When WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) was introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the standard was initially designed to operate within the licensed exempt bands between 1-6 GHz. Then, on April 23, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it was adopting rules to open the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) for unlicensed use for WiFi 6 as well.
The highly anticipated move further boosts the expectations for increased speed well beyond the 30-40% already estimated compared to the previous IEEE 802.11ac standard. A significant boost in bandwidth is expected as well.
Yet, despite the emphasis on these benefits, one of WiFi’s most enduring problems has been latency issues, the delays in time required to transmit and receive large amounts of information wirelessly.
Although many applications are relatively unaffected, latency-sensitive applications include augmented/virtual reality, public access points with large numbers of users and high definition video feeds. So, with WiFi 6 promising a reduction in latency of approximately 75%, many product developers are understandably excited.
However, the expansion of the available frequencies for the new WiFi 6 standard – referred to as WiFi 6E – is only part of the puzzle when it comes to reducing latency. The WiFi 6 and now 6E-enabled devices that connect to these networks must also be designed with cutting edge RF components that minimize latency to levels previously considered unachievable.