Broadband services began to see overwhelming numbers since the start of the pandemic, causing internet speeds to plummet. This caused millions of users to see delays as lives shifted online. A new generation of Wi-Fi plans to change that. Last year, the FCC approved Wi-Fi 6, which is a variety of technical improvements that work to make a single network more efficient. From there, Wi-Fi 6E was introduced. Wi-Fi 6E takes those improvements and expands the internet connection to an entirely new spectrum.
The focal point of both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E will be efficiency over speed, working to ensure that all of your connected devices will receive an equal bandwidth at the same time. For consumers with numerous devices in the home or for those who reside in largely populated areas, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E work to clear up capacity issues and enhance your network’s wireless performance.
US households have an average of nine Wi-Fi connected devices at one time. Current Wi-Fi 5 routers could get overwhelmed or allow one device to receive more bandwidth, causing lagging and slower speeds on other devices. Wi-Fi 6 routers work to prevent this and to provide each connected device with equal streaming, within the same spectrum. This, in turn, makes it easier for each device to maintain their current top speed even when in a highly connected area.
Wi-Fi 6E takes this efficiency to a new spectrum. Current Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6, is only capable of operating on the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz spectrums, whereas Wi-Fi 6E is on 6Ghz. If you’re looking for faster internet speed among a multitude of devices, this is where you’ll find it. As the largest expansion to the spectrum since 1989, Wi-Fi 6E quadruples the number of airwaves available for smart devices and routers to access. This allows for faster gigabit speeds and prevents lagging even more so than Wi-Fi 6. The only con: 6Ghz uses shorter wavelengths, meaning longer distances, or multiple walls, between the user and router may obstruct the connection speed.
Accessing either Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E will obviously mean purchasing new routers. For Wi-Fi 6E, it will also mean new compatible devices. Experts expect Wi-Fi 6E to be a bigger trend next year, as more compatible smartphones and devices become available throughout this year. Wi-Fi 6 routers are currently more accessible, and definitely more affordable, than Wi-Fi 6E routers. In addition, most current smart devices, released in the last two years, are already Wi-Fi 6 compatible.
Current Wi-Fi 6 routers include the Netgear Nighthawk AX8, the TP-Link Archer AX6000, the Asus ZenWifi AX, and several more. The first three Wi-Fi 6E routers, that have been released are the Linksys AXE8400, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, and the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000. The Asus is said to be the “World’s First Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Router”. Many other companies are introducing their own Wi-Fi 6E routers, but with no current release dates.
Consumers can expect 6E capabilities on nearly all new smart devices this year. Samsung kicked things off with the “World’s First Wi-Fi 6E Phone” in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. MSI’s GE76 is on track to be the first 6E laptop, with the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi Card built in. Intel’s AX210 Wi-Fi Card is also available to consumers, as is, allowing users to upgrade their current laptops and desktop computers into Wi-Fi 6E compatible devices. Consumers can expect a multitude of Wi-Fi 6E devices to be released this year, from phones to AR headsets.
For people’s work and hobbies alike, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E has arrived to make online life easier, smoother, and faster. If you are struggling with internet connections, or just looking for faster streaming, it may be time to upgrade your router. As quickly as Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are moving in, it may just be a stepping stone as some experts say Wi-Fi 7 may also be on it’s way.