The 6GHz Wi-Fi band is now available to the public after the Federal Communication Commission (FFC) voted in favour of opening up unliscened use.
This could have a big impact on pretty much everyone, and yet most people probably don’t know much about 6GHz Wi-Fi. What is it, how will you benefit from it, and what do you need to take advantage of it?
We’ve put together this guide to answer these questions in layman’s terms, so you can get just as excited as those who are fluent in tech jargon.
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What is 6GHz Wi-Fi?
6Ghz Wi-Fi is a new frequency band, seeing increased speeds and reduced latency compared to the currently used 2.4 GHz and 5GHz channels.
This means you will experience significantly faster internet speeds when connected to a 6GHz Wi-Fi band, resulting in quicker download speeds and more reliable connections when live streaming, playing video games online or any other activity that requires a speedy interent connection.
The 6GHz Wi-Fi band is capable of a 160MHz (transmission speed) performance, which is double that of the 80MHz limitation of 5GHz and eight times faster than the 20MHz of 2.4GHz.
While it’s good news that throughput is increased and latency reduced, there is one drawback, as the range is dramatically reduced. This means a router using a 2.4GHz or 5GHz channel will offer better coverage, ensuring devices can connect to the signal even if they’re a good distance away.
The Federal Communication Commission believes that making 1200MHz of the spectrum available for unlicensed use won’t severely impact the current infrastructure, and so has opened the band up for public use.
This means we will likely start to see new routers with ‘Wi-Fi 6e’ support, allowing people to take advtange of the faster Wi-Fi band.
Explained: What is Wi-Fi 6 and how fast is it?
What is Wi-Fi 6e?
Wi-Fi 6e is the new terminology to signify that a router is capable of using the 6GHz band.
The Wi-Fi Alliance decided to introduce this new terminology to avoid confusion for potential router buyers, as not every Wi-Fi 6 router will support the 6GHz band. The “e” in Wi-Fi 6e doesn’t stand for anything specific and is purely just a differentiator
This means that if you want to take advantage of the new speeds offered by the 6GHz Wi-Fi band, you’ll almost definitely need to upgrade your router. Only specific devices support the Wi-Fi 6 standard too, with select modern laptops and smartphones in an exclusive group – even current video game consoles won’t benefit here.
So even though the 6GHz Wi-Fi has now been given the green light, you’ll still have to wait a while before you’ll be able to benefit from the increased throughput and reduced latency. That said, supported devices are expected to launch sooner rather than later, and there is no doubt that this is the future of wireless internet connectivity.