Wi-Fi Alliance brings Wi-Fi 6 into 6 GHz

By Chantal Polsonetti

Category:
Company and Product News

Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world.  Wi-Fi 6E brings a common industry name for Wi-Fi users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 – including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates – extended into the 6 GHz band.  Wi-Fi 6E devices are expected to become available quickly following 6 GHz regulatory approvals, utilizing this additional spectrum capacity to deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses and economies.

Wi-Fi is ready to utilize 6 GHz spectrum as it becomes available around the world.  Wi-Fi Alliance continues to support international advocacy efforts to make this additional spectrum available to Wi-Fi users, while also protecting existing devices in the band.  Wi-Fi has been recognized as a foundational technology for the Internet of Things, a necessary complement to delivering 5G, an important tool bringing communication networks to underserved areas, and a strong contributor to global economies. 6 GHz is well suited to facilitate Wi-Fi’s continued growth in these areas due to its adjacency to 5 GHz where Wi-Fi already operates, greater availability of wider channel sizes, and accessibility to clear spectrum with less interference from legacy Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 devices. 

Once 6 GHz is made available by regulators, analysts predict the first Wi-Fi devices to use the band will include Wi-Fi 6E consumer access points and smartphones, followed by enterprise-grade access points. Industrial environments are also expected to see strong adoption from Wi-Fi 6E to deliver applications including machine analytics, remote maintenance, or virtual employee training.  Wi-Fi 6E will utilize 6 GHz to deliver much anticipated augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) use cases for consumer, enterprise, and industrial environments.

6 GHz addresses Wi-Fi spectrum shortage by providing contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels, which are needed for high-bandwidth applications that require faster data throughput, such as high-definition video streaming and virtual reality.  Wi-Fi 6E devices will leverage wider channels and additional capacity to deliver greater network performance and support more Wi-Fi users at once, even in very dense and congested environments.  Wi-Fi Alliance is working on the development of interoperability testing for Wi-Fi 6E that will deliver benefits to Wi-Fi users once the spectrum is available.

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