Keerti Melkote, the founder of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company that offers Wi-Fi products for businesses, proposed another theory. The majority of the devices in my home would need to have chips that made them compatible with Wi-Fi 6 before the benefits were more pronounced, he said. Only about a quarter of my internet-connected devices have those.
Those weren’t jaw-dropping results. But the good news was that using Wi-Fi 6, I noticed subtle changes throughout my home. For one, my Amazon intelligent speakers are now more responsive. In my bedroom, I ask Alexa to control a pair of internet-connected light bulbs. With the older router, whenever I said, “Alexa, turn on the lights,” there was a delay of about two seconds before the lights turned on. Now it’s less than half a second.
I noticed something similar about MyQ, which lets me use a smartphone app to control my garage door. Previously, after pressing the button, I waited several seconds for the door to open. Now the wait is a split second. My video calls also look more straightforward than they used to, and they take less time to connect.
This suggests that Wi-Fi 6 is a long-term investment. The more internet-connected devices that enter people’s homes in the coming years, the more the perks will become visible. “It will take time, but the improvements will be real,” Mr. Melkote said.
Of the two Wi-Fi 6 routers I tested, I preferred the Eero Pro 6. It’s $150 cheaper than the Netgear Orbi, and both routers were equally fast in my tests. Eero’s setup was also more straightforward.
But who should buy it?
My experience indicated that people who bought a router in the last five years probably wouldn’t see significant improvements immediately, so there is no rush to upgrade.