Wi-Fi 6E AX 6Ghz now approved in Australia. What does that mean for you? (network guide)

Wi-Fi 6E – 6GHz is now approved for use in Australia, meaning that certified 6E devices will be able to use the unlicensed 6GHz Wi-Fi band and the usual 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.

First, understand that the higher the frequency, the lower the coverage. That is why 2.4GHz has a theoretical distance of 30 metres and 5GHz (5610-5835 MHz) about 10 metres. Although we have not tested it here yet, 6E (5925-7125 MHz) should max out at about 5-8 meters from the router. It will be more subject to degradation as it passes through walls, floors, ceilings, windows and cupboards.

Secondly, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has only approved 500MHz at the low end of the 6GHz band (5925–6425GHz). This is different from the USA, where it has 700Mhz from the high end to avoid interfering with other devices using lower 6Ghz bands.

ACMA also appears to have limited the transmission strength (mW) to ensure that Wi-Fi 6E can’t extend outside the home, and Mesh routers may still rely on a dedicated 5Ghz band.

The tech behind Wi-Fi 6E

First, don’t believe the hype. It is just Wi-Fi – very similar to 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 AC and Wi-Fi 6 AX with the addition of the 6GHz band.

Experts say that 500MHz, as approved, is not enough contiguous bandwidth to make a huge difference. They are pushing for the full 1200Mhz (5925–7125 MHz) for 60 new channels. In Australia, its 25 channels at 20Mhz width )(or 12.5 at 40MHz, 10 at 50Mhz and 3 at 160MHz). In short, 20MHz channels fuse to make wider, faster channels.

Existing Wi-Fi 6 routers can’t upgrade

Many generic Wi-Fi 6 routers claim to be Wi-Fi 6E ready, and we suspect that is very wrong. It needs a new modem chip and 6GHz antenna system – this means a new router.

Soon you will see Wi-Fi 6E routers from ASUS (GT AXE11000),  Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, Netgear Orbi 6E, TP-Link AXE96 (mesh and router)

Some recent smartphones using the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 like the OPPO Find X5 Pro, Motorola Edge 30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have the correct modem and antenna, and a firmware upgrade can switch that on.

Some computers have Wi-Fi 6E capability if they use an Intel 6E AX210, AX211 and AX1675 M.2 cards. There will be a range of USB and PCIe cards.

CyberShack’s view. Do you need Wi-Fi 6E

Like all tech, early adopters will pay a premium. You won’t see any benefit in the short term unless you have speed-critical Wi-Fi 6E clients.

The real question is, why are you still using a crappy NBN reseller N or AC router when the Wi-Fi superhighway is here in Wi-Fi 6 and 6E? See Crappy NBN FTTN Modem – here are a few better ones (guide).