The Wi-Fi Alliance has just announced the expansion of Wi-Fi into the 6GHz band, an increase of 1.2 Ghz of unlicensed spectrum which will be named ‘Wi-Fi 6E’.
This new terminology comes with common standards established by the Wi-Fi Alliance that will drive WLAN innovations & evolutions over the next coming months and years.
With the CES 2020 happening in Las Vegas this week, that’s a perfect shot to release and promote such evolution to the industry.
What is Wi-Fi 6E?
This Wi-Fi technology “Wi-Fi 6E” will take advantage of the additional unlicensed spectrum on the 6GHz band with more than 1200 megahertz. The new Wi-Fi 6E terminology has been created to distinguish Wi-Fi 6 devices that will also operate with the new 6GHz frequency.
The 6GHz band will accommodate 14 additional 80MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels using the existing Wi-Fi 6 protocol. This added clear spectrum will allow users to benefit from much higher data-transfer rates to much more devices simultaneously.
Why “E”? Because the Wi-Fi Alliance wanted a specific name & terminology to identify a new extension to the existing Wi-Fi 6 standard for devices capable of supporting the 6GHz band.
Why extend to 6GHz band?
With previous Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) standards, interferences between connected devices was a common problem. With the exponential increase of IoT we’ll begin to experience a ‘spectrum shortage’. That means that the increasing demand for Wi-Fi could eventually surpass the capacity of spectrum.
The opening of the 6GHz band will help to deal with this “spectrum shortage”.
According to Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance: “6 GHz will help address the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices. Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi 6E now to ensure the industry aligns on common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support 6 GHz operation as the spectrum becomes available.”
The idea with the use of 6GHz band isn’t just faster speeds, it’s also to have a cleaner high environment to allow more simultaneous wireless devices connections even on bandwidth-hungry applications.
“Wi-Fi 6E enabling 6GHz band, this spectrum addition to Wi-Fi is like laying out a new interference free multi-lane freeway for users. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is actively engaged and is monitoring closely the official introduction of this new 6GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi, ensuring next generation Wi-Fi 6E benefits can be brought to market in a timely manner. ” Subash Borah, Alcatel-Lucent senior Product Line Manager Network Wireless.
In the future, with Wi-Fi 6E, the intention is to use more frequency bands.
“Wi-Fi never sleeps for long (pun intended), 2020 is going to be another Stellar year for the industry. With the FCC preparing to release the 6GHz band and the Wi-Fi 6E announcement by the Wi-Fi Alliance these are exciting times. Wi-Fi 6E will result in cleaner signals that are DFS free and will allow for even faster speeds, higher capacity and denser deployments. Exciting times indeed.” Brian Wollak, Alcatel-Lucent Senior Wireless Architect.
For who is this new protocol?
This new protocol should support more simultaneous Wi-Fi users in very dense areas. The higher performance with faster data rates and a lower latency could be the key to develop next generation high-bandwidth applications.For example, Wi-Fi 6E could be used for virtual reality, augmented reality applications and for 4K UHD video streaming.
Industrial environments can also take advantages at Wi-Fi 6E to deliver applications such as machine analytics, maintenance, e-learning formations.