Wi-Fi technology is going to have a whole new definition in the coming months as US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to release a plot of spectrum in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. This is the biggest spectrum addition since the FCC cleared the way for Wi-Fi in 1989.
This means that the next generation of Wi-Fi is getting one of its biggest update in 20 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry-wide group that oversees Wi-Fi, has said that it has started to certify the first wave of products with support for Wi-Fi 6E.
“Interoperability certification for Wi-Fi 6E is introduced as global momentum for Wi-Fi operation in the 6 GHz band increases daily. Wi-Fi 6E brings the immense benefits of 6 GHz spectrum to consumers, device manufacturers, and service providers as the band is being made available around the world,” the alliance said in a statement.
Reports suggest that phones, PCs, and laptops with support for Wi-Fi 6E should start arriving in the market this year.
The Wi-Fi Alliance certification will help ensure users receive a secure, reliable, and interoperable experience with Wi-Fi 6E devices.
The decision to open 1200 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi use, has given countries in Europe, Chile, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates to consider the opening up the 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi.
Other countries like Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Jordan are also swiftly progressing towards opening 6 GHz for unlicensed operation.
“Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption in 2021 with more than 338 million devices entering the market, and nearly 20 percent of all Wi-Fi 6 device shipments supporting 6 GHz by 2022,” said research director at IDC, Phil Solis.
“This year, we expect to see new Wi-Fi 6E chipsets from several companies, and a variety of new Wi-Fi 6E smartphones, PCs, and laptops in the first quarter of 2021 followed by TVs and VR product announcements midyear,” Solis added.
Wi-Fi 6E is touted to offer better performance than Wi-Fi 6. In terms of security, it utilises certification from cutting-edge WPA3 security that continually evolves to address market needs.
The technology has been updated to accommodate support for an even more robust password generation, mitigate additional attacks, and further protect and maintain privacy on Wi-Fi networks.
“Worldwide interoperability for Wi-Fi 6E devices promotes rapid adoption and innovation in 6 GHz,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance.
“Users will soon experience unprecedented Wi-Fi that significantly improves applications and delivers new use cases that will change their connected experiences.”
Though the technology has not even be released, the upcoming generation of Samsung smartphones, like the Galaxy S21 series, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor can support Wi-Fi 6E.
“Cisco is proud to work alongside Wi-Fi Alliance to ensure the 6 GHz spectrum is available for unlicensed use, providing a foundation for unlimited innovation. Wi-Fi 6E represents significant advancements in security, reliability and performance, which has never been more important as Wi-Fi traffic continues to grow exponentially,” said Wireless CTO at Cisco, Matt MacPherson.
Chipset maker MediaTek said that it will continue to expand its portfolio with Wi-Fi 6E certified solutions as part of the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new Wi-Fi 6E certification programme.