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Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E vs Wi-Fi 7: How to Choose?

Posted on Nov 10, 2023 by
6.9k

In recent years, Wi-Fi technology has undergone several significant updates, and each release has generated widespread excitement. From the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 to the implementation of Wi-Fi 6E and the future development of Wi-Fi 7, the emergence of these new standards and technologies has made people feel like they are riding the waves of the internet.

This article will take you on an in-depth exploration of these different versions of Wi-Fi technology, including their features, distinctions, and prospects. By comparing Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and Wi-Fi 7, we aim to help you better understand them and apply these technologies more effectively in your daily life and work, meeting the ever-growing demands of wireless connectivity. Let's embark on this journey of exploration together and unveil the new facets of Wi-Fi technology.

What Is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, also known as IEEE 802.11ax, is the next-generation wireless networking standard that follows Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11ac). It offers users faster speeds, increased capacity, and lower latency, allowing for quicker file downloads and uploads, seamless device connections, and smoother online experiences. This makes it an excellent option for wireless communication in modern homes and office environments.

What Is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E, an extension of Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), leverages the wider spectrum available in the 6 GHz frequency range to accommodate new use cases and applications that demand high-bandwidth, low-latency connections. This includes activities like 4K/8K streaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud gaming. Additionally, it offers advantages for IoT devices by providing an efficient means to connect and communicate within this expanded spectrum.

Wi-Fi 7 VS Wi-Fi 6E VS Wi-Fi 6: What Is The Difference?

What Is Wi-Fi 7?

Wi-Fi 7 (IEEE 802.11be) is the next generation of Wi-Fi wireless standard currently under development. Similar to Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 wireless access points and clients will operate on the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz radio to fully utilize spectrum resources. However, its main highlight is Extremely High Throughput (EHT) , aiming to provide astonishing speeds for each device with higher efficiency. If you are experiencing issues with consistent buffering, latency, or congestion, a Wi-Fi 7 wireless access point may be your best solution.

Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E vs Wi-Fi 7

The continuous development of Wi-Fi technology has provided faster and more stable wireless connections. Currently, Wi-Fi 6 is stable in various production environments. It has gained widespread adoption in the consumer wireless access point market. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi 6E is just beginning to be deployed in enterprises, offering broader wireless spectrum and faster speeds. The next-generation Wi-Fi technology, Wi-Fi 7, is currently under development and is expected to have its specifications finalized by 2024.

So, what are the differences between Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 7? Let's explore the distinctions in the comparison table below. Understanding these differences can be highly beneficial in choosing the wireless network technology that best suits your needs.

Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi 7
Launch Date
2019
2021
2024 (expected)
IEEE Standard
802.11ax
802.11ax
802.11be
Bands
2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz
(Devices must be 6 GHz enabled)
2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz
(Devices must be 6 GHz enabled)
Max Data Rate
9.6 Gbps
9.6 Gbps
46 Gbps
Channel Size
20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz
20, 40, 80, 80+80, 160 MHz
Up to 320 MHz
Modulation
1024-QAM OFDMA
1024-QAM OFDMA
4096-QAM OFDMA (with extensions)
MIMO
8×8 UL/DL MU-MIMO
8×8 UL/DL MU-MIMO
16×16 UL/DL MU-MIMO
RU
RU
RU
Multi-RUs
MAC
/
/
MLO
Security
WPA3
WPA3
WPA3
Compatibility
Devices not compatible with Wi-Fi 6E standard.
Backward compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and earlier Wi-Fi standards.
Backward compatible with Wi-Fi 6E and earlier Wi-Fi standards.
Features
OFDMA enhances bandwidth utilization;
MU-MIMO improves the multi-user experience;
1024-QAM ensures faster data transmission;
TWT extends battery life, reducing maintenance and charging needs.
Includes all features of Wi-Fi 6;
Expansive 6 GHz band capacity;
160 MHz channels to achieve a higher rate;
Immune to microwave interference.
Includes all features of Wi-Fi 6E;
4.8× faster speed, up to 46 Gbps;
Up to 320 MHz on 6 GHz;
20% higher theoretical transmission rates;
Multi-link operation (MLO) for aggregating channels.
Application
Ideal for dense environments like enterprises, campuses, or public places, providing stable connections for multiple devices.
Suited for bandwidth-intensive and low-latency applications like unified communications, AR/VR, and more.
Perfect for future wireless communication needs such as smart cities, large-scale Internet of Things (IoT), advanced medical equipment, and ultra-high-definition media transmission.

Which One Should You Go For?

Wi-Fi 6: Suitable for Most Scenarios

In 2019, Wi-Fi 6 made its debut, bringing us faster speeds and improved performance. This standard supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, offering higher capacity and the ability to connect more devices simultaneously. If your organization operates on shorter IT budget cycles and aims to stay at the forefront of technology, then Wi-Fi 6 is a wise choice.

Wi-Fi 6E: Addressing Spectrum Congestion

With the arrival of Wi-Fi 6E in 2021, we welcomed a more extensive 6GHz frequency band, providing additional available spectrum. Wi-Fi 6E has become an ideal solution for addressing spectrum congestion challenges, especially in densely populated areas like schools, airports, and stadiums. It delivers faster data transfer speeds, improved network efficiency, and lower latency, making it suitable for data-intensive applications such as 4K/8K video streaming and AR/VR.

Wi-Fi 7: The Future of Connectivity

Wi-Fi 7 represents the future of Wi-Fi technology, although its specifications and features are yet to be finalized. It is expected to deliver ultra-fast speeds, massive capacity, and lower latency. However, many devices may not be compatible with Wi-Fi 7 in the next few years. If you have higher network requirements and budget support, waiting for the maturity of Wi-Fi 7 could be a strategic choice.

Summary

Comparison of Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and Wi-Fi 7 reveals their respective advantages. Your choice should be based on your network requirements, device compatibility, and IT budget. If you aim to stay at the forefront of technology, upgrading to Wi-Fi 6E and considering Wi-Fi 7 in the future might be a suitable path. However, if your current network already meets your needs, an immediate upgrade may not be necessary. As more devices support the new standards, transitioning to Wi-Fi 7 could become more advantageous. During this transition period, Wi-Fi 6/6E will continue to provide excellent performance while ensuring your network remains up to date.

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