WiFi 6E router or compatible access point
The first thing we need to connect to a WiFi 6E network that works in the 6GHz band is a WiFi router or access point compatible with this technology. Right now in Spain we only have the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router, but other manufacturers such as NETGEAR or TP-Link already have their equipment ready to start marketing them in Spain.
This ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router incorporates a total of four antennas in MU-MIMO 4T4R configuration, therefore, we will be able to achieve a theoretical speed of about 4804Mbps, thanks to its external antennas, at 160MHz bandwidth. channel supported by the router and the use of WiFi 6E. We will only reach this speed with WiFi cards that incorporate four antennas and that use the 160MHz channel width. Right now there is no Wi-Fi card that has these characteristics, but we can use two routers like the one from ASUS to form a high-performance Wi-Fi mesh network, and that the nodes interconnect via Wi-Fi in the new 6GHz band. with the goal of achieving the best possible wired and wireless performance.
In Europe we will only be able to use the UNII-5 channels, therefore, we will have a total of 3 channels that use a channel width of 160MHz, in fact, in the router firmware we will be able to choose the PSC channels to facilitate customers wireless the wireless connection, since they will soon be able to detect that there is a WiFi network broadcasting in this frequency band, however, we could also choose any channel of the new UNII-5 band compatible in Spain.
An essential requirement of the new 6GHz band with WiFi 6E is that it is mandatory to use the WPA3-Personal authentication method to protect the wireless network properly, or use “Enhanced Open” which is basically leaving the WiFi network open (without authentication) but with data encryption. In this type of 6GHz networks we only have these two authentication methods, we do not have the possibility of making the WiFi network open (without authentication and without encryption), nor can we configure WPA or WPA2, it is a requirement that it has WPA3-Personal.
Once we have the WiFi router or AP compatible with this new Wi-Fi 6E standard in the new 6GHz band, we must check the following.
Supported Wi-Fi network card
To be able to connect to a WiFi network in the new 6GHz band, it is absolutely necessary to have a compatible WiFi network card to be able to connect, otherwise, we will not be able to “see” this new WiFi network to connect to it.
If you are going to connect to a computer, be it a desktop, laptop or ultrabook, the only WiFi network card that is compatible with the Wi-Fi 6E standard is the Intel AX210 or AX211, both models are the same but the AX211 is the one that comes with computers with an Intel processor. The main features of this WiFi card are that it incorporates selectable triple band Wi-Fi AX3000. This means that we will be able to achieve a speed of up to 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, thanks to the incorporation of two antennas in MU-MIMO 2T2R configuration and WiFi 6. In the 5GHz band we will be able to achieve a speed of up to 2,402Mbps, thanks to the incorporation of two antennas in MU-MIMO 2T2R configuration, to the 160MHz channel width and to the WiFi 6 standard. Finally, in the 6GHz band we will be able to achieve a speed of up to 2,402Mbps, thanks to the incorporation of two antennas in MU-MIMO 2T2R configuration, at 160MHz channel width and WiFi 6E standard. The characteristics in the 5GHz and 6GHz band are the same, we can achieve the same theoretical speed.
We can find this Wi-FI card for a price of around 30-50 euros, therefore, it is a very good price to update the WiFi network card of our laptop and achieve much higher performance.
Other devices compatible with this new Wi-Fi 6E standard are all smartphones and tablets that incorporate Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or higher processors, although there are other mid-high-end processor models that are also compatible. Some specific models that are compatible are the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung S22 Plus and Ultra, as well as any mobile from Xiaomi, OPPO and other manufacturers that have the Snapdragon 888 or higher.
To find out if our smartphone or tablet is compatible with Wi-Fi 6E, it is essential to look at the technical specifications. If it supports Wi-Fi 6E or indicates that it is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 but in the 6GHz band, that means that it is compatible with this new standard, therefore, we will be able to see and connect to this type of network without any problem. .
Even if we install the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi network card in our computer, it is absolutely necessary to install the latest Intel drivers to avoid any problem when using this card. Otherwise, we could run into problems connecting to Wi-Fi 6E networks and even not even see the wireless networks that are operating in this 6GHz frequency band.
Currently, in February 2022, the latest Intel drivers are 22.110.1, both for the Windows 10 operating system and the Windows 11 operating system. Therefore, if you are going to buy this Intel AX210 WiFi network card, or if you your computer already has it installed, our recommendation is that you check the version of the installed drivers.
In our Wi-Fi wireless performance tests at 6GHz we have verified that having the Intel AX210 card and the latest drivers installed on the PC is not enough, it is also necessary that the operating system is compatible with this new frequency band, otherwise Otherwise, we might not “see” the wireless network in this frequency band.
If you have the Windows 10 Pro operating system updated to the latest version available, with the latest Intel drivers and the AX210 as a network card, you will not be able to connect to 6GHz wireless networks because the operating system is not compatible. Even if we have all the parameters activated in Windows at the level of the network card and working well, as well as the registry key correspondingly configured, it will not be able to detect these networks. If you use Windows 10 Proit is absolutely necessary that install the latest “Insider” version of this operating system, this version of Windows will have everything necessary to see Wi-Fi wireless networks and be able to connect.
The Windows 11 operating system is perfectly compatible with the new 6GHz band without the need for any advanced configuration, we simply have to have the latest Intel drivers installed and everything will work perfectly at first. This operating system is the one that we have used for the performance tests of the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, since with Windows 10 Pro that we used in all the tests it was not possible.
Other operating systems like based on Linux and macOS are already supported with this new wireless standard, but it will be necessary to have the card with its corresponding drivers. We do not know in these operating systems if something special has to be done, since we have tested it with the Windows operating system. In principle, there should be no problem with Linux, since it is always the first operating system where security and network performance improvements are added.
As you have seen, we have several requirements to be able to use the new 6GHz band with the Wi-Fi 6E standard. If we do not meet all the requirements simultaneously, then we will not be able to connect to these networks and we will not be able to enjoy all the built-in improvements.