Broadcom gears up for 6 GHz band with 6E products

Broadcom is ready for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to unleash the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi, announcing Wi-Fi 6E solutions for the band. The “6E” designation means Wi-Fi 6 devices are capable of operating in the 6 GHz band.

While the FCC has yet to formally unleash the band, Broadcom notes that doing so would enable up to 1,200 MHz of spectrum for Wi-Fi use, which WLAN access point (AP) manufacturers can leverage to deliver faster speeds, higher capacity and lower latency without congestion from legacy devices.

Broadcom is offering a suite of 6 GHz AP systems-on-a-chip solutions for enterprise and residential deployments. It’s showcasing its latest solutions at the 2020 International CES in Las Vegas this week, where it received a nice shoutout from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. 

"As momentum accelerates around availability of 6 GHz, Broadcom is excited to be on the forefront of Wi-Fi technology paving the way for ecosystem adoption of Wi-Fi 6E. With the industry's broadest portfolio of Wi-Fi 6E silicon, we will enable our customers to build a variety of products that unlock the tremendous potential of 6 GHz spectrum,” said Greg Fischer, senior vice president and general manager of the Broadband Carrier Access Products Division at Broadcom, in a press release. “This announcement demonstrates Broadcom’s continued leadership and unwavering commitment in driving the next Wi-Fi evolution for enterprise and residential WLAN as well as mobile devices.”

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“Wi-Fi 6E allows the immediate use of promised efficiencies of Wi-Fi 6, providing a spectrum platform for the next phase of lower latency and deterministic Wi-Fi services,” said Charles Cheevers, CTO, Home Networks at CommScope, in a statement. “As well as seeding a new high-speed generation of laptops and tablets, we see applications emerging quickly around Wi-Fi 6E wireless mesh, high-quality video distribution to 8K and VR requirements as well as the ability to enable deterministic low latency connections for new timing sensitive services.”  

“Wi-Fi 6 is already delivering many improvements versus prior Wi-Fi generations. Clean, uncluttered spectrum in the 6 GHz band will enable a new paradigm in wireless, creating a Wi-Fi ‘Super Highway’ that further increases density and dramatically increases Wi-Fi 6 network performance with the availability of more than fifty 20-MHz channels, as well as new 80-MHz and 160-MHz-wide channels. Broadcom is leading the industry in developing Wi-Fi 6E solutions to take advantage of this new spectrum, which will allow enterprises across industries to unlock new and yet-to-be imagined digitally immersive experiences and conveniences that truly advance society,” said Extreme Networks CTO Eric Broockman.

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Pai noted Broadcom's achievement during his appearance at CES on Tuesday. “It’s unimaginable what the benefits could be,” in releasing the amount of spectrum they’re talking about with the 6 GHz band, he said.

The band is currently used by microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety and wireless backhaul, but as Pai noted last year, studies have shown that sharing the band with unlicensed operations is feasible and can put massive amounts of new spectrum into the hands of consumers.  

Chris Szymanski, director of product marketing and government affairs at Broadcom, told FierceWireless last month that things looked encouraging for the band and its prospects for Wi-Fi. He and colleagues have been looking at the band for several years and found it to be the ideal band to address the unlicensed crunch. The band is perfect for sharing, and Wi-Fi by its very nature is predicated on sharing.