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Wi-Fi 6E has dawned! Yesterday’s announcement, marks a momentous occasion where FCC has agreed to open up an additional 1.2GHz of Spectrum to use for unlicensed like WiFi. The Wi-Fi Alliance and industry has called it Wi-Fi 6E – E for Extended. Some reports suggest that it could add as much as $180 billions to the US economy by 2025 and the announcement has a lot of industry folks salivating at that prospect (myself included!).

FCC Increases 5GHz Spectrum for Wi-Fi, Other Unlicensed Uses

However, what really matters is how it benefits heavy Wi-Fi consumers – my daughter is a prime example:
My soon to be a teenager daughter, is hyper connected – to put it mildly. She spends enormous amount of time connected to the Internet. She does her homework (~2-3 hours a week), works on projects (~2-3 hours a week), listens to music (~2-3 hours a week) while doing math – all on the Internet. Additionally, in the current, work-and-play-at-home (aka shelter-in-place) scenario, she’s uses Zoom video conferences for her dance classes (9 hours a week), meets her leadership class over Google Meet (2 hours a week). Finally, of course, she consumes quite a few hours of entertainment a week. It’s like her life revolves around the Internet and she’s clearly not alone.
For her and her generation, Wi-Fi is Internet!

So while the last time Wi-Fi spectrum expanded almost 20-years ago with 5 GHz, the scale of this expansion is enormous – a full 1.2 GHz addition in 6 GHz, which is almost 3x of spectrum we have available today. It’s like constructing a new, wider, freeway looking at today’s congestion and anticipating future traffic growth. Such bandwidth can unlock a many more potential applications:

Of course, it’s going to clearly take some time for this final vision to come to fruition. But I am excited that we are taking the right steps to unleash next generation potential for next generation of consumers – my daughter, her friends, her kids, and so on. And yes, it may take another 10 years before 6 GHz Wi-Fi becomes ubiquitous – but you’ve got to start somewhere!

So while 2020 may be remembered for years as the year of disrupted lives due to COVID-19, at some point, my hope is we also talk about 2020 as the year of positive impact on lives, due to Wi-Fi 6E.
That’s why E in Wi-Fi 6E for me is:

>> Extension,
>> Expansion,
>> Enormous,
and, really
>> Exciting!

Referenced links:
FCC’s Wi-Fi proposals will add $183.44 billion to U.S. economy by 2025
FCC’s Official Announcement
Wi-Fi Alliance® delivers more value from Wi-Fi® in 6 GHz

Abhay Bhorkar
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