If you pay attention to the symbols at the top of your cell phone, you might have noticed a little number 6 right next to your cell phone's wi-fi symbol. But what does it mean?

New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, announced the $1+ billion ConnectALL initiative during her 2022 State of the State address.

Under the new ConnectALL initiative, New York State will use over $1 billion in public and private investments to connect New Yorkers in rural and urban areas statewide to broadband.

Low-income families in New York State can get a $30-a-month broadband subsidy via the ConnectALL initiative.

I noticed that sometimes there is a tiny 6 in my wi-fi symbol on my cell phone and got curious as to what it means. The weird thing is, that '6' isn't always there. I couldn't figure out what it meant, so of course I had to do some research.

Photo by Francisco Venâncio on Unsplash
Photo by Francisco Venâncio on Unsplash

What Does The Little '6' Next To Your Phone's WiFi Mean?

The technology is actually called 802.11ax, but who has time to say all of that? Thankfully, '6' is the shorter version referring to the technology. According to Netgear,

Designed to increase network capacity and improve the performance of your home network, WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is the latest generation of WiFi technology. It will empower you with faster WiFi speeds with reliable connections, so you can enjoy buffer-free streaming, faster downloads, and add more smart home devices without slowing down your internet experience.

That would explain why sometimes I see a 6 and other times I don't. When I am home, my phone connects to wifi, giving me access to wifi 6. It is apparently an improved wifi, which is interesting because I haven't upgraded my service or my router.

Photo by Andreas Haslinger on Unsplash
Photo by Andreas Haslinger on Unsplash

What Is WiFi 6?

Wifi 6 or 802.11ax, which was first introduced in 2019, offers 600 to 9608 megabits per second, making it faster than wifi 5. Wifi 6 uses 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. According to Intel,

Wi-Fi 6 is a substantial upgrade over previous generations, though the differences may not seem immediately obvious to the average user. These changes might not dramatically change the way we use wireless routers or wireless networking but instead consist of many incremental improvements that stack up to be a substantial upgrade.

In addition to wifi 6, there's also wifi 6E, which can utilize the 6GHz frequency band. In order to experience the benefits of wifi 6, you need a capable router and device.

New York Residents who are in need of affordable internet services can find providers here

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