I Want My Wi-Fi 6E - Apple announces 6GHz Wi-Fi 6 in new iPad Pro

I am dating myself with this blog, but I will never forget the date, August 1st, 1981, when MTV debuted on the air for the first time. My 21-year-old self and all my friends immediately became glued daily to cable television as we now got to see video performances of many of our favorite rock’n’roll bands. MTV quickly became a cultural icon with everyone shouting the marketing slogan, “I Want My MTV.” Four years later, British rock band, Dire Straits, immortalized the “I Want My MTV” call to action in their animated video, “Money For Nothing.” The song became a cultural anthem.

Fast forward almost 40 years, and I now envision a new cultural call to action with the phrase, “I Want my Wi-Fi 6E.” I am fond of saying that Wi-Fi is ingrained in the communication culture of our daily lives. We use Wi-Fi every day, everywhere, for our primary access technology. And if you have not heard already, Wi-Fi 6E is the foundational generation of Wi-Fi that brings the technology to the 6 GHz frequency band.

Thus, the call to action: “I want my Wi-Fi 6E”

I have written numerous blogs about why Wi-Fi 6E is a game-changer, but what are the telltale signs that 6 GHz Wi-Fi is exploding? In August, I wrote a blog about the Wi-Fi 6E design and diagnostics tools that have entered the market. The experts who design, validate, and deploy Wi-Fi in the enterprise have an arsenal of tools to bring you 6 GHz Wi-Fi. And it is happening in the enterprise.

Of course, a key indicator is the number of Wi-Fi 6E clients that have hit the market over the past year. According to Claus Hetting of Wi-Fi Now, we have seen an explosion of available Wi-Fi 6E client devices in 2022. Well over 700+ laptops and 60+ Wi-Fi 6E smartphones are already available in the marketplace, with the numbers growing exponentially.

But one nagging question that people have constantly been asking me is, “When will Apple have Wi-Fi 6E in their devices?” Well, I cannot speak for Apple and their CEO, Tim Cook, does not consult me. However, we were all a little disappointed when the recent iPhone 14s were announced in September 2022 and still no 6 GHz radio. But I have some great news! On Tuesday, October 18th, Apple announced their first Wi-Fi 6E mobile device with the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro with Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6E debuts with the Apple iPad Pro

The new iPad Pro will be available October 26th, and it comes with an upgrade to the M2 chip along with Wi-Fi 6E. Evidently, Apple also wants their Wi-Fi 6E and to quote their website:

“iPad has always been uniquely portable with superfast Wi‑Fi and cellular options. With Wi‑Fi 6E, you’ve got the fastest wireless connection available. So you’ll get faster transfers of photos, documents, and large video files.”

This a great news and a pivotal moment. Yes, numerous client vendors besides Apple, such as Samsung, Google, and many others, already have Wi-Fi 6E capabilities. However, the lone major hold-out has joined the Wi-Fi 6E party. It’s safe to say that we will see many more Apple devices with 6 GHz Wi-Fi radios in the very near future.

Countries across the globe continue to adopt the new 6 GHz superhighway that is the foundation of Wi-Fi 6E. This 1200 MHz frequency superhighway provides a reliable path for the evolution of enterprise Wi-Fi. The constant growth of cloud computing, mobile connectivity, big data, ML/AI, and IoT will continue to drive the demand for faster and more reliable enterprise Wi-Fi throughout the next decade. The advent of Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz frequency guarantees that Wi-Fi will continue to grow as the predominant solution for secure wireless connectivity and mobility in the enterprise.

So, sing and shout the new cultural slogan of our generation, “I want my Wi-Fi 6E.” And just maybe, Dire Straits will write a new song and film a cool video.

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About the Author
David Coleman
Director, Wireless Networking at the Office of the CTO

David D. Coleman is the Director of Wireless Networking at the Office of the CTO for Extreme Networks. David is a technology evangelist, public speaker and proficient author.

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