Stuck at home this year, a lot of people learned their WiFi just doesn’t cut it. Maybe WiFi 6E will help.
Linksys is hopping on the bandwagon for the next evolution of WiFi with its AXE8400 mesh system, announced at CES. Like other mesh WiFi setups, the AXE8400 is meant to bring WiFi to parts of your home that can’t reliably get it with a regular router through the use of wirelessly interconnected nodes that you set up with an app. Unlike most other mesh systems, this one supports WiFi 6E.
Let’s clear up some confusion: WiFi 6E is not exactly the same as WiFi 6, the hot new standard that began rolling out to many routers and devices in 2020. WiFi 6 bumps up the theoretical maximum connection speed for compatible devices and enables more stability if lots of devices are using the same connection. WiFi 6E, as its name suggests, is an extension of WiFi 6.
It became possible when the FCC opened up the 6Ghz band of WiFi to civilian use last year. We’ve all been operating on the same two WiFi bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) for years, so the addition of a third, larger band is huge. It gives all compatible routers and devices way more room to operate, meaning you can potentially do a bunch of different things on the same connection without clogging up the signal. Linksys claims the AXE8400 “is designed” to handle around 65 devices using the same connection.
Each node covers 3,000 square feet and comes with four Gigabit LAN ports, so you can use ethernet cables for added speed and stability. Of course, this is early adopter tech, so it won’t come cheap. Linksys is charging $449 for a single node, $849 for two, and $1,199 for three.
As more devices get 6E certified in the coming years, those prices are sure to go down. Until then, rest assured knowing that a better future where you can stream a movie while your roommates play video games is possible.