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If you’ve been on top of the latest iPhone 13 rumors, you might have heard Apple will (likely) add Wi-Fi 6E support to the upcoming iPhone lineup. Among all the rumors, this one seems to be the most realistic so far, as Apple has been updating connectivity rapidly, especially with the introduction of 5G in the iPhone 12.
But even though Wi-Fi 6E sounds great, most of us don’t know what that means. Believe it or not, it is a pretty big deal. Here’s what you need to know about Wi-Fi 6E.
What Is Wi-Fi 6E?
The Wi-Fi Alliance first introduced Wi-Fi 6E as a new way to open up an unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum that would help solve Wi-Fi congestion by increasing the number of airwaves that routers and devices can use.
This would help create better Wi-Fi connections, and since it’s unlicensed, any company can start adding Wi-Fi 6E support to all of its newer devices, like Apple is supposed to be doing with this year’s iPhone.
It wasn’t until last year that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor of Wi-Fi 6E that this became the new standard for Wi-Fi networks. Believe it or not, this was huge news for the Wi-Fi spectrum.
Kevin Robinson from the Wi-Fi Alliance said that this was the “most monumental decision around the Wi-Fi spectrum in its history, in the 20 years we’ve been around.”
How Does Wi-Fi 6E Work?
Sure, it’s great news, but what does Wi-Fi 6E do exactly, and how will it help your internet connection?
The way Wi-Fi works is that it uses the available airwaves to connect you to the internet. Before Wi-Fi 6E, the were only two bands, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which gave a total spectrum of around 400MHz. This means Wi-Fi is very limited, especially with the number of devices people connect to the internet at any given time.
Say you’re at home watching Netflix while someone else is playing online and another person is on a FaceTime call. Because of the limited spectrum of your current Wi-Fi, it’s possible that your show will get stuck.
6GHz Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6E) will fix this issue with an opened spectrum of 1,200MHz, three times as much as current Wi-Fi.
This basically means that you’ll have a more stable and reliable internet connection even if your friends and family are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
How Do I Start Using Wi-Fi 6E?
This is the tricky part. First Wi-Fi 6E isn’t available worldwide yet. If you’re in the US, then you can start taking advantage of Wi-Fi 6E, but it’s also going to cost you.
There’s a good chance that your current router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6E. Most modern routers only support Wi-Fi 6, which still uses the same 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You can buy a new router that supports Wi-Fi 6E, but it’s going to be a bit more expensive than regular routers because the technology is still pretty new.
On top of that, most current devices don’t support Wi-Fi 6E (yet). New computers and devices will tell you if they support Wi-Fi 6E, so be sure to look out for that before buying one.
As for Apple products, the only one that would support Wi-Fi 6E in the near future would be the iPhone 13, as far as we’ve heard.
Does the iPhone 13 (Or You) Need Wi-Fi 6E Right Now?
If you’re wondering if you should get a new router or even buy the iPhone 13 just for Wi-Fi 6E, then the answer is no. At least not for now.
Not only will switching out all of your devices will be quite expensive, but just like 5G on the iPhone 12, you’ll only be able to use it on specific occasions. If your Wi-Fi connection isn’t strong enough, the iPhone 13 or any other device supporting Wi-Fi 6E will switch over to the old Wi-Fi instead.
Additionally, not every company is on board. Just because every company can implement it doesn’t mean they’re all trying to implement Wi-Fi 6E right now. They probably will, but it’s going to take some time.
Wi-Fi 6E on the iPhone, if it does support it, will be like 5G – it’s great to have and use when possible, but this feature is primarily Apple working to make the iPhone as future-proof as possible. You don’t have to worry about it now, but you’ll be glad you have it later.
There are many other great features that Apple is supposedly adding to the iPhone 13 to be excited about. Wi-Fi 6E is a big plus, and it’s going to be great to have in the future, but it’s just one of the many reasons to consider upgrading when the time comes later this year.