By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
As of the end of 2021 an impressive 160 Wi-Fi devices and routers supported Wi-F 6E technology – meaning 6 GHz Wi-Fi. The list of launched Wi-Fi 6E-capable units includes laptop PCs, desktop PCs, PC motherboards, phones, routers, gateways, enterprise APs, and TVs. This information comes from Intel, who has been tracking the development of the Wi-Fi 6E market. Given the substantial number of new releases at CES & elsewhere this month, we’re guessing that the current number may now be closer to 200 types and models.
Not sure if you should be investing in a Wi-Fi 6E router for your home or business? Well – while Wi-Fi 6 is already incorporated into most personal Wi-Fi devices by far, Wi-Fi 6E is naturally lagging somewhat behind given that the 6 GHz band was only released 2 years ago (in the US). That – however – hasn’t stopped the Wi-Fi industry from racing ahead and developing a raft of Wi-Fi 6E products already.
According to information we’ve received from Intel – Intel of course a leading vendor of Wi-Fi technology for PCs – the total number of end-user devices as well as routers, mesh units, home gateways, and enterprise-grade APs capable of Wi-Fi 6E was an impressive 160 at the end of last year. Since then CES 2022 featured a number of launches of Wi-Fi 6E-capable devices and routers, which leads us to estimate that that number is now likely closing in on 200.
So what devices are available exactly? For starters at least 70 laptop PCs now support Wi-Fi 6E include many models from Dell, Lenovo, HP, MSI, Razer, and Samsung. Add to this 20 or so desktop PCs and about 25 PC motherboards. Eighteen phones have been released including from Google, Samsung, and Asus. A few of us are a little disappointed that Apple didn’t choose to release a Wi-Fi 6E capable iPhone last year – but it’s a pretty good bet that they will catch up some time this fall.
Among routers and gateways, NETGEAR, Linksys, Asus, and TP-Link have all released Wi-Fi 6E models – some of them at CES 2022 (for all our coverage of CES 2022 click here). Honourable mention goes to Asus who released the world’s first consumer-grade Wi-Fi 6E in September of 2020. Add to this service provider Wi-Fi 6E gateways from Comcast (xFi Advanced Gateway) and Verizon released some weeks ago. Two TV models also support Wi-Fi 6E, one from Samsung and one from LG, respectively.
On the home broadband service provider side Calix released four new Wi-Fi 6E gateways and satellites in late October last year, while Airspan (Mimosa) and Arista have released one enterprise-grade AP model each. Just weeks ago Cambium Networks – a Wi-Fi NOW partner – released two innovative new software-defined Wi-Fi 6E AP models (read more here), while Aruba, Extreme Networks, and Juniper (Mist) have all released Wi-Fi 6E enterprise-grade APs.
Thanks to Intel for sharing this important information with us! Expect a steep climb in the number of PCs supporting Wi-Fi 6E after Intel released of a raft of integrated and discrete Wi-Fi 6E chipsets and processors at CES 2022 – read more here. If anyone out there has information that we missed – we’re happy to update this overview – just write to me at [email protected].