HPE Aruba Networking Blogs

Federal IT: Prepare Now for the Arrival of 6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6E

By Dolan Sullivan, Vice President of Federal at HPE Aruba Networking (Retired)

What could your department do with a massive amount of new wireless bandwidth? What problems could you solve? What applications or use cases could you optimize?

Get ready, because now is the time to prepare for the arrival of multigigabit Wi-Fi 6E wireless LANs. Wi-Fi 6E wireless access points and client devices will come to market in big numbers later this year, including from Aruba.

Register now for our “Federal CTO Tech Talk: Prepare for the Arrival of 6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6” webinar on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Last year, the FCC ruled to open up the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses, unlocking an incredible 1200 MHz of spectrum. The FCC’s decision roughly tripled the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed use.

At Aruba, we believe the FCC ruling is one of the most consequential in decades, with far-reaching implications for the Federal departments and agencies and commercial entities alike. We’re also pleased to see worldwide momentum, with 39 countries opening up the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use. This unprecedented level of spectrum harmonization will accelerate global adoption.

6GHz Global Momentum

Wi-Fi 6E Unlocks New Uses Cases

Quite simply, Wi-Fi 6E is the wireless technology standard that uses the newly opened 6 GHz spectrum. Think of Wi-Fi 6E as the next generation of the current Wi-Fi 6 technology.

Wi-Fi 6E will lay the digital foundation for groundbreaking new applications and use cases. Wi-Fi 6E is designed to deliver multigigabit, low-latency wireless connectivity. It is highly secure, with all data traffic encrypted and all clients authenticated using WPA3 at a minimum. Even guest traffic is encrypted by default.

And it’s fast. Wi-Fi 6E uses wider RF channels, typically 80 MHz or 160 MHz channels, which significantly improve performance and makes Wi-Fi 6E ideal for the most demanding real-time applications.

Voice and video calls are secure and crystal clear. Mobile hotspots provide blazing fast performance, whether checking email from the car or on a mission. Wi-Fi 6E clients can screencast high-definition video for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance purposes. Wi-Fi 6E is ideal for training exercises using augmented reality and virtual reality. Wearables can monitor the health and safety of personnel in the field and veterans in the hospital or at home. Real-time data, sensors and actuators can enhance base operations and personnel safety.

Wi-Fi 6E AP and Client Types

Wi-Fi 6E is designed to peacefully coexist with incumbent users of the spectrum, which include fixed wireless for mobile backhaul, TV broadcast trucks, and public safety. The types of APs and clients reflect that peaceful coexistence.

There are three classes of Wi-Fi 6E access points: low power indoor, standard power indoor, and mobile. As the name suggests, low power indoor APs are used exclusively inside. The APs have a fixed antenna and consume far less power use than a standard Wi-Fi 6E AP, so the RF signals won’t interference with incumbent users of the 6GHz spectrum.

Standard power APs are ideal for traditional office use as well as rugged environments like aircraft hangars or freezers. These APs can be used indoors or outdoors. Standard power APs use the Wi-Fi 6E Automated Frequency Control (AFC) system to avoid interference with incumbent users while allowing efficient use of the bandwidth. Low power APs are ideal for mobile uses, such as vehicles, although the US has not yet permitted this class of APs.

Similarly, Wi-Fi 6E clients are categorized as mobile endpoints like laptops, phones or tablets; stationary indoor devices like set-top boxes; or fixed outdoor devices, such as for point-to-multipoint mesh networking.

Wi-Fi 6E Device Classes

Now is the Time to Prepare

Market experts are predicting the shipment of 338 million Wi-Fi 6E devices this year. With such momentum, it’s time to plan for your department’s next Wi-Fi innovation, gaining an understanding of use cases, the impact to your current access networks, and pilot programs.

Join us for our “Federal CTO Tech Talk: Prepare for the Arrival of 6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6” webinar with Chuck Lukaszewski, Aruba’s VP of Wireless Standards and Strategy, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

You’ll learn:

  • Global regulatory update
  • Wi-Fi 6E use cases
  • Dimensioning the wired edge for 6 GHz APs
  • How Wi-Fi 6E clients associate with 6 GHz APs
  • Channel planning strategies for upcoming tri-band APs

Register now.