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Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What is 6Ghz Wi-Fi?

written by Winston • last updated: July 29, 2021

Learn more about the new 6Ghz Wi-Fi band and how it can benefit you and large businesses.

wifi 6e router

Dramatically increased client capacity on the 6Ghz frequency.

With support for more devices on the same network, signal congestion is dramatically reduced. Wi-Fi 6E is particularly useful for large, high-capacity areas, such as shopping centres or outdoor public networks.

What is Wi-Fi 6E?

As the name suggests, Wi-Fi 6E is an extension to the existing Wi-Fi 6 standard. It carries all the benefits of the 802.11ax standard (see here for our explaination on that), but with additional support for the 6Ghz wireless spectrum.

This might all sound like mumbo jumbo - so what does it really mean for you?

Essentially, by making a higher-capacity spectrum available for your data, Wi-Fi 6E claims to dramatically reduce network congestion and interference. This is particularly helpful in crowded environments, such as hotels, shopping centres, and outdoor arenas. As more and more devices connect to a network, it tends to slow down. With Wi-Fi 6E, network congestion is much less problematic.

By reducing congestion, you will be able to have faster speeds and reduced latency. You won't have to compete for data bandwidth, because the 6Ghz spectrum allows for much more data to be transmitted. It's like opening more lanes on a highway.

netgear nighthawk wi-fi 6e router

Background and Importance

Everyone has dealt with poor internet before. It's not fun! 

There are many reasons why your Wi-Fi can get slow: distance from the router, your router and device's specifications, even how far you are from a network node. 

What Wi-Fi 6E aims to fix, however, is when too many people attempt to use a network at the same time, causing an effective overload. Think of congestion as being like a freeway having more traffic than it can handle. It will, of course, slow down and stall. 

Reducing Wi-Fi congestion isn't simple. It requires more bandwidth to be supported, so more devices can use it at the same time.

The Problem With Existing Wi-Fi Bands

Most current people using Wi-Fi are connected to one of two bands: the 2.4Ghz band, and the newer 5Ghz band. A band, by the way, just denotes what frequency spectrum your device uses to communicate with your router.

These two bands have their purposes, but also certain pitfalls:

  • 2.4Ghz: works great for long-range coverage, and can penetrate through solid objects more easily. This leads to greater signal reception. However, it has lower maximum speeds.
  • 5Ghz: allows for faster network speeds by using a higher wavelength. However, it has a hard time passing through objects, and as such, signal reception suffers.

As you can see, there are benefits and downsides to each band. Crucially, neither band offers a solution for network bandwidth, which means when many devices are trying to connect to the same Wi-Fi, it slows the entire network for everyone.

tablet with home wi-fi icon

How Does Wi-Fi 6E Reduce Congestion?

The solution to network congestion is to simply offer a band which has more channel bandwidth. With more bandwidth, more data can be transmitted before capping out.

How Wi-Fi 6E actually accomplishes this feat can get a bit technical. For those technically inclined, this Wikipedia article provides more in-depth information. Essentially, however, Wi-Fi 6E simply dramatically increases channel bandwidth, which is how it solves (or at the very least, reduces) network congestion issues.

If you're in a large shopping centre, for instance, you'll be competing with hundreds of shoppers for network bandwidth. This would slow down the internet for everyone. Not a very good experience. Thankfully, with the increased performance of Wi-Fi 6E, you'll see increased speeds thanks to the larger bandwidth and network channels available on the 6Ghz band.

So in scenarios where high-capacity networks are required, Wi-Fi 6E is absolutely the way to go.

city cloud wi-fi

Sounds great! Anything else I should know?

The downside to any new technology is that prices are initially expensive, and you'll have to upgrade your existing devices.

In fact, even in 2021, the number of Wi-Fi 6E routers are slim. Only brands that are established, such as Netgear and ASUS, offer routers with support for the Wi-Fi 6E standard. And since they are flagship devices, their prices are much higher than most people are willing to afford. It might be worth waiting until prices come down to purchase a router with Wi-Fi 6E capabilites.

There's also the question of whether you even need to upgrade. Wi-Fi 6E only provides a solution to network congestion - a non-issue for most regular home users. A regular Wi-Fi 6 router (without 6Ghz support) will provide benefits that are more likely to be noticed, such as faster speeds, and also comes with increased bandwidth compared to earlier generations. Furthermore, many devices like phones, laptops and computers don't have Wi-Fi 6E support yet, so there's not much point in upgrading until adoption becomes more widespread.

So for most people, we'd recommend just sticking to regular Wi-Fi 6 routers for now. At least until 2023, when Wi-Fi 7 is is planned to be introduced.

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