Well, it’s finally happened! Wireless LANs can easily exceed the speed and bandwidth of the internet pipes coming into the building that supplies them. What does that mean? Now is the time to upgrade structured wiring to fiber and devices compatible with the latest Wi-Fi standard: Wi-Fi 6E.
Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and iPhone 13
Officially released in late 2019, only a handful of routers and devices offered Wi-Fi 6 compatibility in 2020. Then, that same year, the Federal Communications Commission announced it would open up the spectrum in the 6GHz band, paving the way for Wi-Fi 6E, which is significantly faster.
Throughout 2021 the list of devices and routers offering Wi-Fi 6 compatibility has grown considerably. Perhaps 13 is a lucky number for Apple as the big game changer in all this hit the market last month when Apple released iPhone 13, which not only supports Wi-Fi 6, but Wi-Fi 6E.
What’s the big deal with Wi-Fi 6E?
When compared with its 802.11ac precursor, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) offers significantly higher throughput speeds of up to 10Gbps, as well as significant decreases in network congestion—all of which we’ve covered in previous posts.
Back then, that alone was enough reason to get excited about the gradual adoption of Wi-Fi 6 into more devices, businesses, and homes. But Wi-Fi 6E takes it all much further.
Wi-Fi 6E does everything Wi-Fi 6 does but uses the 6GHz band. It’s finally free of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, which reduces congestion and makes it ideal for busy public areas, or areas with close-range connections in which devices are exchanging huge amounts of data.
Why is it Wi-Fi 6E time now?
With the release of Apple’s iPhone 13, Wi-Fi 6E has its own killer wireless device.
Even with a global supply chain crisis and electronic chip shortage, iPhone 13 sales accounted for 16% of Apple’s Q3 sales just two days into the quarter. And a recent report from Wedbush analysts predicts there are 250 million iPhone customers ready to upgrade this cycle, potentially to iPhone 13.
It’s no secret that new and emerging technology standards are driven by consumer adoption of compatible hardware or software. And for Wi-Fi 6E, that could very well be the iPhone 13.
B2B and B2C expectations for Wi-Fi 6E
For integrators and broadband installers, this means shifting expectations from both B2B and B2C customers.
In the home, people will want to tap into the higher speeds and bandwidth available with devices like iPhone 13. For that, they’ll need Wi-Fi 6 and 6E compatible routers, as well as high-speed internet like fiber. In many cases, this might also mean proposing some structured wiring solutions to bring Ethernet and Wi-Fi access points to more areas of the home.
Businesses, meanwhile, will also want to tap into the higher speeds and bandwidth promised with new devices. This will be especially true for businesses that cater to the public, such as the hospitality industry.
Broadband customers expect their providers to ensure they have optimized bandwidth. As more of those customers become aware of the Wi-Fi 6E potential sitting in their iPhone 13 or other everyday devices, they’ll be looking to integrators and installers to help—not just with Wi-Fi 6E routers, but also with the right combination of fiber optic internet, structured wiring, media panels, and wireless mesh networks.