Wi-Fi 6 is ready to make its debut this year and, in short, your Wi-Fi network will be speedier than before and the range of coverage will increase. Beyond these basic improvements, the key difference is how Wi-Fi 6 will determine how routers will facilitate the growing number of internet connected devices, especially within your business.
To help you wrap your head around all of it, this article will address some basic answers, compare the differences between previous technology and inform you of why it matters for your business.
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6, or technically known as 802.11ax, is the latest standard for wireless network transmission that we commonly call Wi-Fi. It's an upgrade to the previous version of the Wi-Fi standard (802.11ac). It's not a new way to connect to the internet like fibre replacing copper lines, instead it's an upgraded standard that allows compatible devices, in particular routers, to transmit Wi-Fi signals and data more efficiently.
What are the technical improvements with Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi 6 utilises 1024-QAM to provide a signal packed with more data which improves efficiency and a 160 MHz channel to provide a much wider channel to make your Wi-Fi faster. But how does this compare to previous standards?
Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit information across a network, and within each wavelength data bits are carried. The amount carried is known as the symbol rate. The 1024-QAM mode has a symbol rate of 10 bits of data compared to 8 bits of Wi-Fi 5, which improves speeds by 25%. Now more data can be transferred per wavelength, making Wi-Fi 6 even more efficient.
OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) is a symbol that transmits data. It divides the data among smaller sub carriers to offer more stability and a wider coverage. Wi-Fi 6 uses an OFDM symbol which is 4x longer and allows for 4x more sub carriers than its predecessor. This increases your coverage and makes your connection 11% faster.
Wi-Fi 6 doubles the Wi-Fi band from 80MHz to 160MHz to create a greater channel width and faster connection from your compatible router to your devices. The best analogy is to think of a motorway increasing its number of lanes from 4 to 8 lanes, allowing your cars (data) to travel faster to its destination (your device).
Why does it Matter for your Business?
Thanks to Wi-Fi 6, bigger data transfers will now be a reality as it offers speeds up to 11Gbps compared to the maximum of 1Gbps with Wi-Fi 5. The faster speeds are designed to support businesses utilising any SaaS (Software as a service) and make working on them effortless. Upload, download and browsing speeds would also increase dramatically, meaning smoother conference calls and faster file transfers.
Wi-Fi 6 is also designed to be provide a secure corporate LAN, meaning that staff would no longer need to tunnel their connection through a VPN to access business critical applications, files and data stored within their corporate intranet. 5G users however will still need a VPN as it's a cellular network, making this the biggest difference between these two technologies thus far.
Are you Wi-Fi 6 ready?
There is no doubt that Wi-Fi 6 will improve office productivity much further as workplaces transition to a cloud-based infrastructure and demands for connectivity increase. By investing in a Wi-Fi 6 office, your business can enjoy the exact same offering from 5G yet save money doing so.
This would only be possible however if the correct hardware and a Dedicated Internet Access service was in place. While the hardware is still in its infancy, it's best to get help and advice from professionals if you're looking to upgrade your business' wireless connectivity to Wi-Fi 6.
If you want to learn more about the full potential of Wi-Fi 6, why not get in touch to understand how a small change could have transformative results for your business.