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Featured 6 GHz Wi-Fi Gets Closer

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by thiggins, Apr 2, 2020.

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  1. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    From FCC press release:
    "Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today circulated draft rules permitting unlicensed devices to operate in the 6 GHz band. The proposed rules would make 1,200 megahertz of spectrum available for unlicensed use. Unlicensed devices would share this spectrum with incumbent licensed services under rules that are crafted to protect those licensed services and to enable both unlicensed and licensed operations to thrive throughout the band. The Chairman’s draft rules will be voted on by the Commission at the FCC’s Open Meeting on April 23."

    No, this is not an April Fool's joke. This means that WiFi 6E is getting closer, but is not a done deal yet. Mobile carriers are still fighting for their share of the new bandwidth pie. But today's announcement means that the Wi-Fi industry is likely to prevail.

    Note, however, that Pai's proposal provides full power operation in 850 MHz of the full 1200 MHz of the new band. Only lower-power indoor-only operation will be allowed over the full band.

    6E will not allow "legacy devices" to operate in it. So all the devices you have now will not be able to access the new channels. Nor will there be any firmware upgrades for the expensive Wi-Fi 6 routers Wi-Fi router makers have pushed to the market for the past two years. 6E's higher frequencies require new hardware.
     
  2. CrystalLattice

    CrystalLattice Regular Contributor

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    Bummer man. All my new Wi-Fi six equipment is crap. I guess I'll 'll sell it here at low prices. Unplanned obsolescence?
     
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  3. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    Odd, as the BCM6755 claims to support Wifi 6E. I would have expected just recertification of existing devices on this SoC to gain access. That SoC has the amps built-in if I remember correctly.
     
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  4. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    So it does. But I've checked with ASUS and they said they have no plans to firmware upgrade any of their WiFi6 products to 6E. That's not saying it can't happen, but ASUS says it has no plans for now.

    To your point, now that FCC short-term confidentiality has expired, I've taken a look at a few newer designs. I've found BCM6755 (2x2) and or BCM43684 (4x4) radio SoCs in a few newer designs. All, however, have external front ends or PAs. None of the photos are clear enough to ID the parts, however.
    • NETGEAR RAX15/20: BCM6755
    • ASUS Zen WiFi XT8: BCM6755 (fronthaul) and BCM43684 (backhaul)
    • ASUS RT-AX56U: BCM6755
    • ASUS RT-AX58U/AX82U: BCM43684
    As you said, FCC recertification will be required for any model that is field upgraded. That's an expensive process, made even more so for DFS certification. OTOH, manfs may skip that for 6E designs because, what's the point when you have all those greenfield channels.

    And remember, no one makes money by extending the life of existing products. ASUS still has very small market share compared to NETGEAR and that's unlikely to change.
     
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  5. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    I assume 6E higher frequency will be shorter ranged than 5 GHz? Does that mean we will need more APs to run 6E in the 6GHz range if you want it all over your house?
     
  6. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    The range of 6 GHz is likely to be very short as in the same room that's about it. Kinda useless really.
     
  7. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    Maybe 6 GHz will be where we go to 1 AP in each room. I bet it will have high bandwidth.
     
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  8. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    Agree great bandwidth and poor range. I can see were it may have a purpose.
     
  9. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Let's cut the snark and put some numbers on this, shall we?

    The new frequencies under consideration are 5.925–7.125 GHz. The current 5 GHz band tops out at 5.835 GHz (Channel 165).

    Free space path loss for isotropic antenna (zero gain) = 47.8 dB at 5.835 GHz. This increases to 49.5 dB @ 7.125 GHz, a 1.7 dB difference. Power is reduced by half for every 3 dB of path loss.

    You all have a feel for the range difference between 2.4 and 5 GHz. For reference, path loss @ 2.4 01 GHz (the lower boundary of Channel 1) = 40 dB. So the 2.4 to 5 GHz range difference comes (in part) from an ~ 8 dB path loss difference.

    As long as the transmit power remains the same in the 6E band, I doubt you'll see a significant range difference. Certainly nothing near limiting range to a single room.

    6E will provide two advantages: practical 160 MHz channels (no DFS channels required) and green-field operation. The latter means no a/b/g/n or ac devices will be allowed. Only ax. So no slow devices to eat up bandwidth.

    This is one upgrade all you guys who buy new stuff trying to boost your throughput numbers will want.
     
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  10. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

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    It depends on channels used and Tx power allowed, I guess. 6E may not be exactly limited to one room only. WiFi 6E lower channels start from where WiFi 5 upper channels end. We already have an ultra-fast and ultra-limited application AD technology.

    @thiggins posted in the same time more technical explanation why the range shouldn't be that much different.
     
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  11. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    I might have misunderstood BCM's specifications for that chip then.

    True, but it might allow you (the manufacturer) to reuse an existing design to recover its engineering costs, rather than launch a whole new design and sell it before you can recover the design expenses on the initial model. With a 2-3 years old product these costs are already recovered, but maybe not in the case of a 6-12 months old product. it depends on the planned life cycle of your product.
     
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  12. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    60 GHz can cover a room, so I have no reason to doubt that 6 GHz coverage would be nearly identical to 5 GHz. As per Tim's calculations, the attenuation difference should indeed be minimal.
     
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  13. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

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    Yes your are correct i was confusing the two. Yes 6 GHz should be fine. Thanks for pointing that out i totally forgot about the 60 GHz band. :confused:
     
  14. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Not necessarily. The built-in PAs and LNAs are usually there for low-end products. Most "brand name" consumer stuff uses external front ends, PAs and sometimes LNAs.
     
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  15. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    And that might be ASUS's plan. They already slap multiple product numbers on the same chassis.
     
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  16. digits n bits

    digits n bits Regular Contributor

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    So we could see a 3rd edition of the RT-AC88U and RT-AX88U with a third accent color?
     
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  17. Razor512

    Razor512 Senior Member

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    Businesses can make more money by extending existing products. For example, consider how rapidly Fujifilm is gaining market share in the APS-C camera market. Many people switched to them because of their proven track record of updating older cameras with new features. They in turn make extra money as a long term investment, as the brand becomes more trusted.
    There is a lot of value in product support. If a company is willing to update consistently, then they get the early infusion of cash when a product is released because people see what the product could be and will buy based on it, e.g., bringing eye autofocus to older cameras, as well as porting newer AF algorithms to older cameras, and getting a literal doubling of the focusing speed. e.g., https://fujifilm-x.com/global/support/download/firmware/cameras/x-t2/ see the changelog for the X-T2

    On the other hand, if you look at Nikon, while the hardware is good, firmware update support is rare and almost never includes a feature enhancement, thus they are mostly losing market share to Fujifilm and Sony. Even though from a hardware standpoint, Nikon offers better build quality than Sony.

    If a router maker does the same, they will rapidly grow their market through better customer confidence which will lead to better sales.

    Overall, it is in the best interest of companies to update their current 802.11ax devices to support the 6GHz band, if the others are refusing, then the one that takes the lead, will show a proactive willingness to enhance the products of their customers, and will thus have more brand confidence, and thus better sales of future products.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  18. goldbondx

    goldbondx Occasional Visitor

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    The XT8 just came out...literally. Wouldn't it be cheaper to resubmit on an already designed, barely sold, product and avoid ticking off customers then starting from scratch?

    One other question as a novice. Can Merlin do anything to leverage the Broadcom chipset to enable 6e?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  19. RMerlin

    RMerlin Super Moderator

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    Everything related to wifi is closed source, and outside of my control.
     
  20. iwod

    iwod Regular Contributor

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    As far as I know both UK and Europe has 500Mhz planned in the 6Ghz for release in similar time frame as US.

    Does anyone have any info with other region, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong etc. Couldn't find any information on those.
     
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