Wi-Fi 6E may be very slowly coming to a product close to you. The Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying gadgets on January 7, and CES 2021 noticed loads of product bulletins associated to the Wi-Fi 6E rollout.
Wi-Fi 6E, if you have not heard, is a brand new normal for Wi-Fi that was permitted by the FCC final yr. While Wi-Fi 6 (no “e,” aka 802.11ax) is a bunch of technical enhancements largely aimed at extra environment friendly utilization of current spectrum, Wi-Fi 6E is all about increasing Wi-Fi to a newly freed-up chunk of spectrum. Previously, Wi-Fi solely labored on the two.4Ghz and 5GHz spectrum, however Wi-Fi 6E makes use of the 6GHz spectrum. In the United States, 6E has an enormous chunk of steady spectrum—1200MHz. Previously, 5GHz solely supplied 140MHz of helpful, non-DFS spectrum, and a pair of.4 GHz solely had 70MHz of very crowded spectrum, which is weak to operating microwaves and different interference.
Neither Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E is about extra pace—each are extra about coping with Wi-Fi capability points, which steadily rear their heads in condominium buildings and huge public gatherings. If your Wi-Fi is presently horrible attributable to crowded airwaves in a densely populated space, Wi-Fi 6E might vastly enhance your wi-fi efficiency. Getting on Wi-Fi 6E will imply shopping for new shoppers and new entry factors, although, therefore this roundup article.
The highest-profile system at CES was the Samsung Galaxy S21, and whereas the cheaper variants haven’t got Wi-Fi 6E, the $1,200 “Ultra” mannequin does, and by most accounts, it’s “the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E cellphone.” Expect this pattern to proceed for many Android telephones in 2021. Wi-Fi 6E is an choice on the Snapdragon 888 SoC that may find yourself in most flagship gadgets, and you may in all probability see the costlier fashions undertake it.
Wi-Fi 6E is coming to laptops, too. MSI’s GE76 Raider appears like will probably be the primary Wi-Fi 6E laptop computer, due to Intel’s AX210 Wi-Fi card. The Intel AX210 card is on the market to customers, by the way in which, so you may improve most desktops and laptops to Wi-Fi 6E your self, proper now, with an add-in card. Clients are coming, so what we want are Wi-Fi 6E entry factors, or “routers” whenever you’re speaking in regards to the all-in-one consumer-grade community tools. Most of the large shopper community manufacturers confirmed as much as CES with a Wi-Fi 6E router to indicate off.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000
We’re beginning with the router closest to hitting common availability: the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000. This was introduced all the way in which again in September because the “World’s first Wi-Fi 6E gaming router,” nevertheless it lastly bought a launch window: January 2021. Newegg presently has it for preorder for a cool $549.99 with a launch date of January 29, however some experiences are saying the router is already transport. Like with many “Gaming” routers, the GT-AXE1100 has a loopy design that appears prefer it might flip over and begin strolling round like a spider at any second.
Besides the standard 4x gigabit LAN ports on the again and a gigabit WAN port, there’s additionally an additional 2.5Gbps port on the again, which you’ll be able to configure for WAN or LAN. A 2.5gig WAN port feels like one thing that will be more and more helpful sooner or later, however I do not assume there are any consumer-grade modems that would benefit from that but. Comcast and Google each have a 2Gbps fiber service, however each providers include their very own networking gear and in line with Google’s sign-up web page, “clients won’t be able to make use of their very own router.” Plan for the long run, I suppose!
Most of the specs on these routers simply reiterate the usual Wi-Fi 6/6E options, however Asus does listing a 1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-core CPU with 1GB RAM, which feels like it may deal with a whole lot of visitors with out slowing down. The router helps 4×4 MU-MIMO for 5GHz and 6GHz, for a theoretical high pace of 4.8Gbps. There are additionally two USB 3.2 ports on the aspect for an inexpensive NAS setup.
Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000
Requesting permission to dock into starbase, it is the Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000 Wi-Fi Router. The Nighthawk appears to hit all the identical specs because the Asus router however is $50 extra: a whopping $599.99.
Stop me if this sounds acquainted: a 1.8GHz quad-core processor and a gig of reminiscence, 4×4 MU-MIMO for 5GHz and 6GHz, two USB 3.0 ports, gigabit WAN, 4 gigabit LAN, and a 2.5gig port for WAN or LAN. Just just like the Asus router, there are eight antennas, however as a substitute of the spider design, 4 antennas reside in every wingtip.
Netgear’s entry within the Wi-Fi 6E router contest is up for preorder now, with an estimated availability of March 15.
The Linksys AXE8400
If you have ever questioned what a white Xbox Series X would appear like, meet the Linksys AXE8400. This is well the least-crazy design of the brand new Wi-Fi 6E routers, and since placing a router in a centralized, seen location is without doubt one of the finest issues you are able to do for connectivity, that is likely to be a giant deal to you. (Fun truth: this Linksys design dates again at least to 2018 and due to this fact predates the brand new Xbox by a very long time! There is even an older model that is available in black, for those who’ve ever wished a mini-me model of Microsoft’s sport console.)
The Linksys has the excellence of being a mesh router and is available in $449.99 for a 1-pack, $849.99 for a 2-pack, and $1,199.99 for a 3-pack. Linksys’ press launch lists the US launch date as “Spring/Summer 2021” with “international availability to observe within the second half of 2021.” Mesh routers have the potential to profit essentially the most rapidly from the 6GHz spectrum opening up, since they might use 6GHz for the backhaul between entry factors, liberating up 5GHz purely for shopper connections.
Wth no public datasheet but, little or no essential element is supplied in regards to the AXE8400 proper now. Just from the images, there are 4 LAN ports on the again of indeterminate pace, together with a single USB 3.x port. The WAN port is labeled “5Gbps Internet,” so it feels like Linksys is basically prepared for modems with multi-gigabit ports, if they’re ever produced.
The one fascinating tech spec Linksys is publishing proper now’s that the AXE8400 has a “Qualcomm Networking Pro 1210” chipset at its coronary heart, Qualcomm’s designated platform for firms trying to construct a Wi-Fi 6E router. This is a quad-core 2.2Ghz Cortex A53 chip, constructed on a 14nm course of expertise.
Linksys’ web site can be teasing what appears like a non-mesh Wi-Fi 6E router, however we do not actually have a identify for it but.
TP-Link introduced an SFP+ port to the occasion?!
Coming in final with no launch date or worth at all, we have now a pair of TP-Link routers. First up, the TP-Link Archer AX206, which has Wi-Fi 6E with 4×4 MU-MIMO. What’s fascinating listed here are some severe wired networking choices. It’s a disgrace TP-Link solely supplied a single, overhead picture, as a result of the again of this factor sounds very busy: a USB-C port, a USB-A port, 4 gigabit Ethernet ports, a 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port, a tenGbps WAN/LAN port, and, for whenever you wish to get actually severe, a tenGbps SFP+ WAN/LAN port, for a fiber-optic connection. Whoa.
The SFP+ port is an consideration grabber, however I am unable to say I actually perceive the market segmentation right here. SFP+ ports are usually used for backhaul in business-style networks (or the home-lab crowd) for connecting one system in your community rack to a different. I am unable to think about a Rackmount-American wanting to the touch one among these consumer-grade plastic combo-boxes with a 10-foot pole. I’ve a tough time imagining promoting a ~$40 fiber-optic cable to a non-network-enthusiast, and even for those who might try this, TP-Link’s shopper division would not promote every other SFP+ gear. What is a standard particular person purported to do with an SPF+ port? I suppose extra choices are at all times higher, however we’ll must see what the value tag is like for these fancy, questionably helpful extras.
Finally from TP-Link is the Archer AX96, and whereas, once more, there isn’t a worth or launch date, this feels like will probably be a less expensive Wi-Fi 6E router. The primary trace is the pace ranking for the 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E, which solely hits “2402 Mbps,” which signifies that this router solely does 2×2 MIMO on the 6GHz spectrum, or half the pace of the Asus and Netgear routers. 5GHz nonetheless appears like 4×4 MIMO, so this router would enable for a child step into 6GHz.
On the again (once more, there aren’t any photos), there are 2.5Gbps and 1Gbps WAN/LAN ports, three 1Gbps LAN ports, one USB 3 port, and a USB 2 port.
Listing picture by Asus