Wi-Fi 6E will use 6GHz spectrum, pending regulatory approval

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in General Discussion
The Wi-Fi Alliance using "Wi-Fi 6E" as a name for wireless devices that can communicate within the 6Ghz band may introduce confusion to a naming system that was supposed to simplify matters for consumers.




Declared on Friday, the Wi-Fi Alliance's Wi-Fi 6E name refers to hardware that is capable of "6GHz operation." This relates to bands of unlicensed spectrum that regulators around the world are anticipated to make available for device producers to use for radio communications, specifically with Wi-Fi connections in mind.

In September, FCC chairman Ajit Pai confirmed a commitment to release 1.2GHz more spectrum to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed use in within the 6Ghz band. The additional spectrum will help enable more bandwidth for Wi-Fi connections, give more headrooms so wireless networks do not need to compete for signal, and reduced interference with older Wi-Fi technologies using lower bands.

In preparation for the probable launch, the Wi-Fi Alliance created the new Wi-Fi 6E terminology, to highlight devices capable of connecting over this newly-released band. Normal and currently-available Wi-Fi 6 devices will not be able to take advantage of the additional spectrum.

As with other Wi-Fi technologies, Wi-Fi 6E will still be compatible with Wi-Fi 6, 5, 4, and earlier versions. The spectrum in question will be continuous, able to accommodate 14 80MHz channels and 7 more 160MHz channels.

Analysts predict a quick uptake of Wi-Fi 6E once the spectrum is made available by regulators, with smartphones and mobile devices anticipated to be the main drivers of its adoption, followed by enterprise applications.

"6GHz will help address the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices," said Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. "Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi 6E now to ensure the industry aligns on common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support 6GHz operation as the spectrum becomes available."

While defining the name for the technology is useful, it does slightly backtrack the most recent overhaul of the naming scheme.

In October 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance rebranded Wi-Fi to the easily rememberable Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 4, and so on, instead of using names like 802.11ac or 802.11ax. The update significantly simplified how Wi-Fi network generations are identified to the public, with higher numbers being backward-compatible with devices using lower, earlier technologies.

The addition of Wi-Fi 6E to the list may confuse some users, due to the effective existence of two within the same Wi-Fi 6 tier. Though officially unannounced, the use of the Wi-Fi 7 name is likely to only arrive with the creation of standards for the next generation, with major changes to the underlying technologies rather than an expansion of usable bandwidth.

Companies such as Qualcomm are already working on next-generation Wi-Fi technologies, including increases in capacity and speeds.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Was AT&T involved in the branding???  It smacks of 5GE.  
    pujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?

    And, of course, to take advantage of the new frequencies and channels, the Access Point infrastructure (and controllers) will need to be upgraded, and only new WiFi devices will take advantage of it. In the early days, when there were few standards, it wasn’t a big deal.  But now, with so many standards, that are ‘mostly’ backward compatible, the drive to upgrade infrastructure and replace client devices is reduced. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.

    Hey a name like 802.11 is really useful to the average person and is also super catchy and sexy. Then you get the different flavors: ac, b, g, n, x, whatever.

    Do you think Joe Consumer can put those in order of release date, speed and security? Which one introduced access to 5.6GHz frequencies? When did the various security protocols first appear?

    The average person isn't an electrical engineer.

    Some technologists are so myopic they can't see the forest for the trees.
    edited January 2020 headfull0wineronnSoliuraharadesignrwatto_cobracaladanian
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Guess it is a good time to trademark “wifi 7” for my own profit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,584member
    mpantone said:
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.

    Hey a name like 802.11 is really useful to the average person and is also super catchy and sexy. Then you get the different flavors: ac, b, g, n, x, whatever.

    Do you think Joe Consumer can put those in order of release date, speed and security? Which one introduced access to 5.6GHz frequencies? When did the various security protocols first appear?

    The average person isn't an electrical engineer.

    Some technologists are so myopic they can't see the forest for the trees.
    Agreed! Recently I had AT&T Fiber installed, which comes with a mandatory gateway/wifi-router (these a-holes charge you $10/mo for it indefinitely). I asked the installer which wifi versions it supported, 802.11ac, etc, and he had *no idea* what I was talking about. So if an internet router installer doesn't even know the different flavors of 802.11, who can expect the public to keep track of them?

    Simpler naming is better naming.
    edited January 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,763member
    viclauyyc said:
    Guess it is a good time to trademark “wifi 7” for my own profit.
    You’ll need 7a through 7a too, because apparently idiots are in charge.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    mpantone said:
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.

    Hey a name like 802.11 is really useful to the average person and is also super catchy and sexy. Then you get the different flavors: ac, b, g, n, x, whatever.

    Do you think Joe Consumer can put those in order of release date, speed and security? Which one introduced access to 5.6GHz frequencies? When did the various security protocols first appear?

    The average person isn't an electrical engineer.

    Some technologists are so myopic they can't see the forest for the trees.
    Agreed! Recently I had AT&T Fiber installed, which comes with a mandatory gateway/wifi-router (these a-holes charge you $10/mo for it indefinitely). I asked the installer which wifi versions it supported, 802.11ac, etc, and he had *no idea* what I was talking about. So if an internet router installer doesn't even know the different flavors of 802.11, who can expect the public to keep track of them?

    Simpler naming is better naming.
    a network installer does not know about the technology they are installing? this is a disturbing reality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,584member
    mpantone said:
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.

    Hey a name like 802.11 is really useful to the average person and is also super catchy and sexy. Then you get the different flavors: ac, b, g, n, x, whatever.

    Do you think Joe Consumer can put those in order of release date, speed and security? Which one introduced access to 5.6GHz frequencies? When did the various security protocols first appear?

    The average person isn't an electrical engineer.

    Some technologists are so myopic they can't see the forest for the trees.
    Agreed! Recently I had AT&T Fiber installed, which comes with a mandatory gateway/wifi-router (these a-holes charge you $10/mo for it indefinitely). I asked the installer which wifi versions it supported, 802.11ac, etc, and he had *no idea* what I was talking about. So if an internet router installer doesn't even know the different flavors of 802.11, who can expect the public to keep track of them?

    Simpler naming is better naming.
    a network installer does not know about the technology they are installing? this is a disturbing reality.
    I can’t speak for him of course, but I’m guessing their training is limited to pulling cables and configuring the provided gateway. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,609member
    mpantone said:
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.

    Hey a name like 802.11 is really useful to the average person and is also super catchy and sexy. Then you get the different flavors: ac, b, g, n, x, whatever.

    Do you think Joe Consumer can put those in order of release date, speed and security? Which one introduced access to 5.6GHz frequencies? When did the various security protocols first appear?

    The average person isn't an electrical engineer.

    Some technologists are so myopic they can't see the forest for the trees.
    Agreed! Recently I had AT&T Fiber installed, which comes with a mandatory gateway/wifi-router (these a-holes charge you $10/mo for it indefinitely). I asked the installer which wifi versions it supported, 802.11ac, etc, and he had *no idea* what I was talking about. So if an internet router installer doesn't even know the different flavors of 802.11, who can expect the public to keep track of them?

    Simpler naming is better naming.
    a network installer does not know about the technology they are installing? this is a disturbing reality.
    There are different levels of technicians (and I'm not just talking networking). The guys who do residential installations are the entry level guys. Most of them are independent contractors and may be given a quota on how many installations they do per day which is why their work is often rushed and extremely sloppy.

    Trust me, there are higher level technicians who might come back to troubleshoot problems at your place.

    Certainly the better ones are given more important assignments like installing gear at your city government's data center or upgrading the WiFi network at the local professional sports venue.

    Your elementary school nurse might be able to stick a bandage on your 2nd grader's skinned knee. She won't be performing open heart surgery anytime soon though.

    And that pimply kid who dumps a bag of fries into the automated deep fryer at McDonald's isn't going to be cooking up a twelve-course 3-Michelin star dinner for you either.
    edited January 2020 netmagewatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 12
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,546member
    Excellent naming. Easy to understand and compare/buy equipment with appropriate capability and price. WiFi 4, WiFi 5, WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E-xtended. Now, you know why Apple bought Intel's cell/WiFi business and license Qualcomm 5G. To create own 5G,.WiFi 6E support on Apple made SOC.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,904member
    I prefer numbers that make sense so simplification is the way to go.

    Throwing letters back into the number soup is a slight step back IMO. I would have preferred 6.1 or 6.5 but at the end of the day 6E is still better than the 802.xxx scheme from a marketing perspective.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    mpantone said:
    rbnetengr said:
    It’s really stupid that they came up with that lame “WiFi x” naming convention to make it easier for people to understand, even to the point of re-naming the older WiFi standards. And then...WiFi 6E?
    Quite the contrary, the older naming scheme was totally obtuse for Joe Consumer.
    The average consumer has no idea what either of you are talking about, doesn't know what WiFi stands for, doesn't know the difference between hardwired and WiFi, doesn't understand or even know about different standards and protocols, and doesn't care about ANY of this garbage. This entire conversation (and the story as a whole) are completely lost on the average person.
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