Wi-Fi 6E has a free hand once the Federal Communications Commission of the United States has unanimously approved the extension of the spectrum of use to 6 GHz and unlicensed, so any provider can use it at no cost. It will be the biggest update to wireless standard in 20 years.
The new frequency had been requested by the Wi-Fi Alliance organization and had wide industry support. Qualcomm, Intel, Facebook, Cisco or Apple had lobbied the FCC for approval, something that has finally ended up happening. “This is the most monumental decision regarding the Wi-Fi spectrum in its history, in the 20 years that we have existed,” they explained from the organization that oversees the implementation of the wireless standard.
Why Wi-Fi 6E matters
The approval of 6 GHz for Wi-Fi means expanding the use spectrum by 1,200 MHz. In this way, compatible routers will be able to work with the existing 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and new 6 GHz bands. practical, and although the theoretical maximum performance of the standard is maintained at 10 Gbps of Wi-Fi 6 (9.6 Gbps to be precise), it will allow improve actual transfer rates and also latencies.
Simply, Wi-Fi 6E equipment will not have to compete for the spectrum with as many devices as currently occurs in the 2.4 GHz band (tremendously saturated) and the 5 GHz band that is also beginning to be and is the cause of the interference that complicate connections. The new spectrum quadruples the amount of space available, which will mean much more bandwidth and less interference for any compatible device.
Even once 6 GHz routers become more common within several years, the hope is that the broader spectrum will allow the signals to be faster and stronger than what we use today. “We will not be in the same position as we are today in five years,” they explain from the Wi-Fi Alliance, although it must be borne in mind that the number of connected devices does not stop increasing and to all that there is must add what is coming for smart home and from the Internet of Things,
All in all, the actual performance of a Wi-Fi 6E connection is expected to reach 2 Gbps. It will still be below what a fiber supplier can offer, but it is a huge potential leap. It is at the level of the expected speeds of 5G millimeter waves and its greater capacity to handle connected devices, especially in dense deployment scenarios of WLAN, will allow you (they say that for the first time in history) be a real alternative to wired local networks.
Wi-Fi 6E: all the advantages of Wi-Fi 6, plus 6 GHz
Wi-Fi 6E is based on Wi-Fi 6 and will get all the features of the new standard in addition to spectrum expansion. Regarding Wi-Fi ac, it has 50 updated functions and advantages like:
Increased global bandwidth per user for content transmission in ultra high definition and virtual reality.
Increased capacity of routers to handle connected devices.
Support for more simultaneous data streams and faster speeds.
The spectrum is divided into more channels to allow more communication routes. (80 or 160 MHz vs. a maximum of 40 MHz in the 5 GHz band).
Packets contain more data, and networks can handle different data streams at once.
Improved performance (up to 4x) in the maximum range of an access point.
Better performance / robustness in outdoor and multipath environments (messy)
Ability to download wireless traffic from cellular networks where reception is poor.
256-QAM modulation versus 64-QAM of the previous ones.
Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) that allows four downlink connections.
Better energy efficiency, which should translate into an increase in device battery life.
More total spectrum: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands. In the future the 1 GHz band could be joined.
How is the norm and when Wi-Fi 6E arrives
Everything indicates that the Wi-Fi Alliance will continue in the task of helping users to identify the devices (and not the technical gibberish that it used previously) continuing with the simplified generational names that it premiered in the Wi-Fi 6 announcement. In this way we will have:
802.11b → Wi-Fi 1
802.11a → Wi-Fi 2
802.11g → Wi-Fi 3
802.11n → Wi-Fi 4
802.11ac (currently most used) → Wi-Fi 5
802.11ax (active since 2019) → Wi-Fi 6
802.11ax (2021) → Wi-Fi 6E
In addition to the nomenclatures, the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to maintain the new visual model that will appear on all devices instead of the classic letter versions. Much easier to understand at a glance, what you see in the image below another label with “6E” will be added:
The first Wi-Fi 6E compatible devices are expected to hit the market later this year for a wide deployment in 2021 and later. A Wi-Fi 6E router will be compatible and will be able to handle any device based on previous versions of the standard, but the previous standards, not even Wi-Fi 6, can be updated to it using software or firmware. Said in Christian, if you want to take advantage of all the advantages of the standard including the new 6 GHz band, you will need to buy new networking equipment and new devices to bear it.
In any case, the opening of the 6 GHz band will allow a huge jump in performance, latency and handling of devices connected under the wireless communication standard and will allow it to compete with guarantees with wired networks and what comes from 5G.