WiFi 6 (an industry certification for the new wireless standard 802.11ax) is faster, more stable, and better at managing multiple connections than WiFi 5. But do you need WiFi 6? Is it really worth the effort, time, and cost to upgrade?
We’re not here to convince you that it is, but what we will do is explain the ins and outs of WiFi 6. We trust you can make your own professional determination on whether now is the right time to make your move.
Strap in because Stratus will take you on a tour of the WiFi 6 universe and show you the sights worth seeing.
What Is WiFi 6?
You’re already well-versed in all things WiFi, so you don’t need us to water down the explanation for you. What we will do is give you the quick-and-dirty details to study and analyze for yourself.
The Benefits of WiFi 6
The benefits of WiFi 6, also known as high-efficiency wireless, can be split into four categories:
- Speed: WiFi 6 allows for the theoretical maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps—almost triple the speed of WiFi 5. And since 9.6 Gbps can speed up an entire network, each device will experience a faster connection. It also results in a drastic decrease in latency, reaches much higher throughput and peak data rates, and significantly increases network efficiency.
- Battery Life: WiFi 6 extends device battery life by using “wake time targets” to give moments of “sleep” between receiving transmissions.
- Security: WiFi 6 achieves stronger, more sophisticated encryption with WPA3 via SAE and new AI technologies.
- Insights: WiFi 6’s cloud-based analytic tools bring data to the forefront where you can view emerging trends, assess usage patterns, and more easily meet your metrics.
The Caveats of WiFi 6
All the capabilities of WiFi 6 sound remarkable, but there are always a few caveats for every technological breakthrough:
- Since WiFi 6 is backward compatible, most WiFi products will still work with a WiFi 6 network, but most will not support 802.11ax themselves.
- To access the channels and speeds WiFi 6 boasts, you’ll need routers and devices that are not only compatible, but that can fully support 802.11ax. Better yet, you might even want 6e devices since not all WiFi 6 devices can take advantage of the 6GHz wireless spectrum, which was opened for use in 2020.
- With WiFi 6e on the horizon, some IT professionals may want to skip WiFi 6 altogether and go straight to the next upgrade. This is especially the case since ComputerWorld reports, “There’s some expectation the standard [WiFi 6e] will see rapid adoption” in 2022.
Is WiFi 6 Worth It?
When comparing WiFi 6 to WiFi 5, its predecessor, there’s no doubt in our minds that 6 is the way to go. Considering everything, including the benefits and caveats of WiFi 6, we can unequivocally say making the upgrade is worth it.
But—and this is a big but—only you know if it’s the best option for you and your enterprise. You are the captain of a fleet who counts on you to use your own best judgment based on years of training and experience. Just remember, as another Enterprise captain once said, “Every choice we make allows us to manipulate the future.”
What If I Still Can’t Decide if I Really Do Need WiFi 6?
To find out for yourself if WiFi 6 is worth it, try virtually any Cisco Meraki product for free in your own environment and experience the difference.
Or, contact the experts at Stratus Information Systems to get more information on upgrading and whether WiFi 6 is worth it for your specific situation. We’re happy to help.