New mobile devices and computers are released each year, boasting support for the latest generation of WiFi technology. The iPhone 13 Pro supports WiFi 6. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra supports WiFi 6E. What does that all mean? And what are the benefits of the newest generation, WiFi 6E?
WiFi 6 Benefits
WiFi 6 has been out for a few years now. The main benefit is a not just theoretical boost in speed but an improvement to your overall network with several devices on it. Since most people have multiple devices on their network (mobile phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, smart speakers, light bulbs, door locks, etc.), network congestion is a real issue. This is one of the leading causes of the dreaded Slow Internet problem. WiFi 6 set out to solve this.
At first, Wi-Fi 6 connections aren’t likely to be substantially faster. A single Wi-Fi 6 laptop connected to a Wi-Fi 6 router may only be slightly faster than a single Wi-Fi 5 laptop connected to a Wi-Fi 5 router.
The story starts to change as more and more devices get added onto your network. Where current routers might start to get overwhelmed by requests from a multitude of devices, Wi-Fi 6 routers are designed to more effectively keep all those devices up to date with the data they need.The Verge
What About WiFi 6E?
WiFi 6 was more about the stability of the network than a considerable speed boost per device (though if you have a WiFi 6 device very close to a WiFi 6 router, you would definitely see a boost). So what does WiFi 6E bring to the table?
The big advance in Wi-Fi 6E is a TON more spectrum/channels — adding 14 new 80-MHz channels! This will make 160 MHz channels actually usable and commonplace — instantly doubling throughput over the prior Wi-Fi 5/6 with 80 MHz channels.Duckware
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Some major speed improvement. Wi-Fi 6E is not actually a new WiFi protocol. It’s moving the existing Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) into a very large section of new spectrum. This is huge. With all this new spectrum, this means you’ll have a smaller chance of congestion and overlapping spectrum with other WiFi networks near you.
The chances of sharing spectrum with another device/neighbour will be greatly reduced. You should then have your own 160 MHz channel all to yourself, potentially doubling throughput (vs an 80 MHz channel).Duckware
This could mean literally doubling your WiFi speed while also increasing reliability. Of course, this is also possible right now because very few people have WiFi 6E routers and devices. The more people who have those setups, the more these spectrums will be in use. However, the inherent technology does mean most people will receive and keep a decent boost in speeds.
WiFi 6E in Action
Check out this video showing a direct comparsion between the iPhone 13 (with WiFi 6) and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (with WiFi 6E):
How Do I Get WiFi 6E?
It’s not even supported by most devices yet. There are a few, and more and more are coming out each month. Check the device’s tech specs you’re interested in to see if it is supported.
Then you’ll need a WiFi 6E capable access point. Eero’s latest device supports 6E, but it’s $429, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth upgrading now if so few of your devices support the new technology.
Eventually, all new devices will support WiFi 6E, but seeing as how it’s been available since 2020, it will take a long time before every part of the chain is updated, especially the routers in people’s homes.