Broadcom has announced what it’s calling the first Wi-Fi 6E chip for mobile devices, supporting 160MHz-wide channels in the 6GHz wireless spectrum that the FCC could soon open up for use in the United States.
The dedicated bandwidth will add a third frequency band to the traditional Wi-Fi spectrum. Most Wi-Fi networks and client devices today utilize the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The new standard will take advantage of contiguous blocks within the unlicensed frequency spectrum of 5.925- to 7.125GHz. Essentially, Wi-Fi 6E is simply Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with lots more bandwidth.
Why is this important? Because Wi-Fi shoulders quite a lot of the load of global internet traffic, with only a limited amount of bandwidth to handle it: There’s just 70MHz of spectrum in the 2.4GHz band, and 500MHz of spectrum in the 5GHz band. The 6GHz band offers up to 1,200MHz of additional bandwidth—enough to support 14 new 80MHz-wide channels, and seven new 160MHz-wide channels.