It seems like just yesterday that we heard about Wi-Fi 6 and how revolutionary it will be for speed and connectivity. Now, like a brand new iPhone, a better option is on its heels by the name of Wi-Fi 6E. Find out the difference between 6 and 6E, when devices with the new capability will be available and which option is better for your household.
What is Wi-Fi 6E?
Wi-Fi 6E isn’t exactly a new iteration of Wi-Fi technology as Wi-Fi 6 was. It’s better to think of Wi-Fi 6E as a term for Wi-Fi 6 devices that can operate on a whole new spectrum, 6GHz, just opened up by the FCC.
You’re probably familiar with the 2.4 and 5GHz bands typically in use by dual-channel Wi-Fi routers. Well, as of April 2020, the FCC voted to approve and open an additional band called the 6GHz for unlicensed use. This is essentially the equivalent of adding an entirely new lane to a jam-packed, two-lane highway in your home, so there’s gonna be way more bandwidth available for all that traffic.
The 6Hz band is also a cut above its predecessors. Where the 2.4GHz band can transmit data at a reasonable distance and the 5GHz band can transmit more data (although not as far as the 2.4GHz), the 6GHz can transfer almost three times the data of the 5GHz band at a smaller distance.
Should I buy Wi-Fi 6E?
If you find yourself regularly dealing with Wi-Fi congestion due to your internet activities and a large number of internet-connected devices — symptoms include slow speeds, buffering and connection dropouts despite internet plan and equipment capabilities — it may be worth investing in a Wi-Fi 6E capable device.
The Wi-Fi 6E and the 6Hz band will be especially valuable to users who have multiple devices in short proximity to one another like smart home devices that are likely to live on the same floor, if not the same room.
Who should use Wi-Fi 6E?
- Households with many connected devices at once
- Heavy gamers
- People who have newer devices that are compatible with Wi-Fi 6E
Remember, you can’t take advantage of Wi-Fi 6E benefits if your internet and router aren’t up to the task. Make sure your router is Wi-Fi 6E compatible and upgrade your internet plan if it isn’t fast enough.
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E
|Wi-Fi 6||2.4 and 5 GHz bands|
|Wi-Fi 6E||6 GHz band|
Think of Wi-Fi 6E as an extension of Wi-Fi 6. It can do everything Wi-Fi 6 can do, but faster. This is because Wi-Fi 6E operates on the new 6 GHz frequency band, while Wi-Fi 6 uses 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
Wi-Fi 6E is the only Wi-Fi standard that supports the 6 GHz band, allowing for faster wireless speeds, more channels, lower latency and less interference than Wi-Fi 6.
How do I get Wi-Fi 6E?
Just like Wi-Fi 6, you’ll need a router that can work the way Wi-Fi 6E is designed. Unfortunately, that means if you’ve already invested in a Wi-Fi 6 router, you’ll need to upgrade to a 6E device. 6E routers are equipped with chipsets that a regular Wi-Fi 6 will not have, so if you’re looking to get a taste of all that bandwidth, a standard Wi-Fi 6 device won’t even be able to communicate with the 6GHz band.
A few Wi-Fi 6E router options:
However, it may be wise to wait before jumping into this year’s next big tech. Many Wi-Fi 6 router owners will agree that you never know what next year may bring.
Written by:Camryn Smith
Camryn Smith is an Associate Writer with Allconnect.com. She specializes in writing about the broadband industry and helping consumers navigate complex internet service purchasing decisions…. Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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