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Qualcomm's 6GHz WiFi tech helps with crowded wireless networks

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Woman using smartphone. The concept of using the phone is essential in everyday life.

Qualcomm is quickly seizing on the newly opened 6GHz band, and it’s good news if you’ve ever dealt with overly busy WiFi networks. It’s rolling out mobile systems (FastConnect 6900 and 6700) and router platforms (Networking Pro 1610, 1210, 810 and 610) that use the new WiFi 6E standard to dramatically improve capacity and performance. The new frequency range promises more than double the capacity of 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi combined, and should avoid the interference from competing with legions of existing devices — at least, until 6GHz becomes commonplace. That should lead to lower latency and, hopefully, a better chance of reaching peak speeds (3.6Gbps in the case of the FastConnect 6900).

The Networking Pro platform will be particularly useful for mesh networks and other WiFi setups where many devices might share the same network. Qualcomm is promising up to 16 simultaneous WiFi 6E streams and up to 10.8Gbps peak speed. In theory, it can juggle up to 2,000 users at once while maintaining a reliable, usable network. That’s an extreme circumstance you’ll only see with offices and public hotspots (not major issues right now), but it should reduce the chances that a family member’s 4K movie stream will mess with your videoconferencing.

Like many introductions like this, you’ll have to be patient. Qualcomm is delivering its first parts to customers now, but you’ll have to wait until later in 2020 before there are shipping devices. If you can hold out, though, you may get phones, routers and other hardware that won’t choke quite so quickly when a network gets busy.