Wi-Fi 6E: When it’s coming and what it’s good for

New wireless spectrum recently dedicated to Wi-Fi allows for more channels and higher density deployments, but gear to support it won’t be widely deployed until 2020, according to an Extreme Networks exec.

Internet of Things (IoT) / security alert / wireless network management
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This spring the FCC opened up a new swath of unlicensed wireless spectrum in the 6GHz band that’s intended for use with Wi-Fi and can provide lower latency and faster data rates. The new spectrum also has a shorter range and supports more channels than bands that were already dedicated to Wi-Fi, making it suitable for deployment in high-density areas like stadiums.

To further understand what Wi-Fi 6E is and how it differs from Wi-Fi 6, I recently talked with Perry Correll, director of product management for networking solutions vendor Extreme Networks.

Kerravala: Wi-Fi 6 seems to be getting a lot of hype but not Wi-Fi 6E. Why?

Correll: There’s so much confusion around all the 666 numbers, it’ll scare you to death. You’ve got Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E – and Wi-Fi 6 still has additional enhancements coming after that, with multi-user multiple input, multiple output (multi-user MIMO) functionalities. Then there’s the 6GHz spectrum, but that’s not where Wi-Fi 6 gets its name from: It’s the sixth generation of Wi-Fi. On top of all that, we are just getting a handle 5G and there already talking about 6G – seriously, look it up – it's going to get even more confusing.

Kerravala: Why do we need Wi-Fi 6E versus regular Wi-Fi 6?

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