Wi-Fi 6E Supports Use of Wi-Fi 6 Technology in the 6 GHz Band

Wi-Fi Alliance, the global body responsible for Wi-Fi standards and technologies, has introduced a new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation. The 6 GHz band is an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world.

The new terminology, Wi-Fi 6E, will bring a common industry name for Wi-Fi users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 – including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates – extended into the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E devices are expected to become available quickly following 6 GHz regulatory approvals, utilizing this additional spectrum capacity to deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses and economies.

Wi-Fi is ready to utilize 6 GHz spectrum as it becomes available around the world. The Wi-Fi Alliance continues to support international advocacy efforts to make this additional spectrum available to Wi-Fi users, while also protecting existing devices in the band. Wi-Fi has been recognized as a foundational technology for the Internet of Things, a necessary complement to delivering 5G, an important tool bringing communication networks to underserved areas, and a strong contributor to global economies.

6 GHz is well suited to facilitate Wi-Fi’s continued growth in these areas due to its adjacency to 5 GHz where Wi-Fi already operates, greater availability of wider channel sizes, and accessibility to clear spectrum with less interference from legacy Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 devices. According to market analysts at IDC, if the regulatory landscape permits, companies will move forward aggressively with products that operate in 6 GHz because they understand the tremendous value brought to their customers by this portion of unlicensed spectrum.

Once 6 GHz is made available by regulators, analysts predict the first Wi-Fi devices to use the band will include Wi-Fi 6E consumer access points and smartphones, followed by enterprise-grade access points. Industrial environments are also expected to see strong adoption from Wi-Fi 6E to deliver applications including machine analytics, remote maintenance, or virtual employee training. Wi-Fi 6E will utilize 6 GHz to deliver much anticipated augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) use cases for consumer, enterprise, and industrial environments.

According to Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, 6 GHz will help address the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices. Wi-Fi Alliance is thus introducing Wi-Fi 6E now to ensure the industry aligns on common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support 6 GHz operation as the spectrum becomes available.

The 6 GHz band addresses Wi-Fi spectrum shortage by providing contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels which are needed for high-bandwidth applications that require faster data throughput such as high-definition video streaming and virtual reality. Wi-Fi 6E devices will leverage wider channels and additional capacity to deliver greater network performance and support more Wi-Fi users at once, even in very dense and congested environments. Wi-Fi Alliance is working on the development of interoperability testing for Wi-Fi 6E that will deliver benefits to Wi-Fi users once the spectrum is available.

Leading Wi-Fi Alliance Members Support for 6 GHz

According to leading RF and semiconductor solutions company, Broadcom, the 6 GHz band will perhaps be the most disruptive boon for Wi-Fi users in the last twenty years. This swath of spectrum, when coupled with Wi-Fi, will power new consumer experiences on smartphones, AR/VR devices and wearables we haven't even yet invented. The Wi-Fi 6E brand for 6 GHz Wi-Fi will let consumers know that their Wi-Fi experience is about to get even better. The company is excited about the wireless future with Wi-Fi 6E, and applauds the industry for coming up with a simple, elegant brand that amplifies the immediate possibilities with 6 GHz for Wi-Fi lovers everywhere.

Leading smart connectivity solutions expert, NXP Semiconductors, believes Wi-Fi 6E opens up to 1.2 GHz of additional spectrum to the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, ensuring continued innovation and support for the ultra-high performance connectivity needed of today’s home, enterprise, and automotive markets. Marvell, now NXP, was among the first companies to be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6, and NXP continues to play a leading role in helping Wi-Fi Alliance innovate and drive the adoption of powerful new technologies like Wi-Fi 6E.

Qualcomm has also announced support for the continued evolution of technologies for unlicensed spectrum to deliver powerful, next-generation connected experiences at scale and across diverse product categories worldwide. According to the company, the ground-breaking potential of extending the already transformative characteristics of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz band is hard to overstate, and it thus applauds Wi-Fi Alliance’s leadership in unleashing a new era of high speed, low latency Wi-Fi 6 experiences for the 6 GHz band.