Wi-Fi 6 Isn’t 6 GHz Wi-Fi

Jul 22, 2020Blog

Wi-Fi 6 and 6 GHz are different. But a lot of the information and terms surrounding them may sound the same.


What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the newest generation of Wi-Fi. It offers:

  • Faster speeds
  • Stronger connection
  • Better traffic control at home and in public spaces
  • Higher data rates
  • Better 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum performance
  • Increase in multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO)
  • One wireless router to support more antennas to connect to more devices.


What is 6 GHz?

Above, you can see that Wi-Fi 6 offers better spectrum support. But it only supports the frequency channels 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

6 GHz is a third frequency channel on the spectrum.  6 GHz offers higher throughput and lower latency than we have experienced with 2.4GHz and even 5GHz. What this means is better Wi-Fi overall. With access to a third frequency channel like 6GHz, we could see reduced Wi-Fi signal overlaps and congestion. This translates to better gaming experiences, better smartphones, AR/VR devices and wearables.

Frequency is a measure in Gigahertz (GHz). In other words, the frequency (speed) at which Wi-Fi sends and receives data. The higher the number, the fast the process.

That’s why 6 GHz offers faster, less congested, better Wi-Fi. Which is why access to 6 GHz is such a big deal. Better internet? Who wouldn’t want it?

While Wi-Fi 6 does not support 6 GHz, Wi-Fi 6E does.


What is Wi-Fi 6E?

The “E” in Wi-Fi 6E stands for “extension” or “extended.” Wi-Fi 6E literally means “Wi-Fi 6 Extension” and is a result of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granting access to the 6GHz frequency band for anybody to use. Other than the naming convention, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E are not that different. The only real difference is the spectrum support:

  • Wi-Fi 6 supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
  • Wi-Fi 6E supports 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6GHz (great for reducing lag for gaming).

Not all Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices will support 6 GHz, though. You will need to get devices marked with “Wi-Fi 6E” to experience 6 GHz benefits.

Essentially, what you need to know if that because Wi-Fi is wireless internet it uses radio frequency to connect our devices. In the past, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz were the two frequencies used, but now 6 GHz open for Wi-Fi to “travel” through.

Have other Wi-Fi 6 questions? Here’s our Complete Guide to Wi-Fi 6. Check out Actiontec’s blog for more.

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