Back in April, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open up a plot of spectrum in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. This is the same regulatory go-ahead that allows your router to broadcast over 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Basically, this means a lot more airwaves are open that routers can use which is good news for consumers.
If you’re a broadband installer or technician, your customers expect you to ensure they have all the bandwidth they need. As more people adopt smart home technology, demand for media panels, as well as wireless mesh networks, grows. But the technology that sends and receives that signal needs to be top of the line as well. We’re already seeing a growing demand for the latest advanced gateways.
What is Wi-Fi 6E?
In short, Wi-Fi 6E is Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) over the 6GHz range. It will work the same as 5GHz but the 6GHz band offers the advantage of non-overlapping channels. This helps reduce congestion, especially in areas where multiple networks are operating, such as transportation hubs, sports arenas and business complexes.
All of the devices using the 6GHz band would be Wi-Fi 6 devices. Devices using Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) wouldn’t be able to use the 6GHz band.
Wi-Fi 6E Will Require New Devices
There currently isn’t a specific timeline of when Wi-Fi 6E will be available worldwide but some tech companies have begun developing Wi-Fi 6E compatible devices in anticipation of the rollout.
Broadcom announced several system-on-a-chip products that router manufacturers can purchase to create Wi-Fi 6E-enabled access points while Intel announced that it will have Wi-Fi 6E chips available in January 2021.
Even though Wi-Fi 6E devices will be backwards compatible, you’ll need to be using devices that support it in order to use the 6GHz band.
There’s No Rush
Wi-Fi 6E has been made available only by the USA so far. It’s up to government regulators worldwide to open up the 6GHz band and there is no definite timeline when that will happen. Most manufacturers also haven’t announced when Wi-Fi 6E products will be readily available.
Wi-Fi 6 is still in its early stages and many devices don’t support it, let alone support Wi-Fi 6E. While there is plenty of interest and excitement around Wi-Fi 6E, there is no rush to be upgrading your clients routers. The future looks fast.