Wi-Fi 6e: 6 GHz Internet

The difference between Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6e, the point and the problem with 6 GHz Wi-Fi, and the availability status for Norway and Europe.

What is Wi-Fi 6e?

First of all, Wi-Fi 6e is part of  Wi-Fi 6, but not the same as Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 corresponds to the 802.11ax wireless communciation standard. This standard covers the two well established frequency bands for Wi-Fi: 2.4 and 5 GHz.

The industry association WiFi Alliance driver runs the certification program that allows vendors to market their products with the label Wi-Fi 6. WiFi Alliance has chosen to expand this certification to include the 6 GHz frequency band, and Wi-Fi 6 products that support these frequencies, can therefore use the designation Wi-Fi 6e.

But the 6 GHz frequency band is not available everywhere.

What is the Point and the Problem with 6 GHz?

What we here succinctly refer to as 6 GHz is really a 1200 MHz spectrum from 5,925 to 7,125.

For comparison:

  • The 2.4 GHz frequency band covers a 70 MHz spectrum
  • The 5 GHz frequency band is a 500 MHz spectrum

So the point of expanding the range of frequencies available for Wi-Fi is the possibility of significantly reducing the fight for airtime. On today's frequency bands, Wi-Fi networks compete both with each other and with other wireless standards such as Bluetooth. There is also no room for increasing the transmission bandwidth to 80 or 160 MHz to increase throughput without creating excessive interference for surrounding networks.

The problem with expanding to 6 GHz is that this part of the spectrum has not been hanging around unused and has been reserved for licensed usage.

Where is 6 GHz Available?

Opening up to using 6 GHz is still under consideration with local and regional authorities in large parts of the world, but more and more countries are opening up, either to the entire 6 GHz spectrum or to what is known as "low 6 GHz" or U-NII-5, the lowest 500 MHz. Countries who have approved the full 6 GHz spectrum for wifi and other unlicensed usage are in the minority, but include among others the USA and South Korea.

You can see an overview of the status internationally on the WiFi Alliance website.

On a European level, CEPT - the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations - and their Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) are the professional bodies responsible for this area. Norway is one of 48 members of the CEPT, which in other words is not an EU body.

CEPT/ECC approved low 6 GHz in November 2020. This recommendation was approved by the European Commission in June 2021. EU member states will then have six months to adjust their national legislations, while non-EU countries have up to two years to make their considerations.

Germany was the first country to pass national approval after the European decision, and Norway was not far behind.

In Norway, the Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM) handles matters of radio frequency usage, which are regulated in Fribruksforskriften. A revision of this regulation that opens up for 6e / low 6 GHz entered into force on July 1, 2021.

Will Our Products have 6e?

Both access points and clients with CE approval need to be on the market before we can start making use of this technology.

Our vendor Zyxel has told us that they are ready to support 6e for devices targeting the Norwegian market when authorities approve it for usage. However, you should not expect products that are on the market today to be able to communicate on 6 GHz later.

Wi-Fi 6 without the e is however available and storming ahead in Norway, so there is no need to wait for that!

Eye Networks AS
Ryensvingen 2
0680 Oslo
Norge / Norway
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