The new Wi-Fi 6E standard. What are the differences from its predecessor

Wi-Fi technology is evolving very quickly. It would seem that the Wi-Fi 6 standard was recently introduced, and manufacturers have just begun to equip their devices with appropriate modules. But progress does not stand still – version 6E has already appeared. Let’s see how it differs from the usual “six”.

History of origin
The number of devices using Wi-Fi has skyrocketed in recent years. Requirements for the volume of transmitted information are also growing, the pandemic has made its contribution. Channels on the 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands are gradually becoming congested.

The graph of the congestion of the Wi-Fi network of an apartment building

In this regard, it became necessary to expand the bandwidth of networks. The Wi-Fi Alliance tried to solve this problem by adding a new frequency range. In April 2020, the use of frequencies from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz was approved by the FCC. Serial production of devices supporting a new wireless access standard called Wi-Fi 6E began.

Certified devices are marked with a logo

Differences from its predecessor: why not Wi-Fi 7?
The new standard has the same designation, but with the letter “E” at the end. It means “Extended” (translated as “extended”). The index in both cases is IEEE 802.11ax.

Regular Wi-Fi 6 can only work in two radio frequency bands: 2.4 and 5 GHz. In the second case, the frequency band from 5.18 to 5.825 GHz is 500 MHz wide (including two small unused portions). Read more about it in the specialized material .
Wi-Fi 6E adds a new band ranging from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz. The additional 1200 MHz provides seven 160 MHz channels, or 14 80 MHz channels, or 29 or 59 channels, 40 and 20 MHz wide, respectively. Thus, their number has more than doubled compared to the previous standard.

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Comparison of the number of channels and frequency ranges of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards

From a technical point of view, the 6 GHz frequency was not chosen by chance. The range from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz lies outside the boundaries of the previous standard, but adjoins it, literally expanding. Provides an acceptable compromise between the maximum frequency and the range of the Wi-Fi network, which decreases with increasing frequency.

Initially, the 6 GHz radio band was planned to be used in regular Wi-Fi 6. But in 2018, when the new standard was in its final stages of development, the FCC did not issue an approval to use this band. It was received only in 2020, and the new frequency band had to be added already “in pursuit” to the approved standard.

In Russia, permission to use this range has not yet been received – the 6 GHz frequency is actively used by the military for radio communications. The availability of devices with Wi-Fi 6E support is still in question.

Keenetic Giga Wi-Fi routerAdvantages and disadvantages of the new frequency
The use of seven high-speed (broadband) channels versus two in the previous standard significantly expands the possibilities. The number of simultaneously connected devices increases, while the bandwidth in each case remains maximum.

However, due to the use of a higher radio frequency, Wi-Fi signal attenuation increases in various environments, especially in dense obstacles. In simple terms, the signal passes through walls and floors worse.

There are very few devices now that even support regular Wi-Fi 6 – not to mention 6E, the prospects for which are still vague. The use of the new frequency, besides the USA, is approved only in a few European countries.

Why W-iFi 6E comes in handy
The first devices to use the new standard will be consumer segment devices: routers, phones, laptops, TVs and others.

Already, Wi-Fi 6E is supported, for example, by the flagship smartphone Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and some MSI laptop models . As mentioned above, only regular Wi-Fi 6 is still available in the Russian Federation. Most likely, the 6 GHz frequency is disabled by the manufacturers by software.

Wi-Fi роутер ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Later, the new standard will find application in public and industrial areas. The 6E will show itself in the best way in shopping centers, train stations, airports, stadiums, offices and other crowded places where it is necessary to simultaneously provide traffic to a large number of subscribers.

In enterprises with a large number of modern machine tools, robotic assembly equipment, control and monitoring devices for their operation, the Wi-Fi 6E standard will ensure uninterrupted data transmission with minimal delays.