Apple is expected to upgrade iPhone 15 Pro models to Wi-Fi 6E thanks to the new A17 processor, so here’s what you need to know about the standard and why you should care about it.
Wi-Fi 6E isn’t new to Apple products, but it hasn’t found its way to iPhones yet. The standard is relatively new, and many users may not be getting much use out of it just yet, but we’ve explained why it’s important even with Wi-Fi 7 on the horizon.
The standard hit homes via routers starting in 2021 from companies like Linksys and TP-Link. And Apple didn’t start supporting Wi-Fi 6E until the June 2022 arrival of the M2 processor, which is used in current Macs and iPads.
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max (or iPhone 15 Ultra) will use Apple’s next-generation A17 processor, which is built on the same M2 process. This means that these devices will support Wi-Fi 6E.
Those who buy the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Plus will not have access to Wi-Fi 6E because they will be using the A16 processor.
What is Wi-Fi 6e?
Routers rely on different bands to provide network connectivity over Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6 introduced the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band while Wi-Fi 6E expands that with a new 6GHz band.
Channels up to 160MHz are also available with Wi-Fi 6E, useful for streaming content or virtual reality.
New bands and channel bandwidth mean less congestion on the same network. In environments with many devices, Wi-Fi 6E delivers up to 56 new channels and less interference.
Existing Apple products with Wi-Fi 6E technology
Only products with the M2 generation processor have Wi-Fi 6E:
There are many non-Apple products with Wi-Fi 6E – most of them are Windows computers and Android smartphones. Current game consoles have missed the boat because of this flavor of Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi 6E is still an evolving state
Having a Wi-Fi 6E product isn’t enough, of course, you’ll have to buy the standard via a new router. Since most people don’t buy a new router every time a new standard arrives (if any), it’s unlikely that most of them will take advantage of that new standard right away.
Wi-Fi 6E is coming to the iPhone 15 Pro
There’s a strong possibility that many people haven’t outgrown Wi-Fi 5, formerly known as 802.11ac. New routers or mesh networks can easily cost hundreds of dollars, although if you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of the few willing to take a chance.
However, Wi-Fi 6E can’t guarantee faster speeds just because of the new hardware and router support. The new speed of 6GHz only works when the device is nearby and not isolated by walls or other obstructions.
In some cases, especially when discussing using a desktop Mac, a wired connection is still the best solution. If your router is conveniently placed in your home, this can mean better speeds, but not always.
What about Wi-Fi 7?
Wi-Fi standards are updated regularly, but it’s best not to worry too much. Apple doesn’t usually stay on the cutting edge of wireless standards, and the products that are out front tend to be very expensive.
Watch short YouTube videos over Wi-Fi
So, AppleInsider‘s advice remains as strong as ever – buy what you need when you need it. Don’t wait for some rumored and vague future product when most likely the current product is already overpriced for your needs.
Rumors suggest that Wi-Fi 7 may reach the iPhone 16 Pro in 2024, but that is not clear yet. However, Wi-Fi 7 routers have just hit the market and they do come at an incredible price.