization. If we connect a device with Wi-Fi 5 (Wi-Fi AC), we will not be able to take advantage of the additional speed of NitroQAM, and the synchronization speed will be 867Mbps maximum.

Software to measure wireless performance

To measure the performance between the wireless clients and the routers or APs, we have used the typical speed test in the different mobile terminals. Taking advantage of our internet connection is symmetrical 1Gbps and we found that if we get this smooth speed internet facing, we measured both the download speed and upload speed in all scenarios.

To rule out possible saturations in our operator, we have installed the typical Jperf server on a LAN computer connected to a 1Gbps port. With mobile devices we have used an iPerf client to check performance. This measurement gives us the upload speed (sense: from the Wi-Fi client to the Jperf server connected via cable).

Once we’ve known all routers and APs tested in this comparison, and how we performed various tests to check the speed, we are going to teach achieved in all performance tests conducted.

Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 5 performance

We have put the performance tests carried out in a comparison table, so that you can see all the speeds obtained in detail. The speed unit is “Mbps” in all of them.

ASUS RT-AX88U

Using the ASUS RT-AX88U router, the speeds obtained in the different tests are as follows:

In the chart below you can see in detail the performance difference between “direct view” and “next room” in the 2.4GHz band, as well as the speed difference between different client devices we have used. An important detail is that the vertical axis starts at 120Mbps, so that the difference in speed of the tests is clearly noticeable.

In the chart below you can see in detail the performance difference between “direct view” and “next room” in the 5GHz band as well as the speed difference between different client devices we have used. An important detail is that the vertical axis starts at 160Mbps, so that the difference in speed of the tests is clearly visible.

In the following table you can see the difference in performance between the S10 + and S8 +, and also between the S10 + and the S7 Edge in the different locations. That percentage you see comes from the formula «(Speed ​​S10 + – Speed ​​S8 + / Speed ​​S8 +)» in the different previous scenarios.

As you can see, we have obtained a download speed difference of up to 253% between the S10 + and the S7 Edge in the 5GHz band in the download direction.

ASUS RT-AX92U

Using the ASUS RT-AX92U router, the speeds obtained in the different tests are as follows:

In the chart below you can see in detail the performance difference between “direct view” and “next room” in the 5GHz band as well as the speed difference between different client devices we have used. An important detail is that the vertical axis starts at 160Mbps, so that the difference in speed of the tests is clearly noticeable.

In the following table you can see the difference in performance between the S10 + and S8 +, and also between the S10 + and the S7 Edge in the different locations. That percentage that you see comes from the formula «(Speed ​​S10 + – Speed ​​S8 + / Speed ​​S8 +)» in the different previous scenarios.

As you can see, we have obtained a download speed difference of up to 100% in various scenarios.

EnGenius EWS377AP

Using the EnGenius EWS377AP professional access point, the speeds obtained in the different tests are as follows:

In the following graph you can see in detail the difference in performance between “direct vision” and “adjacent room” in the 2.4GHz band, as well as the difference in speed between the different client devices that we have used. An important detail is that the vertical axis starts at 40Mbps, so that the difference in speed of the tests is clearly noticeable.

In the following graph you can see in detail the difference in performance between “direct vision” and “next room” in the 5GHz band, as well as the difference in speed between the different client devices that we have used. An important detail is that the vertical axis starts at 200Mbps, so that the difference in speed of the tests is clearly noticeable.

In the following table you can see the difference in performance between the S10 + and S8 +, and also between the S10 + and the S7 Edge in the different locations. That percentage you see comes from the formula «(Speed ​​S10 + – Speed ​​S8 + / Speed ​​S8 +)» in the different previous scenarios.

As you can see, we have obtained a download speed difference of up to 194% between the S10 + and the S7 Edge in the upstream 5GHz band.

So far we have come with this comparison of Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 5, as we have more wireless clients with Wi-Fi 6 such as USB Wi-Fi cards or PCIe cards, we will update this comparison so that you always have it updated. We will also do these same tests on the next equipment (routers and APs) that we analyze with Wi-Fi 6, so you can see the difference in performance in the tests.