WiFi 6: Leveraging the Next Generation of Wireless

We live in an age of perpetual, constant connectivity. The events of 2020 have shown just how reliant we are on high-speed wireless connectivity as tens of millions of employees work from home alongside their children shifting to remote learning. Whether it’s a busy office or a packed household, it’s not uncommon for several people to be streaming data-hungry video conversations over WiFi. 

This is precisely the reason WiFi 6 is such an important improvement on its predecessors. Intel calls this latest generation of wireless connectivity “a substantial upgrade over previous generations…[that] allows for potentially faster connection speed.” Now the question is, how much faster can your wireless devices connect to the internet with WiFi 6? By the books, a router with this compatibility could deliver connection speeds 250% faster than WiFi 5. This is hugely important in connection-dependent environments. 

Of course, there are many added benefits of faster internet connectivity than crystal clear video calls and bottleneck reduction for remote work and learning. Let’s take a closer look at who benefits most from the new WiFi Alliance standards.

Your Team Needs WiFi 6 To Boost Productivity, Especially in this COVID-19 Remote/Hybrid Working Era

While Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are being administered around the globe, it’s estimated that it will take until summer 2021 for vaccinations to become available for the general public. This means many organizations have several months of remote and hybrid working remaining ahead of them. And even after vaccination becomes widespread, many employees have grown accustomed to working from home or as part of a hybrid model and would prefer to do so indefinitely, especially those in organizations that have been successfully working under these forced conditions. That’s why many organizations have started implementing permanent work-from-home policies.

Employees who are connecting to your organization’s network from home have multiple devices in their homes competing for the same resources. It’s estimated that by 2025, the average home will have twenty connected devices. That’s the average. It doesn’t account for early adopters and an increase in Internet of Things (IoT) devices in consumer applications. 

Benefits of WiFi 6 for Enterprise Work Environments

WiFi 6 offers a number of significant improvements that go beyond pure speed improvements. These include:

  • Greater Transfer Speeds – Speed is, of course, the first and foremost benefit. While real-world conditions vary significantly, WiFi 6 speed on paper is 10Gbps. By combining the spectrum bands of most WiFi systems and utilizing MU-MIMO technology for data transfers, it significantly outpaces older systems. 
  • Better Battery Life in Devices – One of the major challenges of implementing IoT at scale is battery life. Low-power devices are limited in connectivity and performance under old networks. WiFi 6 uses target wake time (TWT) technology to ensure the radio is only on when it is needed, conserving power when not in use. 
  • Improved Performance in Busy Areas – Crowded areas can directly impact WiFi performance. WiFi 6 uses several new technologies such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) to break up wireless channels and reduce interference in busy areas. 

WiFi 6 has only been around for a little over one year, and that means many devices are not yet fully taking advantage of the technology. That said, the number of wireless devices in offices and home settings will only grow, and many of them will become WiFi 6 compatible in the next few years. It’s well worth considering the potential impact of such an upgrade for your systems. 

The Real Productivity Benefits WiFi 6 Can Deliver to Your Firm

Whether at home or in the office, sub-optimal connectivity can directly impact employee productivity. If your employees need access to cloud-based documents, delayed internet connectivity can affect their ability to:

  • Access vital information
  • Collaborate with distributed team members
  • Make timely decisions based on company data and intelligence

If your organization includes essential field workers who have delayed connectivity from mobile devices—especially in highly-dense areas—this can make your circumstances even worse. An essential worker who can’t quickly update your internal systems from the field may not be able to:

  • Report customer issues, including emergencies that need immediate attention
  • Create invoices for timely fulfillment
  • Track hours (which is an essential task for those with a CDL), mileage, and more

As the old saying goes, time is money. The amount of time that your work-from-home and essential field workers lose in productivity from delayed internet connectivity affects your organization’s ability to be agile, responsive, and competitive. 

Don’t Be Too Late on the S-Curve to Adopt WiFi 6

WiFi 6 isn’t a risky investment. It’s a proven advantage with many enabled devices that are already on the market for you to purchase and deploy to your workers. Early adopters are already reaping the benefits of faster internet connectivity. Don’t be so far behind on the curve for adopting WiFi 6 that your competition outpaces you.

Contact Bedroc today to schedule a consultation and learn more.