The biggest Wi-Fi upgrade in decades is starting to arrive


Wi-Fi is about to improve. Most of this year’s new phones, laptops, TVs, routers, and more will support Wi-Fi 6E, a new upgrade to Wi-Fi that basically involves expanding your wireless connection from one road to two. lanes to an eight-lane highway. Highway. It’s the biggest upgrade to Wi-Fi in 20 years, and connections should be faster and a lot more reliable thanks to it.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that oversees Wi-Fi, is now starting to certify the first wave of products that support Wi-Fi 6E. Phones, PCs and laptops with support are expected to start hitting the market in the first few months of 2021, according to research group IDC, and TVs and VR devices with support are expected to arrive by middle of the year.

Some of the first devices are expected to be announced within the next week. During CES, which kicks off on January 11, routing companies will get a glimpse of what they have to come for the year. Samsung also plans to announce its next flagship phones, the Galaxy S21 series, and some, if not all, of them are likely to support 6E Wi-Fi thanks to the Snapdragon 888 processor. Supported, Wi-Fi 6E is expected to be present in most of this year’s top Android phones.

Wi-Fi 6E is such an upgrade because it relies on a huge expansion of the wireless airwaves available for consumer devices. In April 2020, the Federal Communications Commission opened up this new broad band of spectrum in the United States, but new hardware was needed to use it. Almost a year later, we’re finally starting to see devices with these capabilities.

Existing Wi-Fi devices operate on two spectrum bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Wi-Fi 6E adds a third – 6 GHz – and there are many more, quadrupling the total amount of waves used for typical Wi-Fi. This means you can have bigger and faster connections and the airwaves are less likely to be congested. In an apartment building, for example, your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks can interfere with yours. But with Wi-Fi 6E, there’s a lot more bandwidth to cover, so there’s less chance of you arguing on the exact same airwaves.

However, it will be some time before most new devices ship with Wi-Fi 6E. Not all new gadgets even ship with standard Wi-Fi 6 yet, and this version of Wi-Fi started rolling out about two years ago. By early 2022, IDC expects only 20% of Wi-Fi 6 shipping products to also support Wi-Fi 6E.

Another obstacle is the support of regulators around the world. Although the United States has approved the use of 6 GHz waves, communications regulators in other countries must also approve spectrum for Wi-Fi use. The Wi-Fi Alliance claims that the UK, EU, South Korea, Chile and UAE have all given the go-ahead to allow the use of 6 GHz for Wi-Fi, while regulators in Brazil, Canada, in Mexico and Japan are among others. where progress is being made.

“There is absolute momentum, and it is built around [6GHz] available for Wi-Fi, ”said Kevin Robinson, Wi-Fi Alliance Marketing Manager The edge.

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