When it comes to WiFi, there are currently several options available to businesses. In the last couple of years WiFi 6, and more recently WiFi 6e, have become the norm for businesses looking to invest in their wireless networking infrastructure. Both offer improved speed, increased capacity, and better performance for connected devices over their predecessor, WiFi 5. However, depending on the business’s unique needs, one might be a better fit than the other. To help you make an informed decision, this article will discuss the key differences between WiFi 6 and WiFi 6e so you can choose the right one for your business.
WiFi 6, or 802.11ax, is the sixth-generation wireless networking standard that provides higher speeds and better performance than its predecessors. It builds on the technical foundation of previous WiFi standards by adding features designed to support the increasing number of devices accessing wireless networks today. With a maximum transfer rate of 9.6 Gbps and four times greater capacity than its predecessor, WiFi 6 is an ideal choice for applications with large data requirements such as streaming video and gaming services.
This next-generation WiFi standard offers several advantages over earlier versions in terms of speed, power efficiency, and reliability. As more users adopt this technology, they will experience improved performance while reducing their energy consumption at the same time. Additionally, WiFi 6 is designed to provide better coverage in congested areas with multiple devices connected to a single network.
WiFi 6e is the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology that enables faster speeds and more reliable connections. It is an extension to the existing WiFi 6 (802.11ax) standard, and adds support for operation in the 6GHz band. This means it can provide additional capacity and more available channels compared to existing WiFi standards.
WiFi 6e devices leverage the expanded spectrum in order to deliver faster speeds, lower latency and improved reliability, particularly in areas with high levels of interference or congestion due to multiple users sharing a single connection. The new standard also offers greater security through enhanced encryption technologies such as WPA3 and OFDMA, allowing data transmissions to be better protected from hackers or other malicious actors.
WiFi 6 offers businesses a range of benefits. The enhanced performance and speed of WiFi 6 allow businesses to better manage their networks and increase network capacity. The improved security features also provide greater protection against cyber-attacks, while the reduced power consumption can help reduce costs.
The faster speeds offered by WiFi 6 reduce latency in networks, allowing businesses to take advantage of applications that require high bandwidths such as video conferencing or virtual reality. This helps employees be more productive when working remotely or on-the-go. Additionally, the increased reliability of WiFi 6 makes it easier for companies to manage multiple devices connected to their networks at once without having to worry about slow connection speeds or other issues arising from overloading the network.
Here are some of the top benefits of WiFi 6:
WiFi 6e is the latest version of WiFi technology. It offers businesses much of the same businesses as WiFi 6, but WiFi 6e has its own special weapon which sets it apart from its older brothers and sisters. WiFi 6e was rolled out in 2020, shortly after the FCC voted to open up 6GHz bands for use for mainstream WiFi signals.
As you’ve probably already guessed, WiFi 6e is currently the only WiFi standard able to utilise this frequency band and drastically reduce signal interference. You can think of WiFi 6e as an additional lane of the M25 that allows an exclusive club of traffic to overtake everyone else stuck in 50mph, rush-hour traffic.
The 6GHz frequency band was designed for the common workloads of wireless networking in the 2020s, offering a further 59 additional 20MHz channels and 29 additional 40MHz channels. A huge bonus of 6GHz is its multi-gigabit, low latency connections that make it an optimal option for 4K and 8K media streaming, large file uploading, virtual reality apps, and HD video conferencing.
WiFi 6e’s low latency drastically reduces the time it takes to transfer data from one point of a new to another by up to 75% when compared with WiFi 5, and its this that makes it ideal for businesses that are utilising new technologies to either speed up their work streams or to provide customers with services that rely on these high speeds and reliable latencies.
Here are some of the top benefits of WiFi 6e:
WiFi 6 and WiFi 6e both also utilise WPA3, a security standard released in 2018, which provides more secure encryption of WiFi data thanks to Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) replacing the Pre-Shared Key (PSK) authentication method that was used in the likes of WPA2 and its predecessors. For those businesses still utilising WPA2 Enterprise, WPA3 extends the length of its encryption keys from 128 bits to 192 bits for enhanced security and increased difficulty of attack.
Both standards also utilise a WiFi standard named Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE) which allows for open wireless connections while still encrypting network traffic using secret keys that the WiFi users don't need to know. This is especially helpful for businesses that provide guest WiFi networks, that may previously have been utilising PSK to encrypt this connection, because the user would need to know your passphrases. OWE offers your users convenience, while still protecting you from the types of attack commonly carried out against previous generations of open networks.
Despite WiFi 6 and 6e’s clear improvements over WiFi 5, there are still some challenges that it can’t overcome on its own. While faster speeds, less network congestion and stronger capacities sounds like the dream solution, WiFi 6 may actually be a step too far into the future for your business, depending on your IT infrastructure.
We’ll cover all of these challenges in a future article, but for now take a look at some of the current drawbacks on WiFi 6 and 6e:
When you consider the big picture, it’s clear that WiFi 6 and WiFi 6e offer a range of benefits to businesses. The higher speeds and improved coverage that come with the latest technology can help maximise efficiency and productivity in the workplace, while the cost savings of WiFi 6e can be attractive to businesses who are looking to operate on a budget. If you’re considering the move to a new WiFi technology why not get in touch and have a chat with one of our WiFi experts.