Wi-Fi 6E arrives at CES 2021

Wi-Fi 6E could be very slowly coming to a product close to you. The Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying units 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 commonplace for Wi-Fi that was permitted by the FCC final 12 months. Whereas Wi-Fi 6 (no “e,” aka 802.11ax) is a bunch of technical improvements principally aimed toward extra environment friendly utilization of present spectrum, Wi-Fi 6E is all about increasing Wi-Fi to a newly freed-up chunk of spectrum. Beforehand, Wi-Fi solely labored on the two.4Ghz and 5GHz spectrum, however Wi-Fi 6E makes use of the 6GHz spectrum. In the US, 6E has an enormous chunk of steady spectrum—1200MHz. Beforehand, 5GHz solely provided 140MHz of helpful, non-DFS spectrum, and a couple of.4 GHz solely had 70MHz of very crowded spectrum, which is weak to working 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 ceaselessly rear their heads in condo buildings and enormous public gatherings. In case your Wi-Fi is at the moment 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 purchasers and new entry factors, although, therefore this roundup article.

Enlarge / The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely and MSI GE76 Raider.


The best-profile gadget at CES was the Samsung Galaxy S21, and whereas the cheaper variants haven’t got Wi-Fi 6E, the $1,200 “Extremely” mannequin does, and by most accounts, it’s “the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E telephone.” Count on this development 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 units, and you will most likely see the dearer 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 for sale to customers, by the best way, so you possibly can improve most desktops and laptops to Wi-Fi 6E your self, proper now, with an add-in card. Shoppers are coming, so what we’d like are Wi-Fi 6E entry factors, or “routers” if you’re speaking in regards to the all-in-one consumer-grade community gear. A lot of the large client community manufacturers confirmed as much as CES with a Wi-Fi 6E router to point out off.

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000

We’re beginning with the router closest to hitting basic availability: the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000. This was introduced all the best way again in September because the “World’s first Wi-Fi 6E gaming router,” however it lastly obtained a launch window: January 2021. Newegg at the moment has it for preorder for a cool $549.99 with a launch date of January 29, however some studies 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.

Moreover the same old 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 configure for WAN or LAN. A 2.5gig WAN port appears like one thing that may be more and more helpful sooner or later, however I do not assume there are any consumer-grade modems that might reap the benefits of that but. Comcast has a 2Gbps service, however that appears to depend on modems that may do hyperlink aggregation throughout two gigabit Ethernet ports. Google has a really restricted 2Gbps Internet service, however that comes with its personal networking gear and based on the sign-up page, “clients will be unable to make use of their very own router.” Plan for the longer term, I suppose!

A lot of the specs on these routers simply reiterate the usual Wi-Fi 6/6E options, however Asus does record a 1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-core CPU with 1GB RAM, which appears like it might probably deal with a number 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 facet 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.

Cease 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. Identical to the Asus router, there are eight antennas, however as a substitute of the spider design, 4 antennas dwell 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

When you’ve ever questioned what a white Xbox Series X would appear like, meet the Linksys AXE8400. That is simply the least-crazy design of the brand new Wi-Fi 6E routers, and since placing a router in a centralized, seen location is likely one of the finest issues you are able to do for connectivity, that could be an enormous deal to you. (Enjoyable reality: 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’s even an older version that is available in black, for those who’ve ever needed 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 release lists the US launch date as “Spring/Summer season 2021” with “world availability to observe within the second half of 2021.” Mesh routers have the potential to profit probably 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 consumer connections.

Wth no public datasheet but, little or no necessary element is offered in regards to the AXE8400 proper now. Simply 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 Web,” so it appears like Linksys is de facto 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. It is a quad-core 2.2Ghz Cortex A53 chip, constructed on a 14nm course of expertise.

Linksys’ website can be teasing what appears like a non-mesh Wi-Fi 6E router, however we do not also have a title for it but.

TP-Hyperlink introduced an SFP+ port to the get together?!

Coming in final with no launch date or worth in any respect, now we have a pair of TP-Hyperlink routers. First up, the TP-Link Archer AX206, which has Wi-Fi 6E with 4×4 MU-MIMO. What’s fascinating listed below are some severe wired networking choices. It is a disgrace TP-Hyperlink solely offered 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 10Gbps WAN/LAN port, and, for if you wish to get actually severe, a 10Gbps 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 gadget in your community rack to a different. I am unable to think about a Rackmount-American wanting to the touch considered one of 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 do this, TP-Hyperlink’s client division does not promote some other SFP+ gear. In a world the place we will not even get modem producers to maneuver past gigabit Ethernet, what’s a standard individual alleged to do with an SPF+ port? I suppose extra choices are at all times higher, however we’ll need to see what the worth tag is like for these fancy, questionably helpful extras.

Lastly from TP-Hyperlink is the Archer AX96, and whereas, once more, there isn’t any worth or launch date, this appears like will probably be a less expensive Wi-Fi 6E router. The primary trace is the pace score 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 permit for a child step into 6GHz.

On the again (once more, there are not any photos), there are 2.5Gbps and 1Gbps WAN/LAN ports, three 1Gbps LAN ports, one USB 3 port, and a USB 2 port.

Itemizing picture by Asus

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