It's the biggest change to Wi-Fi in nearly three decades, and it's finally here – it offers additional throughput and more space for your data to stretch your legs and get started.
The change? Wi-Fi 6e, a new wireless signal standard that extends the existing Wi-Fi 6 router specification and opens up a third frequency range in the 6 GHz range, which is higher than the 5 GHz and 5 GHz used by existing Wi-Fi devices 2.4 GHz values. It's more than just a futuristic spec, however.
At CES 2021, Netgear announced the new Nighthawk RAXE500 tri-band router, one of the world's first Wi-Fi 6e routers. It will be available for around $ 600 in the first quarter of 2021.
The router has up to 200% more available spectrum than dual-band devices. With speeds up to 10.8 Gbps, you should be able to stream Netflix to your heart's content throughout your home.
"The proliferation of Wi-Fi over the past few decades has emphasized first the 2.4 GHz band and then the 5 GHz band with Wi-Fi 4, 5 and 6," said Phil Solis, director of research at IDC. "As regulators around the world open up the 6 GHz band, Wi-Fi 6e networks allow enabled devices to use large channels even in dense and congested areas with higher average data rates and lower latency."
It is not alone. At the end of last week, Asus announced the launch of the ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, also dubbed the world's first Wi-Fi 6e router. The ROG Rapture supports combined simultaneous Wi-Fi speeds of up to almost 1,1000 Mbit / s, according to Asus: 1,148 Mbit / s in the 2.4 GHz band, 4,804 Mbit / s in the 5 GHz band and 4,804 Mbit / s s in the 6 GHz band. Whichever company hits the market first, your internet is going to go up in flames.
The FCC officially voted to approve Wi-Fi 6e in April 2020 and opened 1,200 MHz of the 6 GHz spectrum. The agency found that Wi-Fi 6 will be more than two and a half times faster than the current standard and will provide better performance to American consumers. Just in time for CES, the Wi-Fi Alliance – the trading group that is driving the adoption of Wi-Fi – announced that it is ready to certify devices as compliant. In other words, let's go!
But a router is not enough, even the best router in the world. You need devices that support 6e too – and since Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 888 processor for phones in December that supports Wi-Fi 6e, we expect new phones and laptops to fully support it in 2021. In particular, we've heard rumors galore about the Samsung Galaxy S21 we're expecting at CES. The Samsung Galaxy phones were at the forefront of the new technology and will likely support the new 6GHz technology. Make sure other flagship phones catch up quickly.
Curious about the bloody details? Wi-Fi 6e works similarly to Wi-Fi 6 at 5 GHz today, but the implementation does not include overlapping channels, so you get 14 additional 80 MHz channels and seven additional 160 MHz channels. The good news: Any device marked as Wi-Fi 6e compatible is backward compatible with older Wi-Fi routers, but you won't get any of the benefits of the 6 GHz band.