Wi-Fi 6E refers to devices and wireless routers that support the new 6GHz band in addition to the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequency bands. It provides faster speeds, lower latency, and less network congestion compared to Wi-Fi 5 and older standards.
- Support for Additional 6GHz Band – This wide band can deliver data rates of up to 9.6Gbps, over 2x faster than Wi-Fi 5. Less interference from home devices with many more available channels. (check detailed description of each band below)
- Higher Data Speed – Supports maximum theoretical data rates of 9.6Gbps, over 2x faster than Wi-Fi 5. Actual speeds will be lesser depending on device capabilities, distance, obstacles etc. But overall improvement is significant.
- Lower Latency – The 6GHz band has significantly lower interference from other home devices. This results in lower latency and lag, especially helpful for online gaming, video calls etc requiring real-time connectivity. WiFi 6E has latencies <2-5ms expected.
- Backward Compatibility – WiFi 6E devices maintain compatibility with older 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. This allows them to connect with existing WiFi 5 and older devices and routers on your home network. A separate 6E capable router will be needed maximize 6GHz speeds in your network.
Frequency Bands Available for WiFi 6E Routers
- 2.4 GHz Band – Range of 2400–2483.5 MHz with 11 channels, bandwidth of 20/40 MHz, and data rates up to 600Mbps. Longest range with ability to penetrate walls, ideal for IoT devices. Vulnerable to interference from Bluetooth devices and microwaves.
- 5 GHz Band – Range of 5170-5825 MHz with upto 25 channels, bandwidth of 20/40/80/160MHz and data rates up to 2.4Gbps. Good range with higher speeds, suitable for most home & office devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. Possibility of interference from weather radars and military equipment.
- 6 GHz Band – Range of 5945-7125 MHz with 14 extra wide channels, each 160 MHz allowing 960Mbps per channel for a total of 9.6Gbps max data rate. Least interference & congestion leading to reliable, high throughput connectivity. Ideal for devices needing real-time response like VR headsets and gaming consoles.
Benefits of Upgrading your Home Network to WiFi 6E
Here are some benefits you can expect from getting new WiFi 6E compatible devices and routers at home:
- Faster local file transfers and internet speeds – WiFi 6E can deliver almost double the speeds of WiFi 5 resulting in better experience for downloading movies, transferring files over local network, video streaming, large file uploads/downloads to cloud etc.
- Lower latency while online gaming and video calling – Up to 90% improvement in latency while playing online multiplayer games, especially FPS titles. Lower lag and interruptions in video calls via various apps and platforms.
- Support for Next-Gen VR & AR experiences- The very low latency and high throughput provided by WiFi 6E will allow smooth operating of emerging VR/AR technologies like Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive Focus 3 etc. These need real-time rendering and two-way interaction for an immersive experience.
- Improved connectivity for Smart Home Devices – With increasing usage of IoT devices at home WiFi networks are getting overloaded. The 6GHz band inclusion will alleviate this while maintaining reliable connectivity for WiFi compatible security cameras, video doorbells, thermostats, lighting systems etc.
- Future-proofing WiFi infrastructure – WiFi 6E based routers and adapters will be relevant for many years ensuring support for next wave of advanced wireless devices and technologies. Provides easy upgrade path to WiFi 7 standard when available later.
What is needed for Wi-Fi 6E wireless network?
To deploy a WiFi 6E wireless network in your home, below are the essential components needed:
- WiFi 6E Router – This will transmit multiple WiFi signals – dual-band WiFi 5 ie 2.4Ghz/5Ghz for compatibility with existing client devices AND the new 6Ghz signal for WiFi 6E clients to deliver the very high speeds and low latency. Some examples: TP-Link Archer AXE200 Omni, ASUS RT-AXE86U, Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 etc.
- WiFi 6E Adapter – A separate WiFi adapter supporting the 6GHz band will need to be installed on desktop PCs/laptops via PCIe/USB to get the full benefit of the WiFi 6E router’s capabilities. WiFi 6E compatible hardware is needed on the client side too. Examples include Netgear AXE11000, TP-Link Archer TX50E as well as built-in 6E in latest models of smartphones like iPhone 14 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S22 etc.
- Cat6 Ethernet Cabling – For best performance between router and client devices, upgrade your internal Ethernet cabling to Cat 6 or higher for upto 10Gbps throughput. Useful if your home network has standalone file/media servers, NAS storage etc connected via Ethernet.
- A/V & Smart Home Devices 6GHz capable – Currently device support for the new 6GHz band is limited. As more device manufacturers release WiFi 6E supported products the coverage will improve. Especially useful for consumers deploying multiple bandwidth-intensive A/V streaming boxes, IoT gadgets etc.
Wi-Fi 6E is the newest Wi-Fi standard offering nearly double the speeds of Wi-Fi 5 by introducing support for the new 6GHz wireless band with additional bandwidth enabling faster data rates of up to 9.6Gbps.
Benefits include reliable low latency connectivity essential for online gaming/VR applications, support for many more devices in dense home environments like condos/apartments and future proofing Wi-Fi network infrastructure for next-gen devices and use-cases.
To fully utilize the speed and latency advantages of Wi-Fi 6E, both router AND connected client devices like PCs/Smartphones will need compatible 6E hardware. So deploying new 6E routers now allows for easy upgrades on client side later.
In conclusion, Wi-Fi 6E wireless standard aims to meet the demands of emerging bandwidth-hungry use cases at home like 8K video streaming, Augmented Reality experiences, online cloud gaming, rapidly growing number of connected IoT devices etc. while also addressing pain points of existing Wi-Fi 5 networks. With simultaneous transmission over 2.4GHz, 5GHz and new 6GHz bands along with advanced QoS features it delivers substantial enhancements in throughput, latency, network efficiency and ability to support many more devices concurrently. Wi-Fi 6E brings a compelling upgrade option for home networks over next 2-3 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is Wi-Fi 6E different from Wi-Fi 6?
A: Wi-Fi 6E has additional support for the new 6GHz frequency band which Wi-Fi 6 does not. Wi-Fi 6 only uses existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
Q: Is Wi-Fi 6E compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and older devices?
A: Yes, Wi-Fi 6E routers maintain backward compatibility with Wi-Fi 5/WiFi4 and older client devices. Only device connectivity over 6GHz band will not work with older Wi-Fi versions.
Q: Do I need new devices to support Wi-Fi 6E speeds?
A: Yes. To access the 6GHz band and faster 9.6Gbps speeds Wi-Fi 6E capability is needed in both the wireless router AND connected devices like laptops/phones. Wi-Fi 6E device hardware upgrade is essential.
Q: What speeds can I expect from Wi-Fi 6E?
A: Maximum theoretical data transfer rate is 9.6Gbps. But actual experience will vary based on range, interference levels, device capacities etc. Under optimal conditions, multi-gigabit real-world speeds are possible.
Q: Is Wi-Fi 6E beneficial for virtual reality headsets?
A: Definitely. Wi-Fi 6E provides the very low latency of less than 5ms and reliable performance needed for good VR experiences which existing Wi-Fi versions cannot match.
Q: Do I need new cabling for Wi-Fi 6E?
A: Not mandatory, but upgrading internal connections to Cat6 or above is recommended between router and devices like gaming PCs, media servers etc. to prevent cable bandwidth from bottlenecking WiFi 6E capabilities.
Q: What are some Wi-Fi 6E router models available?
A: Top examples are TP-Link Archer AXE200, ASUS RT-AX86U, Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500. MSI, D-Link, Zyxel etc. also have released some highly-rated Wi-Fi 6E supported routers for consumers.
Q: Will all new smartphones and PCs be Wi-Fi 6E enabled?
A: Most flagship and premium segment models launching through 2023/24 and beyond are expected to incorporate Wi-Fi 6E hardware considering customer demand. Several 2022 models like Galaxy S22 already support it. Mid-range segment adoption may take longer.
Q: How do I know if my home devices are compatible?
A: Check device specifications, user manual or contact manufacturer customer care to verify if any firmware updates have enabled Wi-Fi 6E support. PC Wi-Fi cards and laptops launched in 2022/23 generally include compatibility already.
Q: Is Wi-Fi 6E usable outdoors?
A: No. Use of the 6GHz frequency band is currently restricted to indoor environments only in most countries. Very short range when passing through walls limits practical adoption to within homes and offices.