Wi-Fi 6: Is your business ready to go fast?

Wi-Fi 6’s new features improve network speeds, security, and can provide many operational benefits to a business. Is your business positioned to take advantage of the newest wireless technology?

The latest specification of Wi-Fi technology, IEEE 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6, was announced in September and many new pieces of networking equipment in use already support it, so making the switch may be easier than you think.

Our team has been busy installing Meraki MR45 access points as part of network upgrades for our clients (including the ones in the photo from our lab above,) and we’ve seen the benefits of the new Wi-Fi 6 specification first hand.

Improvements over Wi-Fi 5

Wi-Fi 6 improves upon the previous specification in several ways. Industry reports indicate that Wi-Fi 6 offers speeds that are about 30% faster with a theoretical maximum speed of around 10 Gbps. As the demand for network throughput grows due to the use of high-resolution video conferencing and other demanding services, Wi-Fi 6’s capabilities help ensure that they’re properly delivered to us.

The new version of Wi-Fi protected access, WPA3, is closely tied to Wi-Fi 6 and addresses weaknesses found in its predecessor. WPA3 offers protection from offline, password-guessing attacks and includes a feature called forward secrecy that prevents attackers from reading old data by exploiting weaknesses in WPA2. While it will take some time for the widespread adoption of WPA3 to take place, backward compatibility with WPA2 ensures that devices that do not yet support the protocol will work with Wi-Fi 6 network equipment.

The largest improvement, particularly for businesses with many wireless devices or ones using Internet of Things (IoT) hardware is Wi-Fi 6’s ability to provide stable connectivity to a large number of wireless devices at once. Several technologies are used to accomplish this, including Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access. OFDMA allows more devices to simultaneously use the same wireless channel for more efficient operation and lower latencies – meaning faster connections.

When paired with new power-saving features, it presents the ability to support more devices with the benefit of those devices using less power to operate – providing an additional benefit that extends to your mobile fleet.

Best of all, while older devices may not be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6’s improvements, it’s backward-compatible ensuring that they’ll be able to work alongside the new specification.

Backward-compatibility for legacy devices. Photo credit: Cisco Meraki

All of these improvements add up to a wireless network that is stable, secure, and ready to scale with your business’s needs.

Implementing Wi-Fi 6 for your business

Wireless networking has progressed so much over the past 20 years, transforming from an added convenience to an absolute necessity in the modern workplace. Upgrading your business’s wireless network infrastructure to support Wi-Fi 6 may be as simple as replacing existing access points with new models, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll maximize the return on your investment.

The technology needs for each business in unique, and a clear understanding of requirements combined with a planned implementation will provide you with the stability, security, and scalability your business needs to grow. Our IT Assessment process is designed to review your existing network, gain an understanding of your business, and ensure that your technology is aligned with your business to your advantage.

Interested in learning more about what Wi-Fi 6 and the latest generation of networking equipment can do for your business? Join us and Meraki for a webinar on the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 later this month. Don’t want to wait? Reach out to a member of our sales team and we’ll show you how the combination of Valiant Technology’s services and Meraki’s networking equipment can help align your business technology for success.

Matt has spent the better part of 2 decades building systems, managing IT departments, and developing websites and applications for the education, publishing, and technical service industries. As an MCSE...

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