Is your business ready for WiFi 6?
There’s a lot of hype around the next WiFi standard 802.11ax more commonly known as WiFi 6. Sometimes new technologies don’t live up to expectations, but that’s not the case with WiFi 6. WiFi 6 is the first WiFi standard designed with the premise that WiFi is the primary connection for devices rather than a network of convenience. So in essence WiFi 6 is a different kind of WiFi.
Its arrival has even prompted the WiFi Alliance to change the way in which older WiFi versions are discussed. Confusing names such as ‘802.11ac’ or ‘802.11n’ are out, replaced by a simplified number for each iteration, from ‘WiFi 1 (802.11b, released in 1999!) all the way to the new ‘WiFi 6’. This will make it much clearer for consumers to see how new software (and likely hardware too) is when purchasing.
Many of the enhancements to WiFi 6 came from the world of LTE and 4G, which addressed these challenges long ago. If it can be summed up in a few words, we’d say ‘much faster, less congested’. But how?
Thanks to improvements to technology such as MU-MIMO which packs more data onto the same radio waves, WiFi 6 will be much faster than older iterations. This will bring about lowered latency times and less of a delay when data is sent. This will reduce load time and help to minimise disconnect issues. Even without increasing the speed of your internet, WiFi 6 should increase the speed at which data can be displayed on your connected devices. Intel reported that faster throughput will mean that WiFi 6 is up to 40% faster than WiFi 5.
Access points can instruct devices when they will need to receive transmissions, and when they can put their WiFi radio into sleep mode, conserving energy. This new feature will lead to longer client battery life. It will also open the door to a wide-range of applications that could not have been hosted on WiFi in the past, many of which might function in ‘low-power’ modes.
Density & Capacity
WiFi 6 will champion congested environments thanks to improved functions. OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) allows a wireless channel to have sub-channels, each carrying data to different devices simultaneously. Although this isn’t necessarily new tech, what is unique to WiFi 6 is that the access point can also receive responses from multiple devices simultaneously. When this is coupled with devices waiting less time to transmit signals, the result is speed that is four times faster in dense or congested spaces.
This function alone is groundbreaking for organisations looking to stay ahead of the competition, especially those using high-density networks in large offices, warehouses, universities, stadiums, shopping centres and many others.
Should I Upgrade to WiFi 6?
Since WiFi 6 is almost upon us, your organisation needs to consider the benefits of an upgrade. If you’re unsure whether to invest in WiFi 6 or not, Extreme Networks’ webinar on Best Practices for WiFi 6 Design & Deployment aims to help. It discusses when your organisation should make the jump when to hold fire and wait, as well as some ideas to improve your current WiFi network while you’re waiting.
As with all things WiFi, expert planning and implementation are vital to ensure your organisation reaps the benefits of an investment in WiFi 6. If you would like more information about how Redway Networks can help you improve your wireless connectivity, or if you are considering an upgrade to WiFi 6, contact us today.
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