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Wi-Fi 6E: The Next Big Thing in Wi-Fi

Author

Waqas Akhtar

Regional Practice Lead

Blog

Wi-Fi 6E refers to the Wi-Fi standard’s spectrum expansion into the 6-GHz radio-frequency band. This expansion represents the most significant shift in Wi-Fi’s spectrum since its beginnings, and it opens up new possibilities for high-performance connectivity and application cases.

How is Wi-Fi 6E different than Wi-Fi 6?

Unlike Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E is not a standard. It extends the Wi-Fi 6 standard into the 6-GHz spectrum that brings faster speeds, lower latency, and more security to the network.

While higher frequencies do not go as far as lower frequencies, this is not a deal-breaker. The effect is negligible and easily controllable. According to modeling, the change in propagation distance between 5 GHz and 6 GHz is small. What does this mean for coverage? How big will a 5 GHz cell be, compared to a 6 GHz cell? The answer is “pretty much the same.”

Main Benefits

Wi-Fi has made numerous advancements throughout the years, all of which have contributed to its increasing popularity. Wi-Fi 6E will now apply spectrum rules that favor better Wi-Fi operations, much like Wi-Fi 6 was established to remedy some of the difficulties inherent in Wi-Fi 1 through 5 operations.

Since the 6-GHz spectrum is new and accepts only Wi-Fi 6E devices, it doesn’t have any old issues clogging current networks. It offers better:

• Capacity: The addition of more spectrum allows double the channel bandwidth, which provides the additional bandwidth needed in the open space of a new scope. It also gives you the ability to support a dense environment while keeping device performance high. The additional spectrum —1200 MHz worth or 59 new channels, the largest Wi-Fi spectrum expansion ever— offers unprecedently increased non-overlapping channels. Wi-Fi 6E can perform exceptionally great, especially in high-density environments.

Higher throughput means more channels in the 80-MHz and 160-MHz spectrums and allows users to send and receive data at the highest possible speed at rates.

• Reliability: Wi-Fi 6E establishes a new standard for connection stability and predictability, bridging the gap between wireless and wired connections. Because Wi-Fi 6E devices do not have to share the 6-GHz spectrum with any devices that are not Wi-Fi 6E capable, this reliability comes with less interference and more efficiency.

Wi-Fi 6E does away with the multiprotocol complexities of the past by limiting access to only Wi-Fi 6 and newer protocols in the 6 GHz band. Coupling the Wi-Fi 6 protocol with Wi-Fi 6E spectrum will allow Wi-Fi 6 abilities to shine in an essentially greenfield environment.

• Security: Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) is a mandatory requirement for the Wi-Fi 6E network and secures the network better than ever. And since only Wi-Fi 6 products will be using this network, there are no legacy security issues to deal with. WPA3 provides new authentication and encryption algorithms for networks and fixes for issues that WPA2 missed.

Use cases

All businesses will appreciate the advantages of a Wi-Fi 6E network; this is not a niche solution. Any enterprise contemplating IoT devices and sensors should take advantage of the new, interference-free spectrum offered on Wi-Fi 6E.

Non-carpeted spaces such as manufacturing and warehouses will be able to solve their most pressing challenge of maintaining service-level expectations. For carpeted businesses offering a hybrid workplace solution, the increased connectivity will help meet the ever-increasing demands placed on the network. The same can be said for clients that need a super-secure network.

• Healthcare: Wi-Fi 6E network means that more life-saving devices can connect to the network without fear of lagging or slowdown. Also, large data packets—such as x-rays or MRIs—can swiftly move through the network.

• Retail: point-of-sale connections will run faster, removing the frustration of paying customers languishing in long lines.

• Education: Wi-Fi 6E can change the classroom via immersive experiences and virtual learning because the large contiguous blocks of the spectrum allow for high throughput and concurrent data transmission.

• Manufacturing: Wi-Fi 6E machines can be deployed on the Wi-Fi 6E spectrum, away from the interference of the day-to-day traffic happening on the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz spectrums.

• Government needs added security. Thanks to the inclusion of the WPA3 standard on Wi-Fi 6E devices, that extra security is now mandatory.

Wi-Fi 6E Infrastructure Requirements

The choice to support Wi-Fi 6E requires IT teams to assess their current wireless infrastructure and upgrade routers, switches, access points, and other critical elements as necessary to take full advantage of Wi-Fi 6E and its higher speeds.

Yet when organizations upgrade infrastructure to support Wi-Fi 6E, they don’t need to abandon the use of existing Wi-Fi 6 devices and applications that use the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands.

Using the 6-GHz spectrum and adopting devices and applications designed for Wi-Fi 6E can help to reduce congestion on those other frequencies and provide a better experience to users accessing them.

How can GBM help?

Ensuring that the network is ready for Wi-Fi 6E means more than just replacing old access points with Wi-Fi 6E-supported APs. It is needed to ensure that the network infrastructure supporting the Wi-Fi connectivity can provide the required capacity & scalability.

GBM has an innovative and rich services portfolio to help customers in their digital transformation journey by delivering new technologies, integrating them into your existing infrastructure, and overcoming adoption, operations, and maintenance challenges.

With a talented, skilled workforce to implement solutions that cater to customers’ specific, complex and diverse business needs, GBM provides round-the-clock support to customers across the region. Through our professional services and support teams, you can call on us for all the advice, design, deployment, and support capability you’ll ever need to harness the robust solutions successfully.

References:

Wi-Fi 6E At-a-Glance:
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/wireless/catalyst-9100ax-access-points/nb-06-wifi-6e-aag-cte-en.pdf

What Is Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E?
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/wireless/what-is-wifi-6-vs-wifi-6e.html

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