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What is Wi-Fi 6E ?

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Wi-Fi 6E Powering 'wireless-first' Access

In April 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the opening of the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses. This announcement is a good thing, and arguably one of the best things to happen in Wi-Fi since Wi-Fi 6 and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) came about. For some perspective on why this is such a milestone event for Wi-Fi, it should be noted that from its U.S. beginnings in 1985 all the way to the present, Wi-Fi has been granted a total of just 583 MHz of spectrum in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands combined. This spectrum accrual took place in multiple separate grants over the years. Wi-Fi has steadily grown in popularity and provides demonstrable economic benefit. Wi-Fi’s capabilities have also grown, and as a result, its use in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands has reach its limits.

In April 35 ,2020 years into this “experiment in unlicensed use,” a single announcement gave Wi-Fi 1200 MHz of spectrum, more than doubling the current Wi-Fi spectrum allocated in the U.S. The last time Wi-Fi technologies in the U.S. received spectrum from the FCC, it was granted as an experiment in coexistence to align the U.S. channel plans better with other regulatory bodies allowing operations in the U-NII2-c (extended) 5 GHz band. That grant, in 2003, made an additional 240 MHz of spectrum available to Wi-Fi in the U.S. Back then, access points and client devices both required new radios to be able to use this new frequency range. Access points were required to demonstrate an ability to detect and avoid the incumbent user in the band — fixed radar installations. This required implementing Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) to ensure that Wi-Fi safely accessed the channels without interfering with existing services.

Wi-Fi 6E didn’t just happen overnight, and the solutions it brings have all been studied and largely targeted to solve specific challenges. Wi-Fi has made many advances that have contributed to its growing success over the years. Much as Wi-Fi 6 was created to solve some of the issues inherent with Wi-Fi 1 through 5 operations, Wi-Fi 6E will now implement spectrum rules that favor better Wi-Fi operations. This is the first new spectrum granted for Wi-Fi in the U.S. since the 802.11a (Wi-Fi 3) days. The Wi-Fi 6E specification was designed and implemented to remove the spectrum obstacles that have prevented users from taking advantage of some of the coolest features in Wi-Fi (such as 80 and 160 MHz channels).

The big news, of course, is the 1200 MHz of spectrum between 5.925 GHz and 7.125 GHz, which is known collectively as the 6 GHz band. More subtly, though, an important distinction here is that this is “contiguous” spectrum. That means there are no breaks or gaps in the frequency range from beginning to end. Historically defined ranges for Wi-Fi operations have been added over time as spectrum became available and the need could be demonstrated. Desirable spectrum ranges that aren’t being used are hard to come by, but technologies do change or become obsolete over time. As this happens, spectrum ranges see fewer and fewer primary users, and some ranges eventually get reassigned to other uses. Spectrum is a precious resource, and as Wi-Fi has matured, so has the technology. DFS, for instance, was developed to allow a more cognitive coexistence between Wi-Fi and existing radar systems, allowing 240 MHz (U-NII2-c) to be added for Wi-Fi operations in 2003.

Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the standard in the delivery of Internet connectivity throughout many organizations, government agencies and businesses, and now Wi-Fi had been upgraded with the latest technology to revision 6E with taking advantage of the newly opened 6 GHz band, which is strictly limited to only 802.11ax-and-up devices. On top of that, this band brings with it an additional seven 160 MHz-wide channels (currently, there are about 4 with normal Wi-Fi) bringing a great deal of additional headroom to a network. Full duplex MU-MIMO that goes both ways with multiple devices communicating back to the access point (AP) allows for commands sent to multiple devices to be acknowledged simultaneously. This reduces latency across the board and ensures a more stable connection and smoother experience for the end user.

-Wikipedia

Beyond the Boundaries of WiFi 6

Simply put, WiFi 6E means WiFi 6 extended to the 6 GHz band. WiFi 6E works with the same standard as WiFi 6 but with an extended spectrum. 6 GHz is the new frequency band ranging from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz, allowing up to 1,200 MHz of additional spectrum. Unlike the existing bands on which channels are currently crammed into the limited spectrum, 6 GHz band exists without overlap or interference. Access to the 6 GHz frequency brings more bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency, opening up resources for future innovations like in AR/VR, 8K streaming and more.

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  • Minimized Congestion With Greenfield Spectrum
  • Unlike the crowded 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, the wide-open 6 GHz spectrum is occupied only by efficient WiFi 6 connections, removing frustrations currently caused by overcrowding on many WiFi networks. Channels on the newly opened 6 GHz band also wouldn’t overlap with each other, greatly reducing network congestion.
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  • Wider Lanes For Faster Speeds
  • WiFi 6E allows for 7 additional 160 MHz channels that double bandwidth and throughput, enabling many more simultaneous transmissions at the highest possible speeds. This translates to users enjoying 8K movies, AR/VR gaming, and large file downloads—all without buffering.
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  • Improved Capacity With More Spectrum
  • WiFi 6E offers up to 1,200 MHz of additional spectrum for 6 GHz WiFi, fulfilling the needs of ever-increasing WiFi usage. The 1.2 GHz of contiguous spectrum more than doubles the number of pathways currently available for sending and receiving data, dramatically increasing network capacity while reducing congestion

Wi-Fi 6E vs Wi-Fi 6

Inheriting all the new technologies of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E extends Wi-Fi networks from the conventional 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands to the new 6 GHz frequency band, ranging from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz.* This new spectrum range is open and clean, without overlapping channels or interference. As a result, Wi-Fi 6E provides wider frequency bands, more channels, and lower interference, achieving higher throughput, lower latency, and larger capacity. *The actual frequency bands used depend on local laws and regulations.

Source:

  • - https://e.huawei.com/en/products/enterprise-networking/wlan/wifi6-e
  • - https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/enterprise-networks/802-11ax-solution/nb-06-wi-fi-6e-wp-cte-en.html
  • - https://www.wi-fi.org/news-events/newsroom/wi-fi-alliance-brings-wi-fi-6-into-6-ghz
  • - https://www.tp-link.com/id/wifi-6e/
  • - https://www.commscope.com/solutions/enterprise-networks/wi-fi-6/
  • - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_6
  • - https://www.netgear.com/home/wifi/wifi6e/