It is exactly in the technical specifications. All four models support 802.11ax, the technical name for Wi-Fi 6. That puts the iPhone at the top with Samsung'sand mobile devices that before the and followed. New phones from and also support the fast new standard.
That's great! Also: what exactly is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of the 802.11 standard for wireless networks, which we commonly call Wi-Fi. The current version most of your Wi-Fi devices are likely to use is 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5. Devices that support Wi-Fi 6 still speak the same Wi-Fi language to talk to each other – they talk just faster and more efficiently than before.
The specific technical improvements that the standard brings are complicated, butto wrap your head around it (and let me know in the comments or you find the Mortal Kombat analogy useful). But in a nutshell, Wi-Fi 6 is better than Wi-Fi 5 because:
- it supports faster top transfer speeds (we clocked it up to 1,320 Mbps – than the fastest Wi-Fi 5 speeds we measured).
- Allows devices to transmit more information with each individual transmission.
- With routers and other access points, more devices can be operated simultaneously.
- It helps sensors and other wireless gadgets save battery power by scheduling transmissions.
- It provides better, faster performance in dense, crowded environments such as airports and stadiums.
So my internet will be faster?
Well … not really.
The new iPhones and other devices that support Wi-Fi 6, such as thewill certainly be able to take advantage of all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 – but only if they have a Wi-Fi 6 access point to connect to. You won't see any difference at all if you're still using a Wi-Fi 5 router. And sure, (we are currently testing some things) – but most of them are still quite expensive.
Even if you get one, it will do nothing to make your internet connection magically faster. For example, if your ISP's connection is 100 Mbps, then. Wi-Fi 6 cannot do anything to speed it up.
Currently, the average download speed in the US is 119 Mbps, which is nowhere near the top speeds that Wi-Fi 6 is theoretically capable of. Using a Wi-Fi 6 router on such a network is a bit like driving a sports car on sand. You will not go as fast as your hardware can.
So yes, Wi-Fi 6 is fast and exciting, but it is also early. Support for Wi-Fi 6 will help future-proof the latest iPhones, but it's not a must-have feature yet and you shouldn't feel compelled to rush and replace your router.
The future looks bright
That said, the spread of fiber networks and other connections approaching gigabit speeds means that Wi-Fi 6 is likely to be a lot more relevant to many more people within the next year or so. And now that the iPhone is on board, you can expect more devices to follow suit with support for the stand. Apple is still a market mover.
In the meantime, keep an eye on the implementation of Wi-Fi 6 in public places. One such implementation, a Wi-Fi 6 Boingo network at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, has been operating since April last year. If your phone supports the new standard, you will benefit from faster public networks like this. And don't worry if you're holding on to a Wi-Fi 5 phone – Wi-Fi 6 networks are backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi devices, even if they can't do much to make them faster.