For two decades, Wi-Fi® has been limited to two open frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. However, with the influx of applications and devices demanding more bandwidth, it was time for a change — one that began to materialize just a few short years ago. In a unanimous vote in April 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened up spectrum in the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band, unleashing an additional 1,200 megahertz (MHz) of bandwidth for unlicensed use — nearly quadrupling the available airspace to make way for the next generation of connected devices. In fact, this is the largest increase in available spectrum since the FCC opened the air for Wi-Fi in the late 80s-early 90s.
Until now, Wi-Fi 6 has been delivering a solid broadband experience by effectively managing connected devices on crowded networks, delivering sufficiently fast speeds and performance on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It is already well-established and featured in most of the latest smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi routers, among other devices. Introduced in 2020, Wi-Fi 6E boasts all the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 with the added benefit of connecting compatible devices to the newly available 6GHz band. Not only is the 6GHz band more than twice as wide as its 5GHz predecessor, but it is also only accessible with the latest high-performance Wi-Fi 6E (and soon-to-be Wi-Fi 7) devices – further avoiding the load and latency caused by inefficient legacy devices that congest the home network.
As with all emerging tech, the rollout has been gradual but highly anticipated by tech enthusiasts privy to the significance of the 6GHz band and its capabilities. Some current Wi-Fi 6E-supported devices include many Samsung Galaxy products like the S21 Ultra, the S22+ and Ultra, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Additionally, the Motorola Edge, the Google Pixel 6, and the newest Pixel 7 and 7 Pro round out the latest Wi-Fi 6E mobile devices. In January, Apple announced the release of the 14- and 16-inch 2023 MacBook Pro, which supports Wi-Fi 6E for enhanced connectivity. The best news? The 6GHz band is so wide that, even as thousands of other connected devices continue to crop up, there will be plenty of open airwaves to support them all.
And with Wi-Fi 7 devices set to hit the market this year, the spacious 6GHz spectrum is already extending its reach to deliver even more for early adopters. The SURFboard® G54 DOCSIS 3.1 Wi-Fi 7 cable modem, available from CommScope mid-2023 in US markets, will take innovation to the next level, maximizing the potential of multi-gig Internet plans. Equipped with the latest quad-band technology and intelligent channel management, the SURFboard G54 directs every device on the network to the optimal band, delivering unparalleled performance and a whole-home Wi-Fi experience that sees minimal interference.
For consumers and solution providers alike, the time is now to invest in the future of Wi-Fi. The 6GHz band is here and it’s opening doors for unlimited possibilities, ready to fully support the wave of next-generation devices already on their way to connected homes across the globe. CommScope Home Networks recently hit the US retail market with two incredible upgrade kits supported by Wi-Fi 6E. Explore the SURFboard Thruster™ Gaming Acceleration Kit that delivers a dedicated 6GHz connection for low-latency gaming on the latest Xbox Series X or PS5 that blows past old congested channels. Or check out the next-level, whole-home Wi-Fi experience delivered by the SURFboard Wi-Fi 6E Network Upgrade Kit, a system designed to upgrade the entire home network without replacing existing equipment. With the increasing accessibility of Wi-Fi 6E devices and more to come from Wi-Fi 7, opportunities abound in the 6GHz band.
Stay tuned for more information on Wi-Fi 6E and soon-to-come Wi-Fi 7 devices.
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