‘Wi-Fi 6E’ to Denote 6 GHz-Capable IoT Devices

The Wi-Fi Alliance is expanding the Wi-Fi 6 protocol to work into the 6 GHz spectrum, and new Internet of Things (IoT) products working on this frequency will be using a new designation, Wi-Fi 6E.

The Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) protocol existed in 2019 and was already using the 6 GHz ISM band. The only problem is that the protocol was capable of operating at 6 GHz, but the frequency wasn’t cleared for use by the authorities.

Complicating matters, some of the Wi-Fi 6-capable routers released in 2019 were not designed to use the 6 GHz band. Broadcom was the first company to release chips that support Wi-Fi 6E, and others are lining up to do the same.

The only problem is that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has yet to open up 6GHz for consumers. In any case, when the new technology hits the market, Wi-Fi 6E devices will be marked accordingly and should provide increased speed and reliability.

“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,” explains the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Not surprisingly, consumer access points and smartphones will benefit first from the new 6E standard, followed by enterprise-grade access points. Existing bands are getting more and more crowded, and with the explosive growth seen in the IoT market, forecasted to reach 4.1 billion by 2024, the Wi-Fi 6E should be a welcome addition.

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