Wi-Fi 6E 6GHz- Wi-Fi Spectrum Unleashed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), allocated 1,200 megahertz spectrum in April 2020 for unlicensed 6GHz band use. This was the largest approved spectrum for Wi-Fi since 1989. The 6 GHz spectrum was more than doubled, which allows for Wi-Fi to have fewer congested airwaves and wider channels. It also allows for faster connections and more innovative solutions across industries. Source: Wi-Fi Alliance. 70 countries representing 3.4B people approved or are considering 6 GHz regulations since the FCC opened the 6GHz band.

Wi-Fi Adoption

As organizations use bandwidth-hungry video more frequently, they must deal with increasing number of clients and IoT devices connecting and speeding up their network edge. Wireless networks are becoming increasingly oversubscribed, which is reducing application performance. This negatively impacts the user experience and reduces productivity, frustrating all network users.

This post will cover the basics of Wi-Fi 6E and the operating rules in the 6GHz band.

What is the “E” all about in Wi-Fi 6E?

Organizations are increasingly using bandwidth-hungry video. This means they have to deal with more clients and IoT devices connecting to their networks and speeding them up.

This article will explain the basics of Wi Fi 6E and the rules for operating in the 6GHz band.

WI-FI 6E: Explodes in number of channels

The 6 GHz band represents 1200 MHz of spectrum that will be available from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz. Knowing that 2.4 GHz band only had 11 channels, with the new spectrum, Wi-Fi will have access to 59 20-MHz channels, 29 40-MHz channels, 14 80-MHz channels, and 7 160-MHz channels. In addition to 2.4GHz and 5GHz, this not only represents a lot of channels, but also a lot of wide channels to operate on high speeds.

Advantage of a larger spectrum

Unlicensed Spectrum Used by Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi always had very little spectrum. Wi-Fi typically had 80 MHz spectrum in the band of 2.4GHz and 500 MHz at the 5GHz band. DFS channel occupies a portion of the 500MHz band on 5GHz.

This resulted in very little contiguous spectrum. This made it very difficult to locate or enable channels widths of 80 MHz and 160 MHz. However, Wi-Fi data speeds are only possible with these channel widths.

Wi-Fi 6E’s 59 channels at 20 MHz will eliminate congestion problems. For the foreseeable future, Wi-Fi 6E will ensure that at least one channel 20 MHz is available. Radios will always be able find a channel that is available due to the contiguous spectrum, the 14 channels at 80 MHz and 7 channels at 160 MHz. This allows the technology to achieve the fastest speeds.

History on Wi-Fi Standards

Wi-Fi’s evolution is shaped by two main groups. IEEE and the Wi-Fi Alliance are responsible for shaping Wi-Fi’s evolution. The IEEE 8021.1 specifies the technical specifications for the wireless LAN standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance is focused on the certification of Wi Fi devices to ensure compliance and interoperability as well as marketing Wi-Fi technology.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has given different names to different Wi-Fi network classifications over time. It’s no longer “802.11b”, but “Wi-Fi 1,” much like mobile phone companies refering to 3G or 5G as different speeds, even though this term is almost always a marketing tool. This classification is meant to make it easier for consumers — rather than trying to comprehend a whole alphabet, they can simply search for “WiFi 4” or “WiFi 6” to find what they are looking for.

Wi-Fi Classifications

The IEEE 802.11ax standard to ensure high efficiency (or HE), covers MAC/PHY layer operation in the 2.4 GHz band, 5 GHz band, and 6 GHz band.

IEEE Rules for the WI-FI 6E standard

HE (High Efficiency) only operation in the 6 G

IEEE Rules for WIFI-6E

IEEE 802.11ax has made the decision to ban older Wi-Fi devices from the 6GHz band. This is one of the most important decisions. This is important as it means that only the most efficient 802.11ax devices can operate in this band.

In general, future Wi-Fi standards provide backward compatibility to previous standards. Customers and vendors both benefit from this, as network equipment does not need to be completely redesigned for each standard. This will cause congestion in the protocol because legacy equipment is sharing the spectrum with newer devices. Only new, high-efficiency devices will be permitted to operate at 6 GHz.

To describe Wi-Fi using the analogy road transport, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands can be compared with congested roads, where both slow and fast vehicles travel. The 6GHz band, on the other hand, is equivalent to a large highway that allows only the fastest cars.

Quick Passive Scanning

Fast Passive Scanning

A station using 1200 MHz spectrum and 59 new channels at 20 MHz would take almost 6 seconds for a passive scan across the entire band. Clients can now find nearby access points (APs) using the standard. Wi-Fi 6E uses a process known as fast passive scanning to concentrate on a smaller number of channels, called preferred scanning channels (PSC). A subset of channels is designated preferred scanning channels (PSC). This will identify the primary channel of a broad channel BSS. It limits the number of channels that a client must scan in order to find a 6GHz-only AP. PSCs are separated by 80 MHz so clients would only need 15 channels to scan.

 

Out of band discovery

By scanning the lower bands, dual-band and tri-band APs will be found operating in the 6 GHz spectrum as well as the lower bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). APs in the lower band will include information about 6 GHz BSS in a reduced neighbour reports in beacons and probe responses frames. Clients will start by exploring the lower bands and find the AP. Then they will move on to the 6 GHz band. This will decrease the number of probe requests sent by stations trying to locate APs.

Wi-Fi 6E Channelization

Wi-Fi 6E Channelization

Channel allocations for the 6GHz band are defined by 802.11ax. This allocation determines the center frequencies of the 20 MHz to 40 MHz, 80 and 160 MHz channels in the entire 6GHz band. The IEEE specification takes precedence over any regulatory domain specifications. Channels that fall on frequencies or overlap frequencies not supported by a regulatory domain can’t be used.

AFC and Avoiding Incumbent Users

Two types of device classifications are defined by the FCC. They have very different transmit power rules. This is done to prevent interference with 6 GHz incumbents. Several types of APs have been created to fit the U-NII band and conditions in which they will operate. There are three types of APs: the standard power (SP), low power indoor (LPI), and very low power AP (VLP). As they are indoors only, the low power APs have lower power levels.

Outdoor, or standard power, APs have the potential to interfere with 6 GHz users already in the area. The licenses for fixed satellite services (FSS), used in broadcast and cable industries may already be in place. Any unlicensed Wi-Fi users must not interfere with the existing services. This is why it is important to establish a mechanism to coordinate spectrum use in order to avoid interference issues. A new wireless device (access point), will check a database to ensure that it will not affect a registered user. This is an Automatic Frequency Coordination, (AFC) provider for 6 GHz operation.

To protect incumbent 6 GHz operations against interference from RF interference, standard power APs must use AFC services.

Conclusion

The current wireless network will be more congested as more users connect devices. This will lead to resource contention and lower performance. Wi-Fi 6E and 6E migrations are essential for infrastructure to support the ever-growing demands placed on wireless networks by users and devices. WLAN at 6 GHz is different than other bands. The IEEE attempted to exploit the lack of legacy devices.

We hope you find this useful and interesting.

About JNS

We deliver commercial wireless network installation through our IT Services portfolio of solutions for commercial and business applications in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and all throughout South Florida. We utilize the best wireless network manufacturers such as Ruckus, Cisco, Mist (Juniper), Fortinet and others.  Call us today to learn more about our products and services and for a free consultation in implementing your wireless network.

Joint Network Systems
1100 Brickell Bay Drive
Miami Florida 33231
Tel: 866-JNS-NETS
www.jointnetworks.com

Wi-Fi 6E 6GHz- Wi-Fi Spectrum Unleashed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), allocated 1,200 megahertz spectrum in April 2020 for unlicensed 6GHz band use. This was the largest approved spectrum for Wi-Fi since 1989. The 6 GHz spectrum was more than doubled, which allows for Wi-Fi to have fewer congested airwaves and wider channels. It also allows for faster connections and more innovative solutions across industries. Source: Wi-Fi Alliance. 70 countries representing 3.4B people approved or are considering 6 GHz regulations since the FCC opened the 6GHz band.

Wi-Fi Adoption

As organizations use bandwidth-hungry video more frequently, they must deal with increasing number of clients and IoT devices connecting and speeding up their network edge. Wireless networks are becoming increasingly oversubscribed, which is reducing application performance. This negatively impacts the user experience and reduces productivity, frustrating all network users.

This post will cover the basics of Wi-Fi 6E and the operating rules in the 6GHz band.

What is the “E” all about in Wi-Fi 6E?

Organizations are increasingly using bandwidth-hungry video. This means they have to deal with more clients and IoT devices connecting to their networks and speeding them up.

This article will explain the basics of Wi Fi 6E and the rules for operating in the 6GHz band.

WI-FI 6E: Explodes in number of channels

The 6 GHz band represents 1200 MHz of spectrum that will be available from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz. Knowing that 2.4 GHz band only had 11 channels, with the new spectrum, Wi-Fi will have access to 59 20-MHz channels, 29 40-MHz channels, 14 80-MHz channels, and 7 160-MHz channels. In addition to 2.4GHz and 5GHz, this not only represents a lot of channels, but also a lot of wide channels to operate on high speeds.

Advantage of a larger spectrum

Unlicensed Spectrum Used by Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi always had very little spectrum. Wi-Fi typically had 80 MHz spectrum in the band of 2.4GHz and 500 MHz at the 5GHz band. DFS channel occupies a portion of the 500MHz band on 5GHz.

This resulted in very little contiguous spectrum. This made it very difficult to locate or enable channels widths of 80 MHz and 160 MHz. However, Wi-Fi data speeds are only possible with these channel widths.

Wi-Fi 6E’s 59 channels at 20 MHz will eliminate congestion problems. For the foreseeable future, Wi-Fi 6E will ensure that at least one channel 20 MHz is available. Radios will always be able find a channel that is available due to the contiguous spectrum, the 14 channels at 80 MHz and 7 channels at 160 MHz. This allows the technology to achieve the fastest speeds.

History on Wi-Fi Standards

Wi-Fi’s evolution is shaped by two main groups. IEEE and the Wi-Fi Alliance are responsible for shaping Wi-Fi’s evolution. The IEEE 8021.1 specifies the technical specifications for the wireless LAN standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance is focused on the certification of Wi Fi devices to ensure compliance and interoperability as well as marketing Wi-Fi technology.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has given different names to different Wi-Fi network classifications over time. It’s no longer “802.11b”, but “Wi-Fi 1,” much like mobile phone companies refering to 3G or 5G as different speeds, even though this term is almost always a marketing tool. This classification is meant to make it easier for consumers — rather than trying to comprehend a whole alphabet, they can simply search for “WiFi 4” or “WiFi 6” to find what they are looking for.

Wi-Fi Classifications

The IEEE 802.11ax standard to ensure high efficiency (or HE), covers MAC/PHY layer operation in the 2.4 GHz band, 5 GHz band, and 6 GHz band.

IEEE Rules for the WI-FI 6E standard

HE (High Efficiency) only operation in the 6 G

IEEE Rules for WIFI-6E

IEEE 802.11ax has made the decision to ban older Wi-Fi devices from the 6GHz band. This is one of the most important decisions. This is important as it means that only the most efficient 802.11ax devices can operate in this band.

In general, future Wi-Fi standards provide backward compatibility to previous standards. Customers and vendors both benefit from this, as network equipment does not need to be completely redesigned for each standard. This will cause congestion in the protocol because legacy equipment is sharing the spectrum with newer devices. Only new, high-efficiency devices will be permitted to operate at 6 GHz.

To describe Wi-Fi using the analogy road transport, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands can be compared with congested roads, where both slow and fast vehicles travel. The 6GHz band, on the other hand, is equivalent to a large highway that allows only the fastest cars.

Quick Passive Scanning

Fast Passive Scanning

A station using 1200 MHz spectrum and 59 new channels at 20 MHz would take almost 6 seconds for a passive scan across the entire band. Clients can now find nearby access points (APs) using the standard. Wi-Fi 6E uses a process known as fast passive scanning to concentrate on a smaller number of channels, called preferred scanning channels (PSC). A subset of channels is designated preferred scanning channels (PSC). This will identify the primary channel of a broad channel BSS. It limits the number of channels that a client must scan in order to find a 6GHz-only AP. PSCs are separated by 80 MHz so clients would only need 15 channels to scan.

 

Out of band discovery

By scanning the lower bands, dual-band and tri-band APs will be found operating in the 6 GHz spectrum as well as the lower bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). APs in the lower band will include information about 6 GHz BSS in a reduced neighbour reports in beacons and probe responses frames. Clients will start by exploring the lower bands and find the AP. Then they will move on to the 6 GHz band. This will decrease the number of probe requests sent by stations trying to locate APs.

Wi-Fi 6E Channelization

Wi-Fi 6E Channelization

Channel allocations for the 6GHz band are defined by 802.11ax. This allocation determines the center frequencies of the 20 MHz to 40 MHz, 80 and 160 MHz channels in the entire 6GHz band. The IEEE specification takes precedence over any regulatory domain specifications. Channels that fall on frequencies or overlap frequencies not supported by a regulatory domain can’t be used.

AFC and Avoiding Incumbent Users

Two types of device classifications are defined by the FCC. They have very different transmit power rules. This is done to prevent interference with 6 GHz incumbents. Several types of APs have been created to fit the U-NII band and conditions in which they will operate. There are three types of APs: the standard power (SP), low power indoor (LPI), and very low power AP (VLP). As they are indoors only, the low power APs have lower power levels.

Outdoor, or standard power, APs have the potential to interfere with 6 GHz users already in the area. The licenses for fixed satellite services (FSS), used in broadcast and cable industries may already be in place. Any unlicensed Wi-Fi users must not interfere with the existing services. This is why it is important to establish a mechanism to coordinate spectrum use in order to avoid interference issues. A new wireless device (access point), will check a database to ensure that it will not affect a registered user. This is an Automatic Frequency Coordination, (AFC) provider for 6 GHz operation.

To protect incumbent 6 GHz operations against interference from RF interference, standard power APs must use AFC services.

Conclusion

The current wireless network will be more congested as more users connect devices. This will lead to resource contention and lower performance. Wi-Fi 6E and 6E migrations are essential for infrastructure to support the ever-growing demands placed on wireless networks by users and devices. WLAN at 6 GHz is different than other bands. The IEEE attempted to exploit the lack of legacy devices.

We hope you find this useful and interesting.

About JNS

We deliver commercial wireless network installation through our IT Services portfolio of solutions for commercial and business applications in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and all throughout South Florida. We utilize the best wireless network manufacturers such as Ruckus, Cisco, Mist (Juniper), Fortinet and others.  Call us today to learn more about our products and services and for a free consultation in implementing your wireless network.

Joint Network Systems
1100 Brickell Bay Drive
Miami Florida 33231
Tel: 866-JNS-NETS
www.jointnetworks.com