Wi-Fi Alliance introduces Wi-Fi 6 into 6 GHz, will rapidly provide benefits in connected environments

Wi-Fi Alliance is releasing new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world. 

Wi-Fi 6E brings a common industry name for Wi-Fi users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, extended into the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E devices are expected to become available quickly following 6 GHz regulatory approvals, utilizing this additional spectrum capacity to deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses and economies.

Wi-Fi is ready to utilize 6 GHz spectrum as it becomes available around the world. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to support international advocacy efforts to make this additional spectrum available to Wi-Fi users, while also protecting existing devices in the band. 

Wi-Fi has been recognized as a foundational technology for the Internet of Things, a necessary complement to delivering 5G, an important tool bringing communication networks to underserved areas, and a strong contributor to global economies. 6 GHz is ideal to facilitate Wi-Fi’s continued growth in these areas due to its adjacency to 5 GHz where Wi-Fi already operates, greater availability of wider channel sizes, and accessibility to clear spectrum with less interference from legacy Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 devices. 

Wi-Fi Alliance is a global network of companies that brings Wi-Fi. Members of its collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing possible user experience. 

Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 50,000 Wi-Fi certifications. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, backward compatibility, and the highest industry-standard security protections in place. Wi-Fi carries more than half of the internet’s traffic in an expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi, which billions of people rely on every day.

“Today, unlicensed spectrum stands out as one of the FCC’s most successful policy experiments ever. By allowing permissionless innovation in a band of spectrum, we’ve seen billions of dollars of economic value created, millions of people and devices connected and terabytes of critical data sent via technology like Wi-Fi,” WifiForward said in a statement. “Today’s announcement by Wi-Fi Alliance shows that industry is ready to unleash even more innovation in the 6 GHz band, as soon as the FCC can make it available for technologies like Wi-Fi.”

“If the regulatory landscape permits, we expect companies to move forward aggressively with products that operate in 6 GHz because they understand the tremendous value brought to their customers by this portion of unlicensed spectrum,” said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “If spectrum is made available early this year, we expect momentum of products that support operation in 6 GHz to ramp very quickly. The capacity of 6 GHz is enormous and will be efficiently used by Wi-Fi 6 and newer versions of Wi-Fi. The U.S. is taking a big lead on the 6 GHz market, with Europe and APAC regions also exploring access to this band.”

Once 6 GHz is made available by regulators, analysts predict the first Wi-Fi devices to use the band will include Wi-Fi 6E consumer access points and smartphones, followed by enterprise-grade access points. Industrial environments are also expected to see strong adoption from Wi-Fi 6E to deliver applications including machine analytics, remote maintenance, or virtual employee training. 

Wi-Fi 6E will utilize 6 GHz to deliver much anticipated augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) use cases for consumer, enterprise, and industrial environments.

6 GHz addresses Wi-Fi spectrum shortage by providing contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels which are needed for high-bandwidth applications that require faster data throughput such as high-definition video streaming and virtual reality. 

Wi-Fi 6E devices will leverage wider channels and additional capacity to deliver greater network performance and support more Wi-Fi users at once, even in very dense and congested environments. Wi-Fi Alliance is working on the development of interoperability testing for Wi-Fi 6E that will deliver benefits to Wi-Fi users once the spectrum is available.

“6 GHz will help address the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi 6E now to ensure the industry aligns on common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support 6 GHz operation as the spectrum becomes available.”

“Although Europe will open less spectrum to WLAN than the US, 6 GHz will still bring a true boost to Wi-Fi 6,” said Jan Buis, vice president business development, LANCOM Systems. “We expect data rates to double and latencies to be halved – making Wi-Fi an unbeatable alternative to 5G in campus networks.”

“Long standing relationships between Linksys and industry governances such as Wi-Fi Alliance combined with our strong legacy in networking ensure that our products continue to deliver the highest performance,” said Kannan Vardarajan, director of product management, Linksys. “We are excited to see that Wi-Fi Alliance and regulatory agencies are moving in a direction with Wi-Fi 6E that will serve the future needs of business and users, and we will keep expanding the scope of what we can achieve with wireless networking. Linksys is committed to delivering the highest ‘next-generation’ performance technology into our products.” 

“As a leading manufacturer of performance Wi-Fi products, NETGEAR is looking to the evolution of future technologies to improve upon the Wi-Fi experience of our customers and wireless network capabilities of the Smart Homes of tomorrow,” said Abhay Bhokar, director of product management for connected home products at NETGEAR. “The potential of 6 GHz is something that NETGEAR is very excited about for the next wave of enhanced Wi-Fi.” 

“Wi-Fi 6E opens up to 1.2 GHz of additional spectrum to the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, ensuring continued innovation and support for the ultra-high performance connectivity needed of today’s home, enterprise, and automotive markets,” said Mark Montierth, vice president and general manager of wireless connectivity at NXP Semiconductors. “Marvell, now NXP, was among the first companies to be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6, and NXP continues to play a leading role in helping Wi-Fi Alliance innovate and drive the adoption of powerful new technologies like Wi-Fi 6E.” 

“By extending Wi-Fi 6 into the 6GHz band, we can expect high performance connectivity with greater capacity, increased speed and lower latency for continuous innovation in home networking and enterprise applications,” said Irvind Ghai, vice president of marketing, Quantenna Connectivity Solutions at ON Semiconductor. “We are excited to welcome the addition of Wi-Fi 6E as consumers will subsequently benefit from these advancements in their connected devices and services.”

“Qualcomm Technologies believes in the continued evolution of technologies for unlicensed spectrum to deliver powerful, next-generation connected experiences at scale and across diverse product categories worldwide,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, Connectivity & Networking, Qualcomm Technologies. “The ground-breaking potential of extending the already transformative characteristics of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz band is hard to overstate, and we applaud Wi-Fi Alliance’s leadership in unleashing a new era of high speed, low latency Wi-Fi 6 experiences for the 6 GHz band.” 

“Wi-Fi 6E will play a crucial role in advancing wireless capabilities, with higher performance, lower latency and better quality at the 6 GHz bandwidth,” said Anand Oswal, SVP, engineering, Cisco Intent-based Networking Group. “The 6 GHz spectrum is valuable not just to Wi-Fi, so we hope that all communities can cooperate on ways to share these frequencies and create more seamless experiences. The 6 GHz band will also allow for greater location accuracy, opening up new and exciting opportunities to develop business-optimizing applications and use cases.” 

“Wi-Fi has changed the world, and we are excited to work with Wi-Fi Alliance to ensure Wi-Fi will continue changing the world,” said Jayanthi Srinivasan, director of product management, Cisco Meraki. “Wi-Fi 6’s growth into the 6 GHz spectrum is a game changer for two reasons – the availability of the additional channels and the ability to finally use 160Mhz for high bandwidth applications like AR and VR; this provides enormous opportunities to build new applications and experiences for both consumers and businesses. By standardizing on Wi-Fi 6E, Cisco Meraki and others in the industry can begin delivering next-generation wireless experiences to customers.” 

“Wi-Fi 6E allows the immediate use of promised efficiencies from Wi-Fi 6, providing a spectrum platform for the next phase of lower latency and deterministic Wi-Fi services,” said Charles Cheevers, CTO, Home Networks, CommScope. “We see these expanded capabilities seeding a new generation of high-speed laptops and tablets, applications around Wi-Fi 6E wireless mesh and high-quality video distribution in 8K and VR, and new, time-sensitive services.” 

“With every increase in available bandwidth, new devices and applications come along that leverage that space to provide experiences we never before imagined, yet quickly become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Brand new Wi-Fi spectrum in the 6 GHz range will more than double available Wi-Fi frequencies and have a profound effect on Wi-Fi enabled communications,” said Perry Correll, director of product management, Extreme Networks. “This additional bandwidth not only enables higher Wi-Fi 6 performance with less congestion, but also delivers sufficient spectrum to effectively deploy 80 MHz or 160 MHz-wide channels, severely restricted at 5 GHz. 6 GHz finally and legitimately provides the higher data rates required to drive virtual and augmented reality forward, giving users and organizations the ability to develop a whole new world of use cases.” 

“Access to the 6 GHz spectrum band is vital to ensuring that millions of consumers and businesses have continued access to the latest wireless innovations and capabilities,” said Carlos Cordeiro, senior principal engineer for Intel and technical advisor to the Wi-Fi Alliance Board of Directors. “It will bring increased capacity and better Wi-Fi performance for the highest quality experiences in homes and enterprises. The FCC’s pending decision to open up the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use in the United States is a crucial step in Wi-Fi technology’s evolution to further support widespread wireless device use.”

IoT Innovator Newsletter

Get the latest updates and industry news in your inbox! Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.