Wi-Fi 6E Adoption Isn’t Going So Great Due to Supply Constraints, Will Likely Be Bypassed for Wi-Fi 7

Image: Wi-Fi Alliance

Wi-Fi 6E is an “extended” version of Wi-Fi 6 that boasts a number of perks over its standard predecessor thanks to the addition of the 6 GHz frequency band, enabling improvements such as more bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency. Unfortunately, the technology might only have a limited time in the limelight, according to market research firm Dell’Oro Group, which shared a press release noting that Wi-Fi 6E’s adoption has been noticeably hampered due to chip shortages and supply constraints. The theory is that most users will just stick with Wi-Fi 6 before making the jump to Wi-Fi 7, the first products of which are expected in 2023.

Supply Constraints “A Pin in the Balloon” for Wi-Fi 6E, According to Dell’Oro Group (Dell’Oro Group)

  • “Although manufacturers launched Wi-Fi 6E products in mid-2021, products are either not available, or they are in very limited supply. Supply constraints have prompted manufacturers to focus on enabling the availability of popular models by re-designing these models with components that are more readily available,” said Tam Dell’Oro, Founder, CEO and Wireless LAN Analyst.
  • “Our interviews with systems integrators reveal users are asking for Wi-Fi 6, not 6E. Therefore, if companies have to prioritize their production, Wi-Fi 6 will be the priority. Wi-Fi shipments in the second half of 2021 excluding China, were significantly limited because of supply constraints. Ecosystem players do not see constraints easing until the end of 2022. With Wi-Fi 7 products shipping as early as 2023, we predict users will bypass 6E,” added Dell’Oro.
  • “In addition to supply constraints inhibiting the rate of adoption of Wi-Fi 6E, we have learned that compliance with regulations to operate within the 6 GHz spectrum are slowing the deployment process. Compliance processes have yet to be standardized and easy to implement,” said Dell’Oro.

Wi-Fi 6E Adoption Hampered by Shortages, Will Speed Wi-Fi 7 Uptake (Tom’s Hardware)

  • Wi-Fi 6 allows 867 Mbps over a 160MHz band at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, but with three bands (the so-called 3×3 configuration), it goes all the way up to 2.54 Gbps.
  • Wi-Fi 6E adds formally unregulated 6 GHz+ frequencies to get even more throughput when/where possible, but that adds both components and regulatory constraints.
  • Wi-Fi 7 (also known as IEEE 802.be and dubbed as Extremely High Throughput (EHT)) adds loads of features over 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz frequencies targeting even higher throughput than Wi-Fi 6E does.

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