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If you follow along to any of today’s current tech news, you may have heard about some newer versions of WiFi, including WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E. If you are asking things like “What is WiFi 6E?” and “Do I need WiFi 6E?” then you are in the right place!
WiFi 6E isn’t just a slight upgrade over the older versions of WiFi; it’s a significant leap forward, with potential to redefine our experience with wireless networks. This new standard extends the capabilities of WiFi 6 by offering faster speeds, greater capacity, and lower latency. In this article, we’ll dive into five crucial facts about WiFi 6E, shedding light on what sets it apart and why it matters to you, whether you’re streaming your favorite show, gaming online, or managing a network of smart home devices. Understanding WiFi 6E is essential as we navigate the increasingly connected world we live in, and here’s everything you need to know to stay ahead in this wireless revolution.
1] What is WiFi 6E?
WiFi 6E (otherwise known as IEEE 802.11ax) represents the latest chapter in WiFi technology, building upon the foundation laid by its predecessors. But what exactly is WiFi 6E, and how does it differ from the WiFi standards we’re accustomed to?
At its core, WiFi 6E is an extension of WiFi 6, the sixth generation of WiFi technology. While WiFi 6 brought significant improvements in speed and efficiency, WiFi 6E takes it a step further by expanding into a newly opened frequency band. This new band operates in the 6 GHz spectrum, a significant departure from the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands used by earlier WiFi versions.
The introduction of this 6 GHz band is what primarily sets WiFi 6E apart. By tapping into this spectrum, WiFi 6E avoids the congestion often found in the existing bands, where many devices and networks fight for space. This congestion is a common source of network interference and reduced speeds, problems that WiFi 6E navigates around.
WiFi 6E also maintains all the core enhancements of WiFi 6, such as Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), Target Wake Time (TWT), and 1024-QAM. These features contribute to improved network efficiency, reduced latency, and higher data rates, all while handling multiple devices more effectively.
Essentially, WiFi 6E is like having an exclusive highway for your data, bypassing the traffic and congestion of the older bands. It’s a step-up that promises not only faster and more reliable connections but also a glimpse into the future of wireless networking where more bandwidth and less interference are the norms.
Lets dive into 5 important qualities of WiFi 6E.
2] Key Features of WiFi 6E
There are several key differences between WiFi 6E and its predecessors:
Enhanced Speed and Performance: WiFi 6E can achieve higher data rates compared to previous WiFi generations. This increase in speed is partly due to the wider channels (up to 160 MHz) available in the 6 GHz band, allowing more data to be transmitted simultaneously. This makes WiFi 6E ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications like 4K/8K video streaming and virtual reality.
Increased Bandwidth and Reduced Interference: One of the most significant benefits of WiFi 6E is its operation in the 6 GHz frequency band. This band is less crowded than the traditional 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, meaning less interference and more reliable connections. The 6 GHz band offers more non-overlapping channels, which is crucial in dense environments with many WiFi networks, such as apartment buildings or office complexes.
Improved Capacity for More Devices: WiFi 6E continues the use of technologies like MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) from WiFi 6. These technologies allow the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, significantly improving network efficiency and capacity. This is particularly important in smart homes and offices where the number of connected devices is continuously growing.
These features of WiFi 6E come together to create a more robust and efficient wireless networking experience. They address many of the limitations of previous WiFi generations, particularly in areas of speed, capacity, and interference, paving the way for a more connected and seamless digital world.
3] Benefits of WiFi 6E for Home and Business Users
The advent of WiFi 6E is not just a technical upgrade; it brings tangible benefits to both home and business users. Here’s how different users can leverage the capabilities of WiFi 6E:
Enhanced Connectivity in High-Demand Environments: For homes with numerous connected devices, WiFi 6E ensures that each device maintains a strong, consistent connection. This is crucial for families using multiple streaming services, smart home devices, and online gaming platforms simultaneously.
Better Performance for Streaming, Gaming, and IoT Devices: The increased speed and reduced latency provided by WiFi 6E make it ideal for streaming high-definition content, participating in competitive online gaming, and ensuring seamless operation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These activities, which require a stable and fast internet connection, are significantly enhanced with WiFi 6E.
Implications for Businesses and Work-From-Home Setups: For businesses, WiFi 6E can transform the workplace by supporting a higher density of devices with reliable connectivity. This is particularly beneficial in environments like offices, conference centers, and co-working spaces. Additionally, as remote work becomes more prevalent, WiFi 6E can greatly improve home office setups, providing employees with a more reliable and efficient network, similar to what they would experience in a traditional office environment.
Overall WiFi 6E’s superior capabilities in handling high bandwidth, numerous devices, and varied applications make it a significant upgrade for both home and business users, aligning with the growing demand for more robust and versatile wireless networks.
4] Considerations Before Upgrading to WiFi 6E
While the benefits of WiFi 6E are clear, there are several considerations to keep in mind before upgrading:
Compatibility with Existing Devices: One of the first things to consider is whether your current devices are compatible with WiFi 6E. Many older devices may not support the 6 GHz band, meaning they won’t benefit from the new technology. Upgrading may require investing in new devices.
Cost and Availability of WiFi 6E Routers: WiFi 6E routers are generally more expensive than their predecessors. It’s important to balance the cost against the potential benefits. Additionally, as a relatively new technology, WiFi 6E routers may not be as readily available in all markets.
Future-Proofing Your Network: Investing in WiFi 6E is a step towards future-proofing your network. As more devices become WiFi 6E compatible, having a router that supports the latest standard will ensure you’re prepared for upcoming technology trends.
But before you run out and invest in new equipment it should be noted that while upgrading to WiFi 6E offers significant advantages, it requires careful consideration of compatibility, cost, and future networking needs. Take some time before you make a decision and weigh your current and anticipated internet usage patterns and device capabilities.
5] There’s Always A Bigger Fish – WiFi 7
Progress in the development of faster, more efficient forms of WiFi never slows down. As this article is written (early 2024) the WiFi Alliance just announced a program to certify devices for WiFi 7. The final ratification of this program is not expected until the end of 2024 meaning it may take some time before you start to see WiFi 7 compatible devices ready for sale. WiFi 7 brings even higher maximum link rates and the capability to operate on the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz frequencies, allowing your devices to have even more opportunity to operate at their highest efficiencies.
If you are thinking about upgrading your WiFi devices, but don’t necessarily need the increase in speed today, you may want to consider waiting for WiFI 7 compatible equipment to come to the market. The release of newer technologies usually results in a decrease in price in its predecessor, so by the time WiFi 7 is widely commercially available, 6E products should be more affordable.
Bringing It Together
WiFi 6E marks a substantial step forward in wireless technology, offering enhanced speeds, reduced interference, and improved capacity for handling multiple devices. It opens up the 6 GHz band for consumer use, providing a less congested spectrum for more reliable and efficient wireless connections. This technology is particularly beneficial for high-demand environments, whether in homes with streaming and gaming activities or in businesses with extensive network needs.
The transition to WiFi 6E involves considerations like device compatibility, the cost of new equipment, and the readiness to embrace future technologies. As we look forward, WiFi technologies are continuing to improve at an impressive rate. If you are seeking faster network speeds or need room for more devices in your home or office setting, consider upgrading your equipment to WiFi 6E compatible equipment.
If you want to learn more about how best to get more out of your WiFi and home or office network, call us today! Our team is here to help you find internet services that best fit your needs.