WiFi 6E is here and whether you know how significant this is or not, it is truly exciting news! Here, we take a deeper dive into what WiFi 6E is, why it is significant, and how WiFi as we know it continues to evolve.
What is WiFi 6E?
In 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance introduced the newest wireless standard, WiFi 6 (802.11AX). A significant upgrade over the previous standard, WiFi 5 (802.11AC), WiFi 6 was designed for increased connected capacity, faster wireless speeds, lower latency and improved network efficiency. Like previous WiFi standards before it, WiFi 6 operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
In April 2020, the Wi-Fi Alliance excitedly announced the FCC’s decision to make 1.2GHz of unlicensed spectrum available, making WiFi on 6GHz possible and coining the term WiFi 6E, which is extending WiFi 6 into 6GHz. This expansion is the most recent in almost 20 years since 5GHz and is almost 3x the spectrum we have available today.
How significant is WiFi 6E?
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, WiFi 6E allows for 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels. Without any channel overlap, congestion will be reduced especially in areas where lots of networks are operating. NETGEAR’s Abhay Bhorkar, Director of Product Management – Connected Home, provides a good analogy to compare just how significant this is – “It’s like constructing a new, wider, freeway looking at today’s congestion and anticipating future traffic growth.” With more bandwidth available than before, the potential to unlock many more applications can become a reality.
When will WiFi 6E routers become available?
With a rich history of being innovation leaders in networking products, NETGEAR proudly announced its first WiFi 6E Tri-band Router, the Nighthawk RAXE500, earlier this year at CES 2021. With the arrival of the RAXE500, NETGEAR is poised to be the backbone of the hyper-connected home of today and of the future. This year alone, it is forecasted that more than 316 million Wi-Fi 6E devices will enter the market. While it’s expected that smartphones will be one of the first consumer products to adopt WiFi 6E, we can also expect to see devices like TVs, PCs and VR devices do the same.
Should I upgrade to a WiFi 6E router immediately?
Like 5GHz before it, it may take WiFi 6 on 6GHz years before we start to see it everywhere, but that’s not to say that you won’t see much benefit if you’re an early adopter. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, someone who is always excited about the latest and greatest technology, or someone who values the best performance available, WiFi 6E will be a game changer and perfect for smart homes of today and tomorrow. Even more, as WiFi 6E becomes widely used, 6GHz’s short range and greater number of channels will provide an advantage in challenging environments like apartment complexes, sports stadiums, and corporate campuses.
Where does WiFi go from here?
The future possibilities of WiFi 6E are tremendous and with its announcement this year, we are certainly taking the step in the right direction for even better WiFi. For the next generation of consumers, WiFi 6E will be huge for higher bandwidth for 8K video streaming or video calls, lower latency for VR/AR gaming over WiFi, WiFi congestion relief in public environments and more! With that said, it’s safe to confidently say the future of WiFi is here and NETGEAR is truly excited to be at the forefront as we’ve always been.