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iPhone 15 Wi-Fi 6E support – faster speeds, less interference

An analyst report points to likely iPhone 15 Wi-Fi 6E support this year – giving at least some of this year’s iPhones access to a whole new frequency band.

If accurate, that would mean increased capacity, reduced interference, and better video streaming performance …

iPhone 15 Wi-Fi 6E support

MacRumors got sight of a Barclays research note that suggested that Apple is bringing support for the new standard to the iPhone 15 – though it didn’t state whether it was across the lineup or just the two Pro models.

Apple has already brought the Wi-Fi 6E standard to both the latest iPad Pro models, both 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the new Mac mini.

Confusing naming

As is often the case with technical standards, the naming is rather confusing.

Wi-Fi originally operated only in the 2.4GHz band. This offers limited speeds, and is subject to interference from things like microwaves.

The first major development was to add access to the 5Ghz band. This offers significantly greater capacity, less susceptibility to interference, reduced latency, and higher speeds. The most recent change was the addition of the 6GHz band.

You might think that devices that support Wi-Fi 6 would provide access to 6GHz Wi-Fi, but no – that would be too logical. Access to the 6Ghz spectrum requires support for Wi-Fi 6 Enhanced, more commonly known as Wi-Fi 6E.

Benefits of Wi-Fi 6E

The 6GHz spectrum offers a number of advantages over 5GHz. First, it offers a lot more capacity. That means less congestion in cities, and allows for wider channels – which offers better connections for video streaming and virtual reality. Wi-Fi 6E effectively quadruples capacity, because it offers 14 extra 80MHz channels and seven all-new 160MHz ones.

Second, there’s no interference with anything else because the 6GHz band is reserved exclusively for Wi-Fi.

Third, channels can be wider, which means greater bandwidth for streaming video and other data-heavy applications like virtual reality. Speeds can exceed 1 gig, and latency can be less than a millisecond.

Drawbacks of Wi-Fi 6E

It’s not all good news, unfortunately. First, you’ll likely need a new router to take advantage of it. Very few of today’s wireless routers support Wi-Fi 6E, so you’ll probably need to upgrade.

Second, Wi-Fi 6E has shorter range than plain old Wi-Fi 6, and is also more easily blocked by physical structures. So if you live in a home with thick walls, performance is likely to suffer. You may also find that Wi-Fi 6E coverage doesn’t extend as far outside your home, in yards and gardens.

That isn’t much of a problem in practice, however, as coverage simply falls back to the 5GHz range.

9to5Mac’s Take

The report seems a pretty vague one, and we have been burned once before, by reports which said that Wi-Fi 6E was coming to the iPhone 14.

That said, given that Apple has already upgraded the radio chips in the latest iPads and Macs, the expansion of the same capabilities to this year’s Pro model iPhones seems a safe bet. Less certain is whether the non-Pro models will get the same upgrade.

Photo: Alessandra Wolfsberger/Unsplash

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