The arrival of WiFi 6E network means a faster WiFi for 2021

Operating in really demanding scenarios is one of the great challenges faced by WiFi professionals since there’s a great number of people who want to access the exact same WiFi network at the exact same time. Sports stadiums, train stations, shops and mass events are good examples of this. The arrival of WiFi 6E networks will represent a great leap forward for us. Do you want to know why? Let’s get started!

What is WiFi 6E?

WiFi 6E is an extension of the 802.11ax (WiFi 6) standard, the latest standard for wireless local area networks from the IEEE.

What are the differences between WiFi 6E and WiFi 6 networks? Basically, devices that support WiFi 6E contain hardware that makes them ready to operate in a new spectrum band, which is 6 GHz, with a new bandwidth of 1,200 MHz and a wide variety of channels. This new band adds to the ones that already had WiFi 6 (2.4 y 5GHz).

Main features of WiFi 6E

What are the practical consequences of the implementation of WiFi 6E? Its main advantages are related to the use of a new band that’s not being used by other technologies. The absence of interference and low noise will allow very attractive transmission rates for high demand applications such as 4K video. This band, however, will have less coverage, especially in indoor environments with thick walls and floors.

WiFi 6E allows using new additional channels. These can range from 56 channels of 20 MHz, 28 of 40 MHz, 14 of 80 MHz and 7 channels of 160 MHz.

This translates into faster connections, with less interference, fewer lost packets and retransmissions, resulting in greater efficiency and stability for environments where there are a significant number of connected users close to access points.

WiFi 6E connections will be really useful in situations where large concentrations of people take place, such as stadiums, concerts, shopping malls, airports, hotelsairplanestrains, etc.

The base of WiFi 6E: 802.11ax standard

WiFi 6E can be taken as an extension of the latest WiFi 6 technology, but it’s far from the proposals for a hypothetical WiFi7 for 2024. In this sense, WiFi 6E includes an attractive portion of the additional spectrum for transmitters.

WiFi 6 was presented by the WiFi Alliance in 2020, so it is a standard that has new advantages for its users. How did we get here? What did the appearance of WiFi 6 mean compared to its predecessor, WiFi 5 or 802.11 ac?

One of the main performance improvements of WiFi 6 is that it brings many of the improvements of 802.11ac (MU-MIMO, bandwidths above 40 MHz, 256-QAM modulation) and it also works in a 2.4GHz band, while WiFi 5 only does it in 5GHz band.

In addition, the bandwidth of WiFi 6 channels can be divided into sub-channels in order to solve the problem of high device density.

WiFi 6 connections have a theoretical maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps, while WiFi 5 have 6.9 Gbps. These results are achieved thanks to technologies that provide great advantages. These are the most important ones:

  • OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access), which divides the bandwidth of each channel into sub-channels. This way we minimize the competition issue between several users bidding for the resources of the same network. One device will not always use all the bandwidth with OFDMA.
  • Bidirectional MU-MIMO (multi-user multi-input and multi-output). Access points can connect simultaneously with multiple devices, both for upload and download. In this way, the connection quality will not decrease as a result of the competition between these devices.
  • BSS coloring. It eliminates the interference problems that appear when multiple access points work on the same channel. To do this, a color code (at bit level) is assigned to each device that tries to connect so that the decision-making is facilitated in real-time in the case of competition for resources.
  • TWT (Target Wake Time). Devices negotiate when and how often they turn on and off, based on when they need to send and receive data. This means greater battery savings on laptops, mobile phones, tablets, IoT devices, etc.
  • WiFi 6 offers more secure connections by using the security protocol WPA3 (WiFi Protected Access 3). WPA3 has 192-bit encryption, compared to the 128-bit encryption of its predecessor, WPA2. However, WPA3 is also available on WiFi 5 APs like Galgus’.

The implementation of WiFi 6E in 2021

WiFi 6E, as well as WiFi 6, is still taking its first steps in terms of device implementation. This technology is expected to set a milestone in 2021. As a result of that, the United States regulation is ready for deployment.

According to the WiFi Alliance, the expectations are to sell about 338 million devices supporting WiFi 6E. In addition, they estimate that 20% of sold devices between 2021 and 2020 will include this new standard of WiFi connectivity.

So what about taking advantage of the opportunities that WiFi technology brings out? Galgus offers access points and software that will make you overcome all the connectivity challenges you are facing. Would you like to discuss your case with us?

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