Recently, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax) has got on the market and started getting popular.
As we already know, Wi-Fi 6 is 4 times faster than the previous one, when connected to a single device. Worthy to mention is its capability to improve the performance of the network when multiple devices are connected.
It supports up to 8 streams simultaneously for uploading or downloading which is twice the amount that Wi-Fi 5 supported! And there’s more, so if you want to go deeper into Wi-Fi 6, check this link.
And now, when more new devices are implementing this standard, let’s take a look at the future with two insanely fast Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 are coming!
Wi-Fi 6E, getting into the 6 GHz frequency band!
Wi-Fi 6E is an “extension” to the current Wi-Fi 6 standard. This year (2020) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use. It officially did it back on April 23.2020. This means more open airwaves that can be used to broadcast Wi-Fi. It talks about 1,200 MHz in the 6 GHz while the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands are 400 MHz of the unlicensed spectrum.
The extra spectrum means to nearly quadruple the already available space so a lot more bandwidth, more reliable connections, more available channels, less jamming, and congestion are expected.
Wi-Fi 6E will work in the 6 GHz using up to 14 extra channels, 80 MHz each, or 7 wide channels, 160 MHz each. 29 if they are 40 MHz each or 59 channels in the case of 20MHz.
This could definitely satisfy demanding apps, video streaming, a better network for smart homes with multiple devices, and even VR high requirements on multiple devices,
In comparison, Wi-Fi 6 over 5 GHz has 25 channels (20MHz) or just 2 wide 160MHz channels. In the 2.4 GHz it is even worse with 1 40 MHz or 3 20 MHz each.
With Wi-Fi 6E and its wider channels, devices could deliver so much better quality performance and more users could be supported at once, even in dense or jammed environments.
Wi-Fi 6E promises awesome benefits to users but is still facing a debate that involves factors like regulation and compatible devices. It seems that the announcement of this upcoming Wi-Fi came before its official (governmental) approval. Not just in the US but worldwide.
It seems that it will be a lot harder for manufacturers of Wi-Fi products in Europe and The UK.
When talking about Europe and Wi-Fi 6E, we still don’t have a clear verdict. We are expecting the European Conference on Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT) and Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) to allow 500 MHz (5,925 MHz– 6,425 MHz). And from those 500, 20 are not available and 480 MHz are left.
These are the possible available Wi-Fi 6E channels in Europe: 24 x 20 MHz, 12 x 40 MHz, 6 x 80 MHz, 3 x 160 MHz
In the UK, the local regulator Ofcom already approved the same frequency (5,925 MHz– 6,425 MHz), so they are one step further than the Old Continent.
And about devices, it is clear that not all routers, laptops, mobiles, etc. could have the benefits of this Wi-Fi. They must be new and compatible. They will need a new radio module that supports the frequency range.
Hold on! You don’t have to go and buy new devices. The standard has to complete a process to be certified for being implemented on new devices. Just as a reference, this 2020, the market is receiving some of the first products compatible with Wi-Fi 6 (certified in 2019). So you won’t find any new laptop or smartphone compatible with Wi-Fi 6E yet. At least no device that can guarantee you that it will work all around the globe with the local restrictions.
There are a few manufacturers who are already preparing products based on the pre-certified specification of the new standard, but we don’t recommend that you rush and buy them.
ASUS showed its ROG RAPTURE GT-AXE11000 6 GHz router that supports Wi-Fi 6E and should come around the Christmas holidays.
Qualcomm has more than a few products too: Networking Pro 1610, Networking Pro 1210, Networking Pro 810, Networking Pro 610 FastConnect 6900, and FastConnect 6700.
Intel is also planning Wi-Fi 6E chips for the beginning of 2021.
What else to expect from Wi-Fi 6E:
- 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM): increases throughput in Wi-Fi devices by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum.
- Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA): effectively shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency for both uplink and downlink traffic in high demand environments.
- Lower latency thanks to the faster and response of the new routers.
- Gigabit speeds. Yes, version 6 already supports it, but now it will be faster even with more devices connected at the same time.
The Wi-Fi Alliance mentioned Wi-Fi 6E would be certified in the first quarter of 2021.
Wi-Fi 7, the new name of speed!
802.11be Project Authorization Request (PAR) describes a really ambitious standard (features).
802.11be or Wi-Fi 7 will have 320 MHz channel bandwidth with the capability of efficiently using the contiguous and non-contiguous spectrum. That means 320Mhz can be achieved by 2, 160 MHz combined, 240 MHz by a 160 MHz, and 80 MHz, and so on.
Wi-Fi 6 has brought MU-MIMO tech (Multiple User – Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) that combined with other factors like OFDMA, increases capacity, coverage, and performance in dense environments.
Well, Wi-Fi 7 will incorporate CMU-MIMO (improved MU-MIMO) to avoid jamming, boost speed, and range. It will double the number of data streams that Wi-Fi 6 supports, so 16 instead of 8. Besides, it could work simultaneously with the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequency bands.
“Multi-Access Point (AP) Coordination (coordinated and joint transmission), enhanced link adaptation and retransmission protocol (e.g. Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request (HARQ)), integrating Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) extensions for low-latency real-time traffic”.
Wi-Fi 7 will use 4096-QAM, 4 times better modulation, compared to Wi-Fi 6 (1024-QAM).
Additional features mentioned these days about the new standard are: more flexible preamble puncturing scheme, implicit channel sounding, support of direct links managed by an access point, enhanced channel sounding that requires less airtime, OFDMA with improved resource allocation, better forward-compatibility in-frame formats.
It is expected, at least based on the theory, it could reach 30 Gbps!
That is insanely fast Wi-Fi! A dream for many users but just remember, the development of this standard is still ongoing. 2024 could see a final version of this standard.
The development of tech is constant, fortunately! So, we can be amazed every day with more choices for solutions for our business needs.
Talking about Wi-Fi, if you are currently buying a router, Wi-Fi 6 is still a great option. Wi-Fi 6E is the upgrade, but it could be a hustle to truly use it because of the 6Ghz. Remember the issue of the devices that support it. The first devices that will come with the new standard will be very expensive and might still have compatibility issues, depending on your location.
And Wi-Fi 7 is far away. Don’t worry about it just yet.
Before we leave you, we would like to share with you an article about the last standard Wi-Fi 6 and we hope to see you again in our blog.