While the IEEE 802.11 ac standard (Wi-Fi 5) only functioned on the 5 GHz band, Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11 ax) incorporates both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz frequency bands. However, as the number of wireless devices continues to grow, congestion in both of these bands will continue to increase, negatively impacting both Wi-Fi speeds and bandwidth. Any devices or other hardware that expect optimal Wi-Fi 6 performance must be capable of effectively handling both frequency bands despite the high level of congestion. In April of 2020, the FCC (U.S. Federal Communications Commission) voted for a proposal to open up the 6 GHz band to unlicensed use as an extension of Wi-Fi 6. This Wi-Fi band contains up to 1,200 MHz of new spectrum (5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz). The introduction of the 6 GHz band is known as Wi-Fi 6E. While Wi-Fi 6E opens up the possibility to meet the demands of speed, higher data rate and lower latency, real-time communications, and better performance in congested environments, it also increases the degree of difficulty that accompanies the optimization of antenna performance in this expanded environment. According to Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi 6E has the following features and benefits:
Antenna considerations for Wi-Fi 6E
The majority of Wi-Fi 6E enhancements require a higher degree of organization between devices, access points, and other parts of the system in order to function successfully. Because every part of the system is so interrelated, the tighter radio frequency (RF) specifications that accompany Wi-Fi 6E means that every aspect of an RF system design becomes more complicated. These challenges apply to antennas as well. Due to the increased complexity and higher performance expectations involved with Wi-Fi 6E, antennas must be optimized to meet these higher levels of performance. Some of the challenges facing optimized antenna performance include:
- The need for additional antennas
- The increasingly-smaller enclosure size of current devices with limited space for antennas
- Multiple technologies (and antennas) must co-exist (and function) inside a single device enclosure
Unictron’s engineering team has extensive experience in working together with customers to develop and design in Wi-Fi antennas in customer’s RF devices. We also have a comprehensive line-up of antennas for Wi-Fi applications including patented TELA chip antennas, PCB/FPC antennas and LDS antennas. The most recent release of the patented Pillar antenna is a high performance chip antenna which can be user-friendly installed almost anywhere of a circuit board without the limitation of ground clearance requirements. Pillar chip antennas for 6 GHz band Wi-Fi 6E applications are also available to provide customers with a SMT process compatible high performance antenna solution.