Join journalist Tommy Cummings for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.
Have you ever been asked whether you “have the bandwidth” to pick up additional work? If you have, you might empathize with data devices that will face the introduction of the new Wi-Fi® 6E, a new frequency spectrum that quadruples the amount of usable airwaves that data can travel along. Developers will have to determine whether existing data devices “have the bandwidth” to handle this workload.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced the 6GHz frequency spectrum in 2020. In doing so, the FCC opened up a wide spectrum of frequencies, and Wi-Fi® 6E is the latest leap—perhaps the biggest leap—for wireless technology since 1989. This means hardware will have to catch up, and old hardware might become outdated. To catch this increased data flow and make use of it, new devices will have to be developed.
Until recently, Wi-Fi® 6 has been mostly available for stadiums and concert halls—venues where thousands of people gather and gobble up data. In February 2021, the FCC approved 1.2kMhz of spectrum frequency in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use, which could speed development from enterprising early adopters.
Wi-Fi® 6E features a shorter wavelength with gigabytes of data transferring instantly along wider channels, creating less congestion and lower latency with no buffering. Gamers and Zoom callers will love it. Companies will have more outgoing connections—essential in the work-from-home era.
While data-sharing centers and internet service providers will have the first claim, a new generation of computer technology, smartphones, and other advanced devices will have to be upgraded.
In this week’s New Tech Tuesdays, we’ll look at new products that enable Wi-Fi® 6E connectivity: An antenna from Linx Technologies and an adapter module from Intel®.
The Linx Technologies W63-FPC2 Flexible Embedded Wi-Fi® 6 Antenna is a multi-band dipole with adhesive backing for easy mounting, and supports applications in the 6GHz band (5.925GHz to 7.125GHz) as well as the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
The Intel® Wi-Fi® 6E AX210 (Gig+) Module is an adapter that supports dual-stream Wi-Fi 6E technology. The AX210 maximizes Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 benefits. It’s designed to boost network flexibility and accommodate faster downloads. The module also supports the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and includes improved Transmission Control Protocol throughput (exceeding 2Gbps). It’s also designed to support Wi-Fi 6 wave 2 features.
Wi-Fi® 6E is in its early stages, meaning the first steps could be slow. Wi-Fi® 6E-capable routers are just beginning to be produced, and early adopters, who benefit from unlicensed use, will be testing out their capabilities. But the momentum has started, and the new frequency should make data transmission better simply because of the wider bandwidth.
Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.
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