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.
“If the regulatory landscape permits, we expect companies to move forward aggressively with products that operate in 6 GHz because they understand the tremendous value brought to their customers by this portion of unlicensed spectrum,” said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “If spectrum is made available early this year, we expect momentum of products that support operation in 6 GHz to ramp very quickly. The capacity of 6 GHz is enormous and will be efficiently used by Wi-Fi 6 and newer versions of Wi-Fi. The U.S. is taking a big lead on the 6 GHz market, with Europe and APAC regions also exploring access to this band.”
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.