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Wi-Fi 6E in the Official Journal: what exactly does it change for us?

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Written by Guillaume
Publication date: {{ dayjs(1639637557*1000).local().format("L").toString()}}
This article is an automatic translation

During 2020, more and more devices were switching to Wi-Fi 6, but now we are already talking about Wi-Fi 6E with a tidal wave expected in 2022.

The decision n°2021-2184 dated October 14th finally gave substance to the Wi-Fi 6E standard in its legal use on the French territory. Since December 1st, the decision has been published in the Journal Officiel and we can therefore consider that the new wireless access standard is now perfectly usable in France. But apart from a little extra letter, what does this Wi-Fi 6E imply and why is it so much "better" than a Wi-Fi 6 that is still very recent? First of all, let's remember that Wi-Fi 6 was already the occasion for some particularly useful technical innovations.

For example, Wi-Fi 6 integrates the MU-MIMO functionality that allows several connected devices to communicate with each other - in both directions - whereas Wi-Fi 5 was limited to reception only. Wi-Fi 6 allowed up to eight devices per dedicated channel and was complemented by OFDMA, a technique for multiplexing and coding data. The purpose of this was to subdivide a single channel into several sub-channels in order to allow the connection of many more devices at the same time. Finally, Wi-Fi 6 promised better speeds thanks to the modulation of the 1024 QAM signal and a limitation of the interference between the connected devices thanks to the BSS Coloring which came to "color" differently the data of each device.

While retaining these various achievements, Wi-Fi 6E finds room for innovation and the publication in the Official Journal is symptomatic of this new progress. Indeed, the "E" comes here for extended or extended in good French. To do this, we are no longer satisfied with the frequency bands 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and we extend the Wi-Fi on the 6 GHz band. In the video above, the Wi-Fi Alliance comes back on the contributions of such a change, but let's summarize things a bit. First of all, the 6 GHz frequency band has the advantage of being free of other devices where 2.4 GHz for example had to deal with the "presence" of Bluetooth or microwave ovens.

This new frequency band is also an opportunity to increase considerably the theoretical speed since we must be able to reach 11 Gb / s. Of course, this is only a theory and combining all channels. Nevertheless, a smartphone on the 160 MHz channel of the 6 GHz band should still be able to reach a theoretical throughput of 2 Gb/s. Nice performance. In addition, Wi-Fi 6E will free up a lot of channels. Thus, when on the 20 MHz, the 2.4 GHz band allowed only 3 channels and the 5 GHz only 25 channels, we take advantage of 59 channels on the 6 GHz. Not to spoil anything, several players in the sector indicate that the signal will be more able to cross the most troublesome partitions: Broadcom mentions speeds of 1.4 Gb/s over a distance of 7 meters.

However, like any technical innovation, the transition to Wi-Fi 6E will not be without "bumps". Of course, in order for your laptop or smartphone to take advantage of it, it will have to be Wi-Fi 6E compatible, which will mean buying a new device. More importantly, your network infrastructure must be able to exploit the 6 GHz frequency band. Here we are talking about a router: the first 6E Wi-Fi routers are significantly more expensive than the older models. After all, you don't have to take everything at once: a 6E Wi-Fi device can very well connect to a Wi-Fi 5 router and vice versa. It's just that you won't benefit from the improvements of the new standard. Let's hope that things will evolve smoothly until the adoption is more massive.