Wi-Fi Alliance launches certification for 6E devices

Wi-Fi smartphone
IDC expects Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption in 2021, with more than 338 million devices entering the market. Smartphones, PCs and laptops will be in the first wave.(Getty Images)

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced that its certification program for Wi-Fi 6E is now available to deliver interoperability for devices operating in the 6 GHz spectrum.

In the U.S., the FCC last year voted to open 1,200 megahertz of 6 GHz spectrum for unlicensed uses, and since then, global momentum for Wi-Fi at 6 GHz is increasing every day, according to Kevin Robinson, SVP of Marketing at the Wi-Fi Alliance. Traditionally in the U.S., Wi-Fi has operated in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

The U.K., Europe, Chile, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have all made the decision to use the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi. Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Jordan are making progress toward that end.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceWireless!

The Wireless industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceWireless as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on this increasingly competitive marketplace. Sign up today to get wireless news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

According to Robinson, Wi-Fi Alliance members have really mobilized around Wi-Fi 6E, the designation for devices based on the Wi-Fi 6 standard that is “extended” to work in the 6 GHz band, setting up 2021 to be a breakout year for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E.

“We’re expecting very rapid adoption of Wi-Fi 6E in devices,” with IDC predicting more than 300 million devices with Wi-Fi 6E entering the market in 2021, he said. That’s an incredibly rapid deployment for a technology of this type, he added.

With the virtual CES 2021 kicking off next week, more devices with Wi-Fi 6E are likely to be announced. Broadcom and Qualcomm already have made announcements in the chip arena. It’s not a stretch to expect to hear support for it via the Samsung Galaxy line.

JM Choi, VP/head of Group/Convergence R&D Group at Samsung Electronics, hinted at such in a statement among the many Wi-Fi Alliance members supporting the certification efforts.

“Samsung is proud to work together with the Wi-Fi Alliance in support of the Wi-Fi 6E launch to create a faster and smoother connected experience. As a leading innovator of mobile experiences, we were among the very first to offer Wi-Fi Certified 6 products and look forward to introducing new Galaxy devices able to take advantage of the increased speeds, reduced latency and expanded bandwidth that comes with connecting to frequencies in the 6 GHz band very soon,” Choi stated.

RELATED: Wi-Fi Alliance gears up for 6 GHz opportunity with introduction of Wi-Fi 6E

One of the unique things about Wi-Fi Certified around 6 GHz is the band provides a unique opportunity to get sort of a “clean break” from legacy technologies, Robinson said. At 6 GHz, only Wi-Fi 6 will be operating in the band as opposed to prior generations of the standard, and that’s a requirement of certification.

WPA3, the latest generation for security, also will be applied to the 6 GHz band. Of course, backwards interoperability remains a core tenet of Wi-Fi’s success, and that will be maintained in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

In the 6 GHz band in the U.S., there are up to seven “super wide” 160 MHz channel. One area where that becomes especially relevant is in the use of AR/VR headset. Those types of devices supporting Wi-Fi 6E are likely to come in the middle of 2021.

Wi-Fi 6 was coined prior to getting access to the 6 GHz band, and some confusion around "6" is understandable. The 6E designation means the device extends into the 6 GHz band. But 6E is based on the sixth generation of Wi-Fi technology; it just so happens to get additional benefits by operating in the pristine new 6 GHz frequency band.