Wi-Fi 6E: What Is It and What Are Its Advantages?

In this post, we’ll explain 6GHz Wi-Fi is, break down its new features compared to previous standards, and talk about its availability.

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Let’s explore Wi-Fi 6E, also known as 6 GHz Wi-Fi, which is an incremental improvement over Wi-Fi 6. It enhances the previous standard by increasing speed and providing a more reliable connection, especially in environments with numerous networks or devices causing interference.

In this post, we’ll explain all this simply, focusing on general concepts rather than technical details. In short, we’ll outline Wi-Fi 6E and its impact.

What Is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E is the latest generation of Wi-Fi connections until the arrival of Wi-Fi 7. It’s an evolution of Wi-Fi 6, which was approved in 2019 and started being implemented in 2020. Rather than giving it a new number, officials simply added a letter to the previous version.

Since 2018, each new Wi-Fi version has usually been assigned a different number to help less knowledgeable users differentiate between them. There’s been Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 (previously known as Wi-Fi n and Wi-Fi ac), both of which used 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Wi-Fi 6, on the other hand, utilizes both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands simultaneously to provide the best coverage of one band and the highest speed of the other. It also features increased maximum speed and a 4-fold increase in the average throughput of connections per user, especially beneficial in high-density scenarios.

After Wi-Fi 6 came Wi-Fi 6E, which introduced the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi 6. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as 6 GHz Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6E includes an additional 1.2 GHz, covering up to 7.125 GHz compared to Wi-Fi 6, which ended at 5.925 GHz.

Wi-Fi 7 has also already been introduced, but that's a concept for another time.

What’s New With Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E

From a technical standpoint, the main change is the addition of 1.2 GHz to the available spectrum. This expansion allows Wi-Fi to reach up to 7.125 GHz, effectively covering the entire 6 GHz spectrum. As a result, in addition to Wi-Fi 6E, some people refer to this new standard as 6 GHz WiFi.

In some cases, you can gain an extra 14 channels of 80 MHz or 7 channels of 160 MHz, depending on how the router handles your connection. For now, only 2 channels of 160 MHz can be set up. These wider channels can help reduce congestion and ensure that connectivity isn’t compromised even when there are multiple connections from various devices.

We’re not referring to Internet speed. If you’ve experienced Wi-Fi issues where your connection suddenly starts working poorly, it could be due to congestion in the spectrum you’re using. This congestion occurs when too many devices use the same spectrum, even if they’re not in your house. If there are several other Wi-Fi connections operating near your location, and if all of them use the same frequencies, there may not be enough space for them. In such cases, you may need to switch to a different channel.

Wi-Fi 6E can help address the issue of limited bandwidth in routers. This technology provides a wider and less crowded bandwidth, eliminating the problem of overlapping signals found in current channels. The new spectrum allows for up to seven simultaneous Wi-Fi transmissions at maximum capacity without interfering with each other or using the previously available spectrum.

Furthermore, with more channels available in the most efficient bands for transmitting large data volumes, Wi-Fi 6E offers a higher peak speed, theoretically increasing by 30%.

However, the trade-off is that the signal may struggle to pass through walls, meaning that users might experience a greater loss of speed when moving away from the router or placing it in a remote area of the house.

This trend has been consistent across Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 4 offered slower speeds but a longer range than Wi-Fi 5. Similarly, Wi-Fi 6 brought higher speed at the expense of a shorter range. Moving to the 6 GHz frequency and achieving a new speed boost also results in a shorter range.

In any case, Wi-Fi 6E can still utilize the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, so if needed, it can provide additional coverage, although at a lower speed. This standard offers more possibilities and advantages for connections, which is especially beneficial for devices near your router.

Additionally, new multiplexing methods have been implemented, enhancing the distribution of signals with technologies such as MU-MIMO, which enables information to be transmitted to multiple clients simultaneously, and OFDMA, which improves transmission by allowing it to be divided into different frequencies within the same channel. Ultimately, these improvements make the connection more versatile and usable.

Where’s Wi-Fi 6E Available?

The 6 GHz band began to open up a few years ago in the U.S., and routers and devices compatible with this technology are already available for purchase. While not as common as other types, the latest router and device models should already be compatible.

When deciding on which device to buy, remember that a newer router model will likely be pricier than an older one. However, with standards like Wi-Fi 6E, you can be sure that it'll likely last you a long time.

Related | Wi-Fi 7: What is It, What is It for and All the New Wi-Fi Standard Features

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