What’s Wi-Fi 6E and how is different from Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6E is the new standard that uses the 6GHz band to offer higher speeds, while Wi-Fi 6 only offer better device handling using the 5GHz like Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 6E router (RAXE500)
Wi-Fi 6E router (RAXE500) / source Netgear

Wi-Fi 6E is the next step in wireless networking. Although Wi-Fi 6 is the newest generation of wireless connectivity, Wi-Fi 6E aims to enhance the standard.

To better understand the new technology, we have to take a step back and explain the current wireless version. In 2021, Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of the “802.11” standard, usually referred to as “Wi-Fi.”

Technically, the correct term for the standard is 802.11AX, but since it is a complicated name to remember, the Wi-Fi Alliance opted for a much simpler marketing name, Wi-Fi 6. For reference, the last version was the 802.11AC, but now it is also referred to as Wi-Fi 5.

When comparing the speed between Wi-Fi 6 and 5, both generations offer more or less the same experience since both technologies use the same 5GHz spectrum to send and receive data. However, generation 6 introduces new ways to handle multiple data transmission across devices without degrading performance, which was a problem with generation 5.

If we get deeper into speed, yes, Wi-Fi 6 is around 30 percent faster than the previous generation as a result of better data handling and the increase in Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) from 256 to 1024, which allows capable devices to send a bigger chunk of data at a time, resulting on higher speeds.

What’s Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E (the “E” stands for “Expanded”) is another revision of the standard that promises faster speeds. Up until Wi-Fi 6, wireless networks could only use the unlicensed 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, but now wireless devices can also use the 6GHz band. And the 6GHz band opens up the opportunity for higher transfer speeds.

So, with Wi-Fi 6E, you get devices (routers, access points, computers, and phones) that make use of the 6GHz band to offer multiple gigabits per second speeds. However, since Wi-Fi 6E is backward compatible, you can still connect older devices to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

At the time of this writing, Wi-Fi 6E still in the early days, and not many devices support it. However, we are now slowly starting to see more companies adopting the standard.

It is important to note that while this is still Wi-Fi 6, the new technology requires new hardware, which means that there won’t be a software update on Windows 10 to go from 6 to 6E. Also, no every country has opened up the 6GHz spectrum to allow certification with 6E, but many are in the process.

Wi-Fi 6E routers

Here are some of the routers that support Wi-Fi 6E:

As for computers, we are still in the early days, so we have to wait a little longer to see motherboards, laptops, tablets, and phones coming to market with support for the 6GHz band.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].