Wireless connectivity has become an integral part of our lives, and with the rapid advancement of technology, newer wireless standards are being introduced to the market. Two such wireless technologies that have been in the news recently are Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G. Both of these technologies are designed to provide high-speed, reliable, and secure connectivity, but they differ in several ways.
In this article, we will explore the differences between Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G, and their applications in various industries. Sometimes, both will be deployed together and will complement each other with their respective strengths.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is the latest IEEE 802.11 network standard that provides faster internet speeds, increased capacity, and improved connectivity. It operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, with a theoretical maximum speed of up to 9.6 Gbps. It utilizes 1024 QAM modulation and is based on OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access). Wi-Fi 6 technology is designed to handle more devices and data than its predecessors, which makes it perfect for environments with a high concentration of devices such as airports, hotels, and convention centers.
Wi-Fi 6 provides several key improvements over the previous Wi-Fi standards, including:
- Increased throughput: Wi-Fi 6 can deliver higher data rates, which means that it can handle more data at a faster speed.
- Improved latency: Wi-Fi 6 reduces the time it takes for devices to communicate with the network, resulting in a more responsive connection.
- Increased capacity: Wi-Fi 6 can handle more devices simultaneously, which means that it is ideal for environments with a high density of devices.
- Improved battery life: Wi-Fi 6 uses a technology called Target Wake Time (TWT), which reduces the amount of power consumed by devices when they are not actively transmitting data.
What is Private 5G?
5G, on the other hand, is the 5th generation cellular wireless network that operates on a dedicated radio spectrum. Unlike Wi-Fi, which operates on an unlicensed spectrum, 5G networks require a license from the government. While most of us are familiar with commercial 5G, we’ll be comparing Wi-Fi 6 to Private 5G technology. Like Wi-Fi, Private 5G allows businesses to own and control their cellular network, infrastructure, and resources using unlicensed spectrum, like how administrators manage enterprise Wi-Fi networks today. They utilize the CBRS spectrum which we will go into more detail in our other blog.
Private 5G networks are designed to provide a high level of security and reliability, making them ideal for industrial, manufacturing, and healthcare applications. They offer low latency, high data rates, and the ability to support massive IoT deployments.
Private 5G provides several key benefits over Wi-Fi 6, including:
- Coordinated Spectrum: Private 5G operates on a allocated spectrum, which means that it is not subject to interference from other devices. This results in a more reliable and secure connection. It is also capable of broadcasting at a longer range thanks to a higher transmit power and the use of OFDMA subcarriers.
- Longer range: Private 5G has a longer range than Wi-Fi 6, which makes it ideal for large industrial and manufacturing environments, thanks to a higher transmit power.
- Low latency: Private 5G provides low latency, which means that devices can communicate with the network in real-time, making it ideal for applications that require fast response times.
- End-to-end encryption: Private 5G offers end-to-end encryption, which provides a high level of security for sensitive data.
- Network scheduling: Private 5G utilizes sophisticated network scheduling to allocate dedicated wireless access to clients for a given period allowing differentiated QoS to be applied per application.
Key Differences between Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G:
600 MHz to 900 MHz
2.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz
3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz
High-band frequencies (mmWave)
24 GHz to 40 GHz
2.4 GHz frequency band
2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz
5 GHz frequency band
5.1 GHz to 5.9 GHz
600 MHz to 900 MHz
2.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz
The range of each frequency band can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the type of antenna used, the environment (indoor or outdoor), and any physical obstacles that may interfere with the signal.
Low-band frequencies are typically used for wide area coverage and can provide coverage over long distances but may have lower data rates. Mid-band frequencies are a good balance between coverage and capacity and can provide higher data rates than low-band frequencies. High-band frequencies, also known as mm Wave frequencies, have the highest data rates but have shorter range and can be more susceptible to interference from obstacles.
Private 5G uses a variety of frequency bands including low, mid, and high frequency ranges. These frequency ranges include sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands.
Wi-Fi 6 operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.
Private 5G is based on a cellular network topology with a distributed architecture.
Wi-Fi 6 is based on a wireless local area network (WLAN) topology and uses a centralized architecture.
Private 5G uses a variety of modulation techniques including Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), and Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM).
Wi-Fi 6 uses OFDM and OFDMA modulation techniques.
Private 5G offers extremely low latency, typically in the range of 1-10 milliseconds, making it suitable for real-time applications.
Wi-Fi 6 offers low latency, typically in the range of 10-30 milliseconds.
Private 5G offers higher network capacity and can support many devices per square mile.
Wi-Fi 6 has lower network capacity compared to Private 5G and is suitable for small to medium-sized networks.
Private 5G requires specialized equipment and infrastructure and is typically deployed by large enterprises or service providers.
Wi-Fi 6 can be deployed using existing infrastructure, making it easier and cheaper to deploy.
Private 5G provides end-to-end encryption, user authentication, and network slicing capabilities for enhanced security.
Wi-Fi 6 offers advanced security features such as WPA3 encryption and supports secure guest access.
Private 5G provides end-to-end traffic prioritization based on the quality of service (QoS) requirements of different applications and services. It supports several QoS mechanisms, such as traffic shaping, queuing, and scheduling, to ensure that mission-critical applications get the required bandwidth and priority.
Wi-Fi 6 supports the IEEE 802.11e standard for QoS, which provides four Access Categories (ACs) with different priority levels to ensure that different types of traffic, such as voice, video, and data, are prioritized correctly. It also supports the Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) protocol, which provides additional QoS mechanisms such as Admission Control and Call Admission Control.
Private 5G supports network slicing, which allows different virtual networks to be created on the same physical infrastructure, with each slice optimized for specific applications and services. This provides better QoS and reduces network congestion by ensuring that each slice gets the required resources and bandwidth.
Wi-Fi 6 does not support network slicing.
Private 5G supports dynamic bandwidth allocation, which enables the network to allocate and adjust the bandwidth dynamically based on the changing traffic requirements and QoS needs of different applications and services. This ensures that the available bandwidth is optimized for the best QoS and user experience.
Wi-Fi 6 supports a fixed bandwidth allocation, which means that the bandwidth is divided among the different Access Categories (ACs) and cannot be adjusted dynamically. This may result in lower QoS if the traffic requirements change dynamically.
Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G have different applications, depending on the industry and environment. Wi-Fi 6 is suitable for environments with a high concentration of devices, such as airports, hotels, and convention centers. It is also ideal for consumer applications such as streaming video and gaming.
Private 5G, on the other hand, is designed for industrial, manufacturing, and healthcare applications that require a high level of security and reliability. Private 5G can support massive IoT deployments, making it ideal for applications such as smart factories, autonomous vehicles, and remote surgeries.
Widely used for IoT and smart city applications. Industries include healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics.
Used for IoT and home networking applications. Industries include residential, hospitality, and education.
Used for industrial automation, robotics, and remote-control applications. Industries include manufacturing, transportation, and logistics.
Used for high-density and mobile applications such as video conferencing and streaming. Industries include education, retail, and healthcare.
Used for private 5G networks in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics.
High-band frequencies (mmWave)
Used for high-speed data transfer, augmented and virtual reality, and edge computing applications. Industries include telecommunications, media and entertainment, and gaming.
Top uses of Private 5G in different industries
Industrial automation, robotics, remote control, predictive maintenance, and real-time monitoring.
Telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, augmented reality for surgery, and real-time monitoring of vital signs.
Logistics and Warehousing
Asset tracking, inventory management, real-time monitoring of supply chain operations, and autonomous vehicles.
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, predictive maintenance, real-time monitoring of transit systems, and autonomous vehicles.
Energy and Utilities
Smart grid management, remote asset monitoring and control, predictive maintenance, and real-time monitoring of operations.
Top uses of Wi-Fi 6 in different industries
High-density Wi-Fi for classrooms and lecture halls, online learning, and mobile device connectivity.
Mobile point-of-sale systems, inventory management, personalized promotions, and in-store customer experience.
Telemedicine, electronic health records, mobile device connectivity, and patient entertainment.
Guest Wi-Fi, mobile check-in, in-room entertainment, and personalized services.
Home automation, internet of things devices, streaming video and music, and gaming
Why Clover IQ?
Wi-Fi 6 and Private 5G are two wireless technologies that offer high-speed, reliable, and secure connectivity. While they share some similarities, they differ in several ways, including frequency range, range, throughput, latency, interference, and security.
At Clover IQ, we specialize in deploying wireless solutions that empower our clients to stay ahead of the competition. We offer end-to-end deployment of both Private 5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks, ensuring that our clients can leverage the benefits of each technology in a way that is optimized for their specific use case and industry.
Our experienced team provides our clients with the highest level of technical expertise and customer service. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and goals, and then design and deploy a wireless solution that is tailored to their specific requirements.
Whether it’s Private 5G for industrial automation, telemedicine, or autonomous vehicles, or Wi-Fi 6 for high-density classrooms, mobile point-of-sale systems, or home automation, our team has the technical expertise and experience to deploy a wireless solution that meets our clients’ needs and exceeds their expectations.
At Clover IQ, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the complex landscape of wireless technologies and achieve their wireless goals. With our end-to-end deployment, ongoing support, and deep understanding of Private 5G and Wi-Fi 6, we are well-positioned to help our clients stay ahead of the competition and succeed in their industries.