Getting Started with 6 GHz

The 6 GHz frequency is a key feature of the WiFi 6E and WiFi 7 standards. This is a new region of the spectrum designed for higher performance clients. A consequence is that it is free from interference compared to the more crowded 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. This article covers some key requirements and setup instructions.

Requirements

  • A WiFi 6E or WiFi 7 UniFi AP (U6 Enterprise, U6 Enterprise In-Wall, U7 Pro, U7 Pro Max)
  • You are located in a region that supports 6 GHz
  • WiFi is configured to use a WPA3 security protocol
  • WiFi is configured to use PMF (Protected Management Frames)

Enabling 6 GHz WiFi

  1. Navigate to UniFi Network > Settings > WiFi.
  2. Select an existing WiFi or create a new one.
  3. Ensure the 6 GHz compatible AP is checked in the list of Broadcasting APs.
  4. Toggle the Advanced settings to Manual.
  5. Enable the 6 GHz WiFi Band.
    • Tip: Keeping 5 GHz enabled may facilitate devices joining the 6 GHz band.
  6. WPA2/3 will automatically be selected as the Security Protocol, optionally WPA3 or WPA3 Enterprise, and PMF will automatically be set to optional.
    • Note: Some older client devices may experience compatibility issues with WPA3 and/or PMF, even set to optional. If this occurs, consider adding them to a new WiFi that does not use 6 GHz.
  7. If an existing WiFi was used in step (2) and it was not already using WPA3 until step (6), it may be necessary to disconnect clients and reconnect them to register the new protocol.

Optimizing Client Roaming

  1. Place APs in closer proximity than you would for normal 5 GHz deployments. Although more performant, the 6 GHz frequency often has less range than 2.4 or 5 GHz. This is because of local regulations enforcing stricter power requirements, and the fact that it does not penetrate walls or physical objects as well.
  2. Ensure nearby APs also have 6 GHz. Although UniFi supports roaming between all frequencies, some clients, including Apple devices, tend to prefer 6 GHz even if it has a weaker signal strength.

A Note on IoT and Legacy Devices

Some legacy clients and IoT devices do not support WPA3. This will result in them being unable to connect, or frequently disconnecting when joining a WiFi instance that broadcasts 6 GHz. To avoid this, create a separate WiFi, without 6 GHz, for these devices to join.

You may also switch your encryption type to WPA2/3 transition mode on Network 8.1 and newer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can 6 GHz clients roam between WiFi6E and WiFi7 APs?

Yes.

Can clients roam between 5 GHz and 6 GHz?

Yes.

Will I have to reconfigure any clients if my current WiFi uses WPA2?

Likely yes, due to the enablement of WPA3. Many modern clients will notice that the encryption type has changed and require confirmation or re-entering of the password, even if the password has not changed. WPA2/3 transition mode may prevent this confirmation on client devices.

Can I use WPA2/WPA3 transition mode with 6 GHz?

Yes, this has been added with Network 8.1 and newer versions for personal networks. WPA2/3 Enterprise transition mode will be added in a future release.

What is the difference between WiFi 6E and WiFi 7?

WiFi 7 offers several improvements over WiFi 6E. It supports a higher channel width on the 6 GHz band, up to 320 MHz compared to WiFi 6E's 160 MHz, allowing for more data throughput.

Additionally, WiFi 7 introduces Multi-Link Operation (MLO), enabling devices to connect to multiple bands simultaneously, which will reduce latency and improve roaming and bandwidth. WiFi 7 also supports higher data rates, enhancing performance over WiFi 6E.

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