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How available is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax if you want to get technical about it, will provide an advancement in performance for new and existing networks for the next generation of advanced applications. Several vendors, including Cisco, already have Wi-Fi 6 access points available. But what exactly are the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6? How will it affect your day-to-day life? 

Wi-Fi 6 is definitely faster than anything that came before, as predicted early on from industry experts and supported by tech journalists who have recently tested the speed. It’s at least 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5, and many technology researchers have found it to be double that at 60% faster. The actual speed a user experiences however, is contextual. For example, it’s hard to really notice the difference on a single device. It’s when you’re operating in an environment with tons of Internet-connected devices that Wi-Fi 6 makes a huge difference. For example, in the office building of an enterprise-level organization, Wi-Fi 6 is sure to be impactful.

If you’ve done any research on this yourself, you’ll notice a plethora of delivery truck analogies to explain the faster speed of next-gen Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6 allows routers to communicate more efficiently with more devices at once, while helping them use less power. More information can be packed into each signal sent, and each individual signal can divide and share access between multiple receiving devices. On older Wi-Fi, a device had to wait in line to receive access after the device in front of it received access. A single transmission is like a delivery truck able to deliver larger packages to multiple houses in one trip. 

The power-saving feature comes into play with Target Wake Time. The new routers will be able to schedule when certain devices wake up to report their statuses, which will mitigate congestion caused by updates from multiple devices. “The difference between waking up 100 times per second, which in large part was the default up until now, and waking up once a second is a huge, huge amount of battery life,” said Cisco Meraki SVP and General Manager Todd Nightingale. “And what that means is that Wi-Fi networks can start to become the de facto network that serves everything in a very, very power-conscious way.”

There are a couple of important things to take note of when beginning to think about next gen Wi-Fi. Remember that you will need both a Wi-Fi 6 router and Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices in order to take advantage of these transmissions. The other important thing to keep in mind is that the speed from your internet service provider (ISP) regulates how fast your local network can be. To take full advantage of a Wi-Fi 6 router’s speed, ISPs have to come up with faster plans to match it. Once they do, the hardware will be ready for it.

It is predicted that the volume of mobile data traffic will grow up to four times in the next four years. Take the first step towards preparing for this explosion of data by acquiring Wi-Fi 6 access points such as Cisco Catalyst 9100. For a quick look at Cisco Wi-Fi 6-supported portfolio, click here.

Also make sure to look into Cisco’s NASPO ValuePoint contract. It helps you simplify the way you purchase technology. Click here to learn more.

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