What Is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E Certified

Wi-Fi 6E-2021 also referred to as the IEEE 802.11ax with 6 GHz standard, is the latest and greatest approved Wi-Fi standard launched by the Wi-Fi Alliance. The reason? To address network congestion caused by the growing number of internet-ready devices.

The “E” in Wi-Fi 6E stands for “Extended”. Basically, Wi-Fi 6E is an extended version of the existing Wi-Fi 6 standard but has an additional number of usable bands thanks to the addition of the 6 GHz band.

The Marketplace will become confused with the standard of 802.11ax and 802.11ax-2021 which is why one should always look for the logo and support for WIFI 6E and not just look at the IEEE term of 802.11ax.

This is true for both client devices and Access Points. We act well as your advisors in this ever-changing landscape and a good solution is to engage us to discuss your needs and options. We are always here to help.

2.4 GHz , 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands capability in Wifi 6E

What is Wi-Fi 6E Benefits?

To date, Wi-Fi standards operated on FCC-approved 2 bands – the 2.4GHz and the 5 GHz band.

Wi-Fi 6E is the very first standard to incorporate the 6 GHz, in addition to the existing bands. This allows devices to operate on 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels thereby massively increasing the network capacity and efficiency in a workflow that requires high throughput. Opening the devices to a 6 GHz band quadruples the airwaves available over traditional Wi-Fi thereby increasing the network speeds and reducing the latency.

Why Upgrade?

The main drawback of the legacy Wi-Fi standards is that the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz spectrum are overcrowded due to the sheer number of devices connected to them thereby reducing network speed and reliability. With Wi-Fi 6E, consumers can harness an additional 1200 MHz of spectrum that more than doubles the paths available for data transmission. These higher pathways address the issue of congestion that plagued the earlier standards. The largest beneficiaries would be densely crowded areas such as New York and Chicago as the 6 GHz band would give them access to clean, uninterrupted pathways for data transmission.

So, What’s The Catch?

Well, even though Wi-Fi 6E devices are backwards compatible with all previous Wi-Fi standards you would still need new devices and access points to access the much vaunted 6 GHz spectrum. It is impossible to upgrade existing access points with a firmware patch and businesses need to overhaul their entire Wi-Fi architecture to harness the benefits of Wi-Fi 6E.

The leading manufacturers like Aruba, Cisco, Extreme and Ruckus have already introduced Wi-Fi 6E capable access points to their product portfolio. But since the standard is in its nascent stages, these devices are extremely expensive and might even set you back by $2000.

The current pandemic emphasises the problem further as hardware procurement is difficult and has long lead times. This should start to see improved delivery times as we get towards the end of 2022 and into 2023 which will be helpful for acceptance.

WIFI 6E – Is It for You?

That depends. It is estimated that hardware prices for a current Enterprise Level set-up could be a minimum of $70,000 (less than 50 Access points as an example). So, on the one hand, if you have an existing, fully functional Wi-Fi network that is functioning well on the existing Wi-Fi, then you would be better off probably waiting a year or so before upgrading to 6E. Our opinion is to consider it economical to defer upgrading till 2023 when the prices are estimated to come down. There is a catch: Product Delivery times are extremely long, perhaps as much as 9months in some brands. If you can order your equipment in 2022, consider this as your first step with your vendor to lock in inventory and possibly also any price increase protection as inflation is starting to take hold. We have seen some brands increase list prices by 20 per cent or more.

The list price for the most recent WIFI 6E products is extremely expensive. Some are close to 2,000 per Access Point. The good news is that they are more readily available in the market for purchase with shorter lead times.

The eTribeca Advantage

eTribeca has been building Wi-Fi for 25 years. This can be your advantage. Expert advice is critical currently, and you need a professional consultation for integrating your Wi-Fi needs. This is where we at eTribeca, shine. We specialize in emerging communication technology and are the leading Wireless Integrators to leading enterprise and medium-sized businesses. Be it Network Design, Site Survey or Wi-Fi Network Installation, eTribeca provides complete turn-key solutions for your business.

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