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Apple @ Work: When will Apple add Wi-Fi 6E to Mac, iPhone and iPad?


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Now that Apple’s fall device release season has come and gone, one negative comment I’ve seen is that no Apple device is equipped with Wi-Fi 6E, the latest wireless standard. This could be frustrating for business users who purchase devices in a three to four year life cycle. However, despite rumors that the iPhone 13 will include Wi-Fi 6E, Apple is never at the peak of communication standards, and there is a reason why.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing the business IT network since 2009. Through his experience in setting up and managing firewalls, switches, mobile device management, Wi-Fi for businesses, 100 Macs and 100 iPads, Bradley will highlight the ways Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.


What is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E is a revolution for wireless networking. The best way I can explain is to imagine that all Tesla cars have a path of their own. How much less traffic would you see on your way to work? This is what Wi-Fi6e creates.

It operates in the 6 GHz band so no old device can access it. Wi-Fi 6e devices will be able to run on Wi-Fi 6 and other previous standards, but no device without 6e support will access the superhighway.

In terms of capacity, it will have access to 59 non-overlapping channels, so venues such as sports arenas, concert halls and other high-density environments will provide much more capacity with less interference.

Battery life

The iPhone, iPad and Mac laptop are ultimately judged by two things: how fast they can and for how long. Battery life is most important for many people, especially for business travelers. Had Apple adopted Wi-Fi 6E today, users would probably have seen it worse battery life with lack of access to many 6E networks.

Extreme Networks was the first vendor to deliver a 6E access point back in July, but it will likely be several years before schools, shopping malls and sports stadiums begin upgrading their networks.

We’re also probably another year away from making Wi-Fi 6E home networks common. Indeed, with the current shortage of chips, it will be difficult to move to a new standard when existing products are often difficult to find.

When will Apple add Wi-Fi 6E to iPhone, iPad and Mac?

Apple will wait another year to integrate Wi-Fi 6E into iPhone, iPad and Mac. By waiting, Apple will have more efficient chips, cost less and be more stable. In addition, by the time Apple adds Wi-Fi 6E to its product, there will be more Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi connectivity networks to take advantage of the new technology. Without access to Wi-Fi 6E networks, advertising Wi-Fi 6E as a key advantage of a new device doesn’t make much sense.

In years past, we’ve seen new Wi-Fi standards come first on the iPhone and iPad, and later on the Mac, but because Apple Silicon is now at the heart of the entire line, I predict they’ll all be upgraded at about the same time.

I’m excited about Wi-Fi 6E, but as the industry has done with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), we were ahead of ourselves in terms of how quickly we thought it would take most businesses and home users to upgrade. In addition, if you are running a business Wi-Fi network and need to freshen up soon, I would highly recommend that you consider the Wi-Fi 6E as a key requirement.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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