What is WiFi 6E? (Windows 10 Support, Others)

This article discusses the new WiFi standard – WiFi 6E. Find what it is and if it’s supported in Windows 10.

Intel WiFi 6E

What is WiFi 6E?

WiFi 6E is a new WiFi standard that includes support for the 6GHz band (in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands). The technology used is the same as on the 5GHz band, so the maximum speed is the same, 9.6Gbps.

What is the Benefit of WiFi 6E for Wireless Networking?

The main benefit is speed. The 5GHz band has a limited spectrum, which affects WiFi signals. Having the additional 6GHz band available will allow for more devices and faster connections. Remember that the 2.4GHz band offers more range, but the 5GHZ (and 6GHz) bands allow for faster connections.

In the 5GHz band, the spectrum is limited to about 400MHz, while the FCC is opening up 1200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band. That means the channel size will increase (7 channels of 140MHz), resulting in performance improvements, and even range benefits.

One of the main benefits that will come from the new WiFi standard is the improved support for MU-MIMO  technology (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output). This allows multiple users to access a wireless network at the same time. With more devices, more speed means better support for multi-user home networking, or online classrooms. This is great news in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and good news for the Internet-Of-Things, where all home devices will be connected to the Internet.

Since WiFi 6 is backward compatible, new devices will still be compatible with older hardware, although the limitations of the older hardware will then apply.

Are There Any Limitations to this WiFi Standard?

Well yes. The 6GHz band is approved for unlicensed use by the FCC in the US. In other countries the use of the 6GHz band will also need to be allowed. For European countries, that could be expected this year. For other countries, the approval will also need to be given before the WiFi 6E can be used. UK and South Korea are other early adopters of the standard.

When Will WiFi 6E be Available?

Manufacturers have already started adopting the new WiFi 6E standard and are supporting it in their devices. Companies like Intel, Realtek, Broadcom and Qualcomm have committed devices to be compatible with the new standard. Router companies like Netgear and Linksys will also support the new standard in their new or updated products. Cell phone companies will also adopt the new standard based on its approval in various countries.

Support for WiFi 6E is starting to be available this year. Samsung is expected to include support in their new Galaxy S21 series phone, and others will surely follow soon.

The same applies to routers and network cards. Netgear routers with support for WiFi 6E are expected in Spring 2021. TP-Link, Asus and Linksys routers will also be available during Spring or Summer of 2021.

Intel AX210Intel already launched their first wireless card that has WiFi 6E support, the Intel WiFi 6E AX210.

The card has a M.2 2230 interface, so you’ll need a motherboard that supports a M.2 WiFi module. But it supports the 802.11ax protocol.

Other manufacturers have also used the Intel chipset to create WiFi 6E cards, like the OKN Intel WiFi 6E AX210. Most new cards also support the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, and this OKN device even supports Bluetooth 5.2 (high-speed transfer, low latency).

Asus ROG Raptrure GT-AXE1On the router front, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE1 1000 Gaming Router is one of the first that has support for the WiFi 6E standard.

ASRock has also released new motherboards that support WiFi 6E (and Bluetooth 5.2). The Z590 Extreme WiFi 6E for example.

What Does this Mean for Windows 10 Support?

For Windows 10 support of the new WiFi 6E standard, all that is required will be a compatible device and updated device drivers. That means a laptop, notebook or portable device that uses a chipset with WiFi 6E support, or for a desktop computer, adding a wireless network card that supports the new WiFi 6E standard.

For the Intel AX210 based M.2 cards, the latest Intel Wireless drivers are required, which support the 802.11ax protocol.

For other manufacturers, updated drivers will need to be installed for the WiFi 6E compatible devices when they become available.

If you cannot manually find a driver for your WiFi 6E device, download DriverFinder and let it find a wireless driver for you automatically, and find updates for other device drivers at the same time.

Video Drivers and their Importance

Video drivers need to be specific to the video card, also known as a graphics card or display adapter. If you are installing a graphics card in to your system, you should first check to make sure it will be compatible with your motherboard. Conflicts, while rare if you are using up-to-date components, can occur and can be difficult to handle.

The graphics card you have purchased should have been supplied with its own video drivers in form of either a CD or floppy disk. The video drivers can be installed in your operating system after you have inserted the card in to the motherboard.

The video drivers will enable you to configure the graphics on your system correctly and set the colors and refresh rate to the video card’s limits. A graphic card or video card will require video drivers to enable the card to send the graphics to the processor and then to your monitor or other viewing component.

Some operating systems will have a list of video cards in the device manager to choose from. You can also match up your card by its manufacturer and model number. The operating system will use the video drivers in which it has stored to enable your graphics to function correctly.

Video Drivers for On-Board Video

Video drivers for on board video should have been supplied with the system board or motherboard, whatever you want to call it. There is no card to remove; the video graphics are actually built right in to the board itself. This allows for more open slots for other type of expansion cards.

Video drivers can be found within the operating system in this case as well. If you can not choose a manufacture or model number, the operating system would just automatically pick up the video drivers and load them as the default.

If you are still in need of video drivers for your onboard video, you would check to make sure you do not have the motherboard driver CD; this would be where you find the drivers. If the CD can not be located, you can download video drivers from the internet from the manufacturer’s site. There are some instances where you can not locate the board manufacturer. In this case you would want to do a search for it on the internet. Include in your search video drivers, so that you would have the correct ones available to you.

How to Update Video Drivers

Video drivers should be updated often either (1) by using the automatic update software that was available when installing the graphics card, (2) by going to the manufacturer’s site and checking for updates, or (3) using third-party software like DriverFinder™ to automatically update not just your video drivers but any and outdated or corrupt driver on your system.

With the changing face of gaming and other graphic software, such as photo editors, and graphing or blueprinting software, the need for updates are quite frequent (almost inevitable really). And as manufacturers try to keep up by releasing new products and/or new features to existing products, we just have to ensure that  we have access to most updated video drivers out there.

>> Download Video Drivers