What Is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E is the designation for spectrum expansion into the 6-GHz radio-frequency band under the Wi-Fi 6/6E standard. This expansion is the biggest change in available spectrum for Wi-Fi since its inception. It creates new opportunities for use cases in high-performance connectivity.

What's the difference between Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 6?

Unlike Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E is not a standard. It is an extension of the Wi-Fi 6 standard into the 6-GHz spectrum that brings faster speeds, lower latency, and more security to the network.

What are the main benefits of Wi-Fi 6E?

  • Higher capacity: The additional spectrum of Wi-Fi 6E offers more non-overlapping channels. It can support a dense IT and Internet of Things (IoT) environment with no degradation in performance.
  • Less interference: One of the biggest advantages is that by using the 6-GHz band, Wi-Fi 6E devices won't share spectrum with Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) or Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) devices. Wi-Fi 6E will improve efficiency and performance, since all Wi-Fi 6E devices use highly efficient Wi-Fi 6 radios and won't be slowed down by older devices operating at lower data rates.
  • Higher throughput: Another advantage is that Wi-Fi 6 at 6 GHz supports more channels that are 80 MHz and 160 MHz wide. This will mean that users can send and receive at the highest possible speeds in these wider channels. One result: enhanced performance for high-bandwidth applications, such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and real-time immersive gaming.

What are the use cases for Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E will enable more innovative use cases, such as the following:

  • A wide spectrum can help to solve capacity problems at large and congested venues, like concert halls and stadiums.
  • Large contiguous blocks of spectrum allow for high throughput and concurrent data transmission. This can mean better immersive experiences, such as in virtual learning.
  • High-frequency spectrum allows for ultra-low-latency and emerging data-intensive applications and services, such as telehealth. Wi-Fi 6E is able to provide reliable and consistent low-latency connectivity for critical applications, which can't afford data delays. 

A Wi-Fi 6E primer

The beginning

In April 2020, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced the opening of the 6-GHz band for Wi-Fi. The move allowed for 1200 MHz of spectrum, more than doubling the available Wi-Fi spectrum in the United States. 

Faster speeds

With the newly available spectrum, a key advantage is that no breaks or gaps exist in the frequency range for the entire 6-GHz band. This translates into much faster speeds.

More channels

The opening of the 6-GHz band means more channels to choose from. Currently, six 80-MHz channels exist in the United States and five in Europe. Zero 160-MHz channels exist. Once Wi-Fi 6E is available worldwide, there will be fourteen 80-MHz channels and seven 160-MHz channels.