What is Wi-Fi 6E?
Wi-Fi 6E is Wi-Fi 6 extended to the 6GHz band which is soon to be released by the regulators.
The “6” in “Wi-Fi 6E” refers to the “6th generation” of Wi-Fi technology.
The “E” refers to the latest extension of the standard that uses a new frequency band which gives it huge advantages due to the extra spectrum and wider channels.
Operating Wi-Fi in the 6GHz band is expected to double the effective throughputs, since it includes multiple 160MHz channels, compared to the practical 80MHz channels in 5GHz and 20MHz channels in 2.4GHz bands.
Wi-Fi 6E offers additional channels that do not overlap with each other, helping to reduce congestion, particularly in areas where lots of networks are operating.
What’s That Got to Do With Coronavirus?
The other day, I was meeting my colleague Ronen on Zoom, working from home as the majority of the people in the world are doing right now. We were experiencing a really bad connection, and Ronen apologized to me, saying it was because one of his kids is streaming a movie, while the other was playing an online tournament on his Xbox.
The situation in my home was not much better. It even led me to start booking my most important meetings at times of day (early morning) when I know there’s no chance that my teenage kids will be awake.
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As the Coronavirus continues to sprawl globally and impact our lives in ways we could have never imagined, people are realizing the incredible reliance and dependency we have on our home networks and the quality of its connection, even for the most basic of functions. Our current networks won’t hold against the current network usage growth required to keep up with what is an inevitable trend of more people working remotely, and having to try and compete with their kids and neighbors for bandwidth.
What’s Planned for 6GHz Band Allocation?
Wi-Fi 6E will utilize the 6GHz frequencies as they will be released by regulators. The expected allocations for FCC and EU are as seen in the below diagram:
Total capacity of the Wi-Fi network will increase with the European allocation of 6GHz band by extra 120 - 150%, and in the countries adopting the US standard by a lot more than that - allowing for 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels.
ElasticMIMO - Celeno's CMO explains all you need to know
How will Wi-Fi 6E impact networks?
With the increased capacity in the 6GHz band, users will be able to effectively utilize the availability of additional channels for adapting advanced Wi-Fi products that will support the growing bandwidth consumption in households. Such solutions can simultaneously support multiple bands for various network implementations.
A Tri-Band product can utilize the multi-band spectrum, allowing telecommuters and remote teams to use the 6GHz band without competing with their kids on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. Mesh Tri-band products will benefit from a dedicated, high throughput backhaul link, utilizing the 6GHz band and taking advantage of available 160MHz channels while supporting seamless service to client devices on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.
The combination of the above with the fact that the new band more than doubles the throughput, and that this band will be far ‘cleaner’ of interference from around the house, will put Wi-Fi networks on a whole new level of capacity and performance.
The Potential Power of Coronavirus Over the Regulators
Regulators such as FCC, EU (ETSI) and Ofcom (the UK regulator) are government bodies appointed by and working for politicians that care a lot about public opinion, and about showing the world that they are doing everything in their power to prepare their countries for crises.
I believe now more than ever we will see a significant push from the public towards regulators calling for the release of more spectrum to expand the networks’ capacity. We’re all hoping that this will speed up the formal release of the 6GHz band. Before the Coronavirus pandemic happened, we believed that the standards and regulations would be ready for commercialization by early 2021… But with the current situation we are all faced with, we’d like to encourage regulators to act on their good intentions and not delay their plans for making 6E a reality.