After years in the making, the newest WiFi standard is beginning to seriously roll out among business and consumer buyers: WiFi 6, aka 802.11ax.
As with the five previous generational leaps, WiFi 6 offers substantial improvements in speed and user experience. However, one big difference is that speed is not the main focus. WiFi 6 boosts speeds, but many of the improvements are focused on other aspects of usability such as signal quality, easy roaming, power consumption, and multi-user support.
Is it time to upgrade your office WiFi? Well, as things stand, there are arguments for and against. In the end, much of it will depend on your own usage patterns.
Why You Should Upgrade To WiFi 6
If you're in a situation where you need features like seamless 4K streaming or live VR applications, WiFi 6 will make it easy.
However, that's the tip of the iceberg. Where WiFi 6 will really excel is in handling large numbers of users simultaneously. This is done through a few different processes, with the biggest one being the introduction of orthogonal frequency division multiple access, or OFDMA. Simply put, OFDMA allows a WiFi 6 router to transmit to multiple users, simultaneously, all on the same data channel. Obviously, this cuts into the available bandwidth-per-user on each channel, but it massively expands the capacity of each wireless access point.
In addition, the MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) system first introduced in WiFi 5 Wave 2 has been significantly beefed up. Previously, despite the name, access points with MU-MIMO couldn't actually handle multiple inputs per channel. Now, that's been corrected and with WiFi 6, there's truly two-way MU-MIMO communications.
Roaming has been beefed up as well, with better communications and hand-offs between multiple WiFi 6 devices, creating a smoother roaming experience.
And, as the cherry on top, WiFi 6 should reduce the power drain on compatible devices. It integrates a "smart" automatic scheduling system, where the router negotiates pre-determined timeframes for transmissions. This allows compatible user devices to power down their radios in the meantime, significantly cutting battery drain.
Simply put: if you're in a situation where you're servicing a lot of users, who need a lot of bandwidth, WiFi 6 will be a godsend.
If you need an excellent security-focused network, Hummingbird Networks can make it happen! Contact us for a full consultation.