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Wi-Fi 6E: What is it, and how is it different from Wi-Fi 6?

Mar 4, 2020Blog

WiFi 6E? Didn’t I just hear about WiFi 6 and then WiFi 7? What is this?

Yes, you are right. You’ve now heard of all of these new variations of WiFi. You are not crazy. But you can be better informed. To find out more about what WiFi 7 is all about, check out this article all about it.

As far as WiFi 6E and how it’s different than WiFi 6, keep reading. Here’s what you need to know about these new WiFi standards and what’s going on.

What is WiFi 6E?

Simply put, WiFi 6E is an extension of WiFi 6. WiFi 6E works with the same standard as WiFi 6 (802.11ax), however it works on an extended spectrum.

The WiFi Alliance announced 6E as new branding for WiFi 6 equipment (which is not yet released). This new equipment will have a label stating that it is WiFi 6E. So, how exactly does WiFi 6E and WiFi 6 difference other than one letter difference in the name? There are a few ways.

WiFi 6 is the next generation of wireless (WiFi) router protocol and is also known as 802.11ax. WiFi 6 will address congestion issues caused by multiple standard and internet or things (IoT) devices trying to connect to a network at once.

WiFi 6E is an extension of everything with WiFi 6 but signifies that it supports an all-new 6GHz frequency. Access to the 6GHz frequency will add more spectrum, higher throughputs and lower latency. (Which is great for gaming.)

Where will we see WiFi 6E?

Right now? Nowhere. But once it’s released and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opens up the 6GHz band for use (which they’ve already agreed to do), we should see it anywhere that we experience WiFi 6.

  • WiFi 6E is promised to shine through congested areas (just like with WiFi 6).
  • We should see routers that can work with wider channels (just like with WiFi 6).
  • We should see more product innovations like next-generation smartphones, AR/VR devices, wearables and more (just like with WiFi 6).

Okay…so then what is the difference here?

To sum it up, WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E do not differ much other than the naming convention to distinguish the two and to signify extending into the 6GHz frequency.

Breaking into 6GHz is a big deal, though. This radio spectrum is underutilized and gives the opportunity for wider use and more efficient use. WiFi 6E in the 6 GHz band is expected to bring even better WiFi performance for current devices and device innovations to come. We’ve been promised a lot with WiFi 6 and there’s already more for us to look forward to.

What you need to know

Not all WiFi 6-compatible devices will be able to support using the 6GHz band. At this point, what you need to know is that if you are still in the process of upgrading to new devices or have recently upgraded to new devices, you will want to check to see if they are distinguished as WiFi 6E devices.

If you haven’t tapped into these devices yet, consider waiting until the FCC makes the 6GHz band available.

If being able to tap into the 6GHz band is important to you, definitely wait until the band is available to upgrade or invest in new devices.

There isn’t a set date for opening the 6GHz band.

Want more on WiFi 6? You’ve got it. Follow Actiontec’s featured Industry Articles or the Actiontec blog for more.

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