5G vs Wi-Fi 6

What’s So Different About them?

Despite being the latest version of the nowadays network technologies, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are, first of all, very different technologies. 5G is a type of cellular network technology, while Wi-Fi 6 is a type of wireless network technology. Since commercial 5G is more relatable to our daily lives, we will be focusing on comparing that and enterprise Wi-Fi 6 in the following. Let’s dive into the differences between the two networking technologies.

5G vs Wi-Fi 6

What’s 5G?

5G is the 5th generation of cellular wireless standards. Its capabilities surpass its predecessor 4G. 5G offers faster data speeds, increased network capacity, and reduced latency. This means you can enjoy a superior mobile network experience, whether you’re streaming high-definition videos, playing online games, or browsing the web.

5G networks also enable new technologies concerning wide-scale industrial IoT, automated robotics, and advanced applications across various industries. With 5G, the possibilities are endless.

What’s Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax, is the latest generation of wireless network technology. It brings unprecedented efficiency and performance improvements to your local area network (LAN). If you’ve ever experienced network congestion in your home or office, Wi-Fi 6 is here to solve that problem. Wi-Fi 6 helps with solving the issues of network congestion due to the high demand for usage with a new channel-sharing capability that promises multi-user communications. Wi-Fi 6 also enables a new client power-saving mechanism to allow wake-times scheduling to improve client battery life.

What are their similarities?

Both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 provide users with high-speed network connections and large user capacities lowering the chances of network congestions to allow a seamless internet experience.

Both make use of orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) to divide the available bandwidth into smaller subcarriers, allowing several devices to be sharing the same channel more effectively.

Having both technologies use higher frequency radio waves to transmit data, results in a more efficient transfer speed and lower latency in the process.

Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology is also another thing that the two technologies have in common. Multiple antennas are deployed to improve the signal strength and reduce the interference.

What are their differences?

There are a few aspects we can compare the 2 network technologies, range, speed, latency, frequency, reliability, and security.


5G, being a cellular network technology, offers an extensive coverage area, especially outdoors. This makes it perfect for Internet Service Providers looking to provide connectivity over vast regions.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi 6 is designed for localized coverage within buildings, making it ideal for small-to-medium-sized indoor environments like homes, offices, and cafes.

Overlaying 5G to Wi-Fi 6 networks would help with providing a larger coverage area with a more reliable connection


In controlled environments, both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 can deliver gigabit speeds, up to 20Gbps for 5G and up to 9.6 Gbps for Wi-Fi 6. However, the actual speed experienced can vary due to factors such as infrastructure, coverage, interferences, and client usage.

Generally, 5G tends to provide faster speeds in outdoor areas, as it is a cellular network technology. It is well-suited for large infrastructures like campuses and stadiums. Wi-Fi 6 outshines 5G in smaller localized areas, providing excellent performance within buildings.


5G and Wi-Fi 6 offer lower latency and reduced network congestion, benefiting real-time communication applications.

5G’s wider coverage and neighboring infrastructure make it more likely to offer lower latency in outdoor areas. The low latency of 5G technology is essential for applications that require real-time communication, such as virtual reality, telemedicine, and IoT applications.

Wi-Fi 6 uses Target Wake Time technology to reduce congestion by allowing client devices to schedule transmissions, resulting in an overall reduction in network congestion.

Both technologies have advantages and are suited for different environments and applications.


5G offers both licensed and unlicensed spectrums, while Wi-Fi 6 uses an unlicensed spectrum.

5G offers a more reliable connection with seamless handoff between the base stations and protection from interference through the CBRS spectrum. The CBRS spectrum spans from 3.5GHz to 3.7 GHz, offering both licensed and unlicensed access for private businesses.

Wi-Fi 6 offers an unlicensed spectrum. Using an unlicensed network could make the network suffers from neighboring network interferences, which could cause trouble for monitoring for most businesses.

If businesses are looking to support applications that require real-time uninterrupted network communication, the 5G cellular network is relatively more reliable.


5G offers end-to-end encryption to protect user data as it transmits between user devices and the network. 5G also offers advanced authentication to verify device and user identities before allowing access to the network. Network-slicing is used to create virtual networks tailored to specific use cases and applications allowing each network slice to have its own security policies and controls, ensuring the protection of sensitive and confidential data.

Wi-Fi 6 comes with numerous security features, some of its more prominent security protocols are Wi-Fi Protected Access 3(WPA3). The WPA3 protocol enables strong 256-bit AES encryption, making it troublesome for attackers to intercept and decode its transmission. And Enhanced Open is a brand-new security feature designed for public networks. Its Opportunistic Wireless Encryption provides a safety protocol for typically unencrypted public Wi-Fi connections. As for Protected Management Frame, it protects against attacks that target the management frames of Wi-Fi networks, which are used for establishing and maintaining connections between devices and access points.

Working in Harmony for Optimal Connectivity

5G and Wi-Fi 6 are powerful network technologies on their own. And when they are used in combination, they offer exceptional connectivity that is fast, seamless, reliable, and secure. Users have the freedom the roam around freely in and out of buildings, up and down floors, commute in all directions, and enjoy smooth and reliable network connectivity with the bandwidth they require.

Whilst 5G provides broader geographical coverage, Wi-Fi 6 provides local coverage within buildings. Based on their network performance, it is more flexible and reliable to have 5G-Wi-Fi 6 overlapping zones to ensure network connectivity and eliminate wireless service gaps across widespread areas.

As both 5G and Wi-Fi 6 deliver a drastically increased performance compared to their predecessors, the two network technologies provide a faster and smoother internet experience as users change their locations.

Having 5G and Wi-Fi 6 working as one, users can access a faster internet experience with lower latency, tailoring to their network connection journey. With 5G providing the network connection for Wi-Fi 6, users can enjoy an even more reliable, secure, stable, and fast internet experience.

5G Wi-Fi 6 Cellular Routers

GL.iNet’s 5G Wi-Fi 6 routers, Spitz AX (GL-X3000) and Puli AX (GL-XE3000) have the capability to provide reliable, stable, seamless, and high-speed Wi-Fi connections to all client devices. The cutting-edge combination of the latest network technologies allows users to redefine their online experience without worrying about network congestion, or fighting over the network connection with other user devices. They have a dual-SIM design and allow users to perform Multi-WAN functions, e.g. failover and load-balancing.

The combination also allows a more secure way of online exploration with layers of encryptions, preventing hackers to access the client devices’ information easily.

About GL.iNet

GL.iNet builds network hardware and software solutions that bring affordable and secure network connectivity to families and businesses all over the world. We work with a wide range of industries, solving everyday internet problems in offices, and providing complex networking solutions such as smart buildings and IoT Networks. At GL.iNet, We believe all successful businesses build upon a strong and secure foundation, which is why our highest priority is perfecting network security and reliability for our partners.