Devices with Wi-Fi 6 started rolling out at the end of 2019, but now, a new vote proposed by the FCC could open up the 6Ghz band to unlicensed wifi and add a massive speed boost to wireless gadgets.
Backed by Chairman Pai, the FCC vote is scheduled to take place on April 23rd, and if passed would add 1200MHz of available bandwidth to the usable wifi spectrum which the FCC says would “effectively increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi almost by a factor of five.”
Not only would this improve things like latency and download and uploads speeds, because the 6Ghz band was previously mostly used to support things like wireless backhaul, microwave services, and a limited number of public safety services, new 6GHz wifi devices wouldn’t really have to compete with other gadgets for spectrum, unlike the existing 2.4Ghz wifi band which often suffers from interference caused by household appliances.
In addition to backing from the FCC, the move to allow the use of the 6GHz band for wifi is also seeing widespread industry support from a number of groups including the Wi-Fi Alliance, which earlier this year announced the creation of the Wi-Fi 6E which incorporates the 6Ghz band into current wireless standards.
On top of that, a number of tech companies and device makers have also weighed in with their approval including Qualcomm, Intel, Facebook, Cisco and many more. Apple even released a statement saying “We applaud the FCC’s decision to open up the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi and other uses,” and that “It sets the course for the next generation of Wi-Fi networks and will help us to create innovative, new product experiences for our customers.”
That said, while the vote to approve the new measure is set to take place at the end of April, we probably won’t see devices with support for Wi-Fi 6E until the end of 2020. Also, in order to truly take advantage of the new spectrum and fast wifi speeds, normal folk will need to upgrade their devices and wi-fi routers, while also making sure their internet provider can provide the level of service that can live up to those new wifi speeds.