Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 802.11ax is the latest Wi-Fi standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance. The new standard supports transfer speeds of up to 9.6Gbps, which is more than double the maximum speed supported by Wi-Fi 5 (3.5Gbps). But since Wi-Fi 6 still broadcasts over the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands, it suffers from some of the same spectrum congestion issues that plagued older generations. In a bid to address this issue, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to open up 1200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. As a result, upcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that support 6GHz operation will be labeled as Wi-Fi 6E certified, according to a recent report from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
As reported by The Verge, the new Wi-Fi 6E standard marks the biggest spectrum addition since the FCC first cleared the way for Wi-Fi back in 1989. It quadruples the amount of space available for Wi-Fi devices, which is expected to significantly improve performance due to the increased bandwidth and lesser interference with other devices. The report further adds that the new spectrum has enough room for seven max-capacity Wi-Fi streams to broadcast simultaneously and not interfere with each other. In contrast, Wi-Fi currently operations with approximately 400MHz of spectrum with all available channels split in the limited space.
While Wi-Fi 6E still has the same theoretical top speed as Wi-Fi 6, the additional spectrum allocation is expected to improve real-world performance when compared to 5GHz Wi-Fi. This is due to the fact that Wi-Fi signals at 5GHz are often not as large as they could be because of the limited spectrum availability. With Wi-Fi 6E, it’s assumed that routers will be able to broadcast at the current maximum allowable channel size, resulting in a faster connection. This could also help Wi-Fi connections to smartphones achieve speeds of up to 2Gbps, which is as fast as millimeter-wave 5G.
According to Kevin Robinson, marketing leader for the Wi-Fi Alliance, the first wave of Wi-Fi 6E devices will hit the market towards the end of 2020. However, large scale deployment will kick off in early 2021 after the Wi-Fi Alliance begins offering certification programs for Wi-Fi 6E devices. Several chip manufacturers, including Broadcom, Qualcomm, and Intel have already started working towards adopting the new standard, with major router manufacturers like Linksys and Netgear also on board.
Via: The Verge
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