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Wifi 6 vs WiFi 6E

Difference between WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E

Wi-Fi is ever-present in the modern world. You need it, and you can’t get away from it, and since everyone uses it, Wi-Fi networks get very crowded. Wi-Fi 6 was designed to help alleviate this crowding, and it works. Now, Wi-Fi 6E is available, and it offers dramatic improvements in this regard.

What Is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the current leading-edge form of Wi-Fi. It offers significant improvements over Wi-Fi 5 in terms of speeds, data losses, network capacity, and battery life. It’s an all-around upgrade to how we do Wi-Fi.

The primary design philosophy behind Wi-Fi 6 is keeping up with increases in demand, particularly in high-traffic areas. So in areas with lots and lots of users (think walking downtown in a major city) and many competing Wi-Fi networks, Wi-Fi 6 provides better signal clarity. With this, speeds go up, the number of users increases, and general satisfaction improves.

To put these improvements in more specific terms, Wi-Fi 6 boosts connection bandwidth up to around 10 Gbps. Wi-Fi 5 caps out at around 3.5 Gbps, so that’s a big improvement. Wi-Fi 6 also utilizes orthogonal frequency division multiple access modulations. This allows more clients to share a single channel without significant interference.

Additionally, target wake time lowers power consumption for wireless devices, and multi-user MIMO provides simultaneous streaming instead of sequential streaming for way higher effective bandwidth.

What Is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E is built on the principles of Wi-Fi 6, so every feature mentioned above is present. 6E adds to it with one major distinction. Wi-Fi 6E accessed additional bands for communication. With the expanded bands, Wi-Fi 6E provides substantially more channels than 6, and each channel takes full advantage of Wi-Fi 6 features. Ultimately 6E can handle many more users with far less interference and much higher total bandwidth (although the theoretical maximum speeds are still the same).

Key Differences Between the Two

Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are more similar than not. All of the technology that exists in 6 is present in 6E. The real difference boils down to the additional bands available for 6E, but it is not a minor difference. It changes the landscape of Wi-Fi completely.

Spectra

The additional spectra available for Wi-Fi 6E sit at the heart of everything when comparing the two. Wi-Fi 6 supports 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. 6E adds the 6 GHz band to this, and that’s a big deal. This band has not been open to Wi-Fi usage for a terribly long time. Wi-Fi 6 was designed with the expectation that additional bands would become available at some point, and 6E is the update needed to take advantage of this newly available band.

Within the 6 GHz band are 59 distinct Wi-Fi channels (only 41 for outdoor applications). With this many new channels, Wi-Fi 6E can handle unprecedented numbers of users with minimal signal interference.

Minimizing Wi-Fi Noise

Wi-Fi 6 already uses advanced signal processing techniques to reduce noise on crowded bands. By opening up so many new channels, 6E can handle the highest-density traffic conditions that currently exist. It’s also well-protected for expected increases in Wi-Fi traffic for arguably the next decade. Wi-Fi 6E truly lives up to expectations and provides very fast effective communication for the largest number of Wi-Fi users yet seen.

Clearly, Wi-Fi 6E has a lot to offer. Often, when upgrades like this become available, they are not universally necessary. Wi-Fi 6 is faster and handles more traffic than Wi-Fi 5, but plenty of networks don’t really need those improvements. 6E offers something more. With the new band, even low-traffic networks get a boost if they are in areas surrounded by competing Wi-Fi networks. The upgrade to 6E is even more compelling than the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6, provided you have user devices that are capable of using the new band.

Additional Learning Center Resources