Manufacturers might skip over Wi-Fi 6E due to supply constraints, say analysts

Daniel Sims

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The big picture: A recently released report suggests the new Wi-Fi 6E standard hasn’t been as successful as hoped due to the timing of its introduction. Manufacturers may be sticking with Wi-Fi 6 until the arrival of Wi-Fi 7, which isn’t that far away and will be significantly faster.

A report from IT analyst firm Dell’Oro Group suggests that supply constraints are holding back Wi-Fi 6E. On top of that, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to arrive next year, so Wi-Fi 6E may end up having a very limited lifespan.

Released in the middle of 2021, Wi-Fi 6E is a label to signify devices that bring all the advantages of Wi-Fi 6—a wider range of frequencies, higher throughput, and lower latency—to the new 6 GHz spectrum.

In October, Netgear released the first quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh router, and Synaptics uses Wi-Fi 6E for a recently introduced wireless monitor docking system. However, Wi-Fi 7 is more than twice as fast as 6E, and companies are already demoing Wi-Fi 7 products this year.

System integrators have told Dell’Oro that customers still prioritize Wi-Fi 6, possibly because the components are easier to get. Supply constraints are expected to continue through 2022, so it may simply be worth it to wait for Wi-Fi 7. The group also says 6GHz spectrum standards haven’t been standardized yet, holding back Wi-Fi 6E OEM adoption.

Released only a year after Wi-Fi 6, 6E was always going to be just a half-step in the evolution of the technology. It’s just unfortunate that it came just in time for a historic disruption in global supply chains.

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