‘An exciting glimpse of America’s Wi-Fi future’: FCC authorizes first Wi-Fi 6E device

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FCC Chairman Pai: ‘The American consumer’s wireless experience is about to be transformed for the better’

Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the first Wi-Fi device for use in the 6 GHz spectrum band (5.925–7.125 GHz). The ability to leverage the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi operation — referred to as Wi-Fi 6E — will deliver faster connectivity speeds and improved capacity when compared to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, making it ideal for smartphones, tablets, laptops, as well as virtual/augmented devices.

The device is a low-power indoor transmitter from Broadcom, authorized by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology.

In response to the news, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement, calling the authorization “an exciting glimpse of America’s Wi-Fi future.”

“This is the FCC’s first authorization of a device to provide unlicensed services in the 6 GHz spectrum band under the Commission’s new rules,” he continued. “The Commission cleared the way for such advances with its landmark action earlier this year, making up to 1,200 megahertz of spectrum available for higher powered unlicensed use. Today, we are starting to see the fruits of this work, and consumers will now start to benefit in a big way.”

He added that the expectation is for Wi-Fi 6 to “be over two-and-a-half times faster than the current standard,” offering better performance for consumers and businesses that rely on Wi-Fi, a reliance that has, he mentioned, only increased as a result of the the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve all seen how Wi-Fi has enabled everything from work-at-home to telehealth to remote learning to streaming and gaming. Wi-Fi 6 will turbocharge each of these and more, and will also complement commercial 5G networks,” he said. “Bottom line: The American consumer’s wireless experience is about to be transformed for the better.”

In April, Wi-Fi Alliance’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson told RCR Wireless News that devices with Wi-Fi 6E will become available very quickly, adding that the Alliance anticipates more than 300 million Wi-Fi 6E devices coming to market in 2021.

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