Wi-Fi is now a core part of our everyday lives in the digital age, with the internet being required for almost everything. The latest generations of Wi-Fi technology, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, promise quicker and more dependable connections than their predecessors. Wi-Fi 6E is a wireless standard that extends the Wi-Fi 6 wireless standard into the 6-GHz radio-frequency range.
In 2020, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the Wi-Fi 6E standard. According to the nomenclature, Wi-Fi 6E looks to be a minor upgrade to Wi-Fi 6. Still, you’re undoubtedly wondering how Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E vary.
This article will compare Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E. Let’s get started.
What is Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6, commonly known as 802.11ax, is the most recent iteration of Wi-Fi technology, offering faster speeds, more network efficiency, and improved connection. Wi-Fi 6 offers a theoretical max speed of 9.6 Gbps, which is about three times faster than Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). It also supports additional devices, allowing for more concurrent connections and less network congestion.
More importantly, technologies derived from Wi-Fi 6, like MU-MIMO and OFDMA, enable up to 4x more capacity and the ability to handle more devices. With Wi-Fi 6, you can simply host home parties with a network designed to manage all of your visitors’ devices.
What is Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi 6E is an improved version of Wi-Fi 6, with “e” standing for “extended”. It has all of the characteristics of Wi-Fi 6, plus compatibility with the 6 GHz frequency spectrum. The 6 GHz frequency operates similarly to Wi-Fi 6 over 5 GHz but with more non-overlapping channels.
According to the Wi-Fi Association, Wi-Fi 6E provides “14 more 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels.” These channels would not overlap, reducing congestion. All devices communicating on the 6 GHz bands would likewise be Wi-Fi 6 devices. All devices on the 6 GHz channels will speak the same language and will make use of Wi-Fi 6’s new congestion-busting capabilities.
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Speed
The latest wireless technologies, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E provide greater speeds than their predecessors. Wi-Fi 6 theoretically has a maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps, which is over three times faster than Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6E has the same theoretical maximum speed as Wi-Fi 5 but with more bandwidth and less interference owing to the 6 GHz frequency spectrum.
Because of its capacity to utilize broader channels in the 6 GHz frequency spectrum, Wi-Fi 6E is predicted to provide faster real-world speeds than Wi-Fi 6. This makes it a better alternative for high-speed connectivity-required applications like 4K video streaming and online gaming.
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Security
Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E both provide enhanced security features over earlier Wi-Fi standards, with Wi-Fi 6 introducing the WPA3 encryption technology as well as customized data encryption. Wi-Fi 6E enhances security by supporting the most recent security protocols, such as WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise, as well as features like OWE and Enhanced Open for open and public networks.
Wi-Fi 6E’s usage of the less busy 6 GHz frequency range decreases the possibility of interference from other devices and networks, boosting its security even further. Ultimately, for organizations and people that emphasize security, Wi-Fi 6E is the most secure alternative.
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Performance
Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E provide considerable results gains over earlier Wi-Fi protocols. Wi-Fi 6 employs the latest technology, such as MU-MIMO, OFDMA, as well as BSS Coloring, to deliver higher data flow rates, lower latency, and greater performance in crowded locations. Wi-Fi 6E improves performance by providing greater bandwidth channels within the less busy 6 GHz range of frequencies, allowing for lower latency, faster speeds, and better performance in densely populated regions.
Moreover, Wi-Fi 6E offers a greater range and bandwidth, which makes it a great solution for big venues like stadiums, special events, and airfields. Generally, both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E provide considerable performance gains, with Wi-Fi 6E offering the best speeds in dense regions.
Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Channel and Frequency
Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E use identical channel and frequency bands, with Wi-Fi 6 employing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and Wi-Fi 6E including compatibility for the new 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E has a substantially greater channel range than Wi-Fi 6, with up to seven 160 MHz channels accessible in the 6 GHz bands. Its increased capacity enables faster data transmission rates and improved performance in high-density regions.
Moreover, using the less busy 6 GHz band decreases interference from other devices and networks, resulting in improved range and coverage than prior Wi-Fi standards. Overall, Wi-Fi 6E outperforms Wi-Fi 6 in terms of channel and frequency capabilities, as well as performance, capacity, and range.
What Devices Support Wi-Fi 6E?
Wi-Fi 6E gear has become ubiquitous by the beginning of 2023, though it is far from universal. Wi-Fi 6E is supported by Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 7.
Wi-Fi 6E, dubbed “GIG+” by Intel, is being promoted. As Intel continues to add this technology to its platform for manufacturers, an increasing number of Intel-powered laptops with Wi-Fi 6E compatibility have arrived. AMD, MediaTek, and Qualcomm have all launched Wi-Fi 6E wireless controllers, which can be found in a variety of phones, tablets, and laptops.
Do You Need Wi-Fi 6 OR Wi-Fi 6E
Your demands and requirements will determine whether you require Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E. If you want to boost the performance and speed of your home or small business network, Wi-Fi 6 will most certainly suit your requirements. But, if you need to serve a large number of devices or need a great performance in high-density settings like stadiums or conference centers, Wi-Fi 6E’s extra bandwidth and less busy 6 GHz frequency spectrum may be required.
Furthermore, if enhanced security protocols and features are important to you, Wi-Fi 6E provides more robust solutions. Finally, the choice between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E is determined by your individual use case and budget.
How Can You Use It?
You’ll need a wireless access point or router that supports the relevant standards, along with equipment with relevant network adapters, to utilize Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E. You can even join your devices to the internet once you have a suitable router or wireless access point, just like you would with any other Wi-Fi network.
The router will recognize your device’s capabilities and utilize the relevant technologies to allow higher data transfer rates, lower latency, and greater performance in busy locations. Wi-Fi 6E requires devices to be capable of working on the new 6 GHz frequency range, which may necessitate additional hardware upgrades. Generally, utilizing Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E is identical to utilizing any other Wi-Fi network but with increased performance and functionality.
Even as Wi-Fi 6E provides considerable enhancements over Wi-Fi 6, it may not be required for all users. It is determined by your unique requirements and the devices you utilize.
If you have newer devices and need quicker speeds and reduced latency, Wi-Fi 6E, which offers 1,200 MHz of additional spectrum, is the way to go. Alternatively, if you’re using older devices or don’t need the most up-to-date technologies, Wi-Fi 6 is still a good choice.