Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E is a new extension to the Wi-Fi 6 standard ratified unanimously by the FCC in April of 2020 which opens up unused spectrum in the 6 GHz band. This new spectrum is unused and added to both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. The biggest changes with 6E devices is to the distance and network speeds this protocol has on devices using the 6 GHz band. To understand Wi-0Fi 6E and its three bands (2.4, 5, and 6 GHz), CNet provides a great analogy. CNet says to think about a Gallon of milk. 2.4 GHz is a pin hole while 5 Ghz is like a pencil hole.  More milk (data) flows out the pencil hole than the pin hole, but the pin hole sprays that data a lot farther (range is better on 2.4Ghz).

You can think of those two holes as the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. With a frequency range of just 70MHz, the 2.4GHz band is the narrower of the two. Like the needle-poked hole shooting milk across your kitchen, it can send data at a reasonable distance, but with such a small opening, there’s a limit to how much it can send. With 500MHz of bandwidth, the 5GHz band represents a bigger hole in the milk carton. It can pass more data at once — but it can’t send it quite as far. That brings us to Wi-Fi 6E’s 6GHz band and its 1,200MHz of additional bandwidth. It’s like you’ve punched a hole in the milk carton the size of a quarter. Tons of milk comes gushing out, but it gushes downward and doesn’t travel very far at all.

This is why Wi-Fi 6E/6GHz bandwidth is best for close-range connections. It will have many strong applications for devices that are working together within the same room, the same section of a football stadium or a concession stand. Two devices in the same room can send enormous quantities of data back and forth with the full efficiency of Wi-Fi 6.

Source: CNET

Additional Reading: The New & Improved Wi-Fi Standard: Wi-Fi 6

Related Terms: Bandwidth, Quality of Service (QoS)

What does this mean for an SMB?

Similar to Wi-Fi 6 discussed in our recent blog article, Wi-Fi 6E is probably not going to make you go out immediately to replace your Wi-Fi routers if what you have is working.  To take full advantage of the 6 GHz band available in Wi-Fi 6E, you’ll need Wi-Fi 6E equipped devices with a new chipset that can talk on the 6GHz band. Regular Wi-Fi 6 devices already on the market today don’t have those chipsets. However, if you do decide to go with 6E, your older Wi-Fi gadgets will still work with 6E routers because Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are fully backward-compatible with earlier versions of Wi-Fi. They just won’t be able to operate in that exclusive 6GHz bandwidth

To learn more about Wi-Fi 6E, watch this short three minute video:

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