Wi-Fi is about to get a lot better. Several new phones, laptops, televisions, routers, and more will come this year with support for Wi-Fi 6E, A new Wi-Fi upgrade is basically like expanding your wireless connection from a two-lane road to an eight-lane highway. It’s the biggest Wi-Fi upgrade in 20 yearsAnd connections should be faster and more reliable because of this.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry-wide group that oversees Wi-Fi, has begun certifying the first wave of products with support for Wi-Fi 6E. Supported phones, PCs and laptops should start hitting the market in the first months of 2021, according to the IDC Research Group, and supported televisions and VR devices are expected to arrive by the middle of the year.
Some of the first devices will likely be announced within the next week. During CES, which kicks off January 11, the routing companies will preview what’s coming out this year. Samsung is also planning to announce its next flagship phones, Galaxy S21 seriesAnd some if not all of them will likely get Wi-Fi 6E support thanks Snapdragon 888 processor. Since the chip includes support for it, Wi-Fi 6E should be present on many of this year’s best Android phones.
Wi-Fi 6E is a big upgrade as it relies on a massive expansion of the wireless airwaves available to consumer devices. In April 2020, the FCC opened this new broad spectrum of spectrum in the United States, but new hardware was needed in order to take advantage of it. About a year later, we’re finally starting to see devices with this potential.
Current Wi-Fi devices operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum bands. Wi-Fi 6E adds a third – 6 GHz – and there’s a lot of it, quadrupling the total amount of airwaves used for a typical Wi-Fi network. This means you can have greater, faster connections, and that airwaves are less likely to be throttled. In an apartment building, for example, your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks might be interfering with your network. But with Wi-Fi 6E, there’s a lot more bandwidth to use, so there’s less chance you’ll be fighting on the exact same airwaves.
It will take some time before most new devices will ship with Wi-Fi 6E. Not all new gadgets are shipped up with Wi-Fi 6 standard yet, And this version of Wi-Fi began rolling out about two years ago. By the start of 2022, IDC predicts that only 20% of Wi-Fi 6 products shipped will also support Wi-Fi 6E.
Another obstacle is support from regulators around the world. Although the United States has approved the use of 6GHz airwaves, regulators in other countries need to agree spectrum to use Wi-Fi as well. The Wi-Fi Alliance says the United Kingdom, the European Union, South Korea, Chile and the United Arab Emirates have all given the green light to allow the use of 6GHz for Wi-Fi, while regulators in Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Japan are among other countries where progress is being made.
“There’s an absolute momentum, and it’s building around the industry [6GHz] It’s available for Wi-Fi, said Kevin Robinson, Marketing Leader at Wi-Fi Alliance the edge.