Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E router: what to buy?

Wi-Fi 6E will arrive in the African countries to improve our wireless home connections. The first compatible Wi-Fi routers are also gradually coming on the market... should we crack yet ?

Aug 21, 2021 - 08:39
Jan 18, 2023 - 19:41
Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E router: what to buy?

The Wi-Fi 6 standard is not even fully installed on our equipment that is already knocking on the door its successor : the Wi-Fi 6E. What changes this new standard compared to the previous one, and should we equip accordingly? It is to these questions that we will try to answer in this article

What is Wi-Fi 6E, and what are the differences from Wi-Fi 6?

Formalized in 2019, the Wi-Fi 6 standard brought a severe performance gain compared to Wi-Fi 5, with a consequent increase in theoretical maximum bitrates, better bandwidth, reduced latency, and multi-user MU-MIMO functionality working both in send and receive, where Wi-Fi 5 limited it to receive.

This time, Wi-Fi 6E comes to improve the wireless communication protocol in a new way. Indeed, it does not support faster speeds, but it opens access to a brand new frequency band, the 6 GHz. It operates between 5945 and 6425 MHz, while routers and other devices supporting previous generations are content with the traditional 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

Why is the 6 GHz band of Wi-Fi 6E influential?

The 6 GHz frequency band is exceptional, but its openness to our Wi-Fi devices will relieve the already exploited bands, which are now very often saturated. Distributing the load between three frequency bands instead of two will thus help to ease congestion in the network.

One of the problems with Wi-Fi currently is that the 5 GHz frequency band, which offers the best performance, is shared with other types of equipment, such as weather radars and satellites, which are prioritized. The 2.4 GHz band, which has a better range, can conflict with Bluetooth for example.

In addition, our Internet consumption and therefore our connection needs are constantly evolving. And the trend is not about to slow down, as many users still have to switch to fibre optics and demand for video streaming

By adding the option of 6 GHz, we can access new channels and a much more enjoyable experience; the key is speed gains and latency reduction, all in a practical and not theoretical way this time.

Already adopted by the United States in 2020, it took until the end of the first half of 2021 for the European Commission to announce the validation of Wi-Fi 6E in Africa. It must be said that the EU member countries had to work on harmonizing the use of the 6 GHz frequency band to reach an agreement, the difficulty coming from the fact that several countries were already using it for different tasks. In Kenya, for example, these frequencies are needed for radio television and railway signalling.

Read Also:

The best Android keyboards in 2023

The EU finally managed to unlock a 480 MHz frequency spectrum for Wi-Fi technology. This is much less than in the United States, where 1,200 MHz were released, and in Africa, only LPI (Low Power Indoor devices of which operator boxes and routers are part) and VLP (Very Low Power)

From a practical point of view, African countries have until 1 December 2021 to grant their frequencies to the new regulations, and it is not yet known when precisely the 6 GHz frequency band will be exploited in Kenya by the Wi-Fi protocol. A matter of months, no doubt. 

Should I buy a Wi-Fi 6 or a Wi-Fi 6E router?

So the question arises: is it relevant to anticipate and invest now in a Wi-Fi 6E router, or is a Wi-Fi 6 router still sufficient to this day?

Currently, it isn't easy to take advantage of the full power of its fibre connection at 1 Gbps in Wi-Fi because of the limits mentioned above. This requires an Ethernet cable, but it is not always convenient, especially on mobile devices. Wi-Fi 6E should help make the most of the potential of your connection.

Like any new technology, the democratization of this new standard will take place very gradually. Internet providers will probably not rush to update their boxes and make them Wi-Fi 6E compatible.

Buying a 6E Wi-Fi router would become the best solution to benefit from this frequency band, but the prices charged are pretty discouraging. If you already have a Wi-Fi 6 router in your possession, it does not seem necessary to invest in a Wi-Fi 6E router today, better to wait for the rates to drop, especially since it will have to wait a little bit before the 6 GHz frequency band is actually usable.

However, if you need a new router now, it may be legitimate to think that it is better to buy a Wi-Fi 6E router that will last longer if we plan to use this technology in the medium term. This will depend on how many Wi-Fi 6E enabled devices you feel you have in your possession. They are still relatively few at the moment, we can mention the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, but only premium devices can boast of supporting this new generation of protocol. If you do not want to acquire a compatible high-end device, you can settle for a Wi-Fi 6 router and think about a change in a few years, when Wi-Fi 6E will be democratized.

Read Also:

A new era of technology: revolutionary innovations in the world of gadgets

What's Your Reaction?








Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.