Technology|July 11, 2019

Should I switch to Wi-Fi 6?

Rob Freridge
July 11, 2019
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Should I switch to Wi-Fi6?

Whether you are hip and call it Wi-Fi 6 or nerdy and call it 802.11ax, this new technology is the biggest leap forward in communications since we moved from hubs to switches. I am firmly in the nerd section at NuWave and this is something that I have been watching very closely for the last year or so.  

As of April 2019, there are officially 3 access points available from Cisco that support this new technology. There are also many other vendors out there as well that are just coming to market right now as well.  

So why is this update to Wifi6 such a big deal?  

This update is not just a speed improvement or a adding another radio frequency like previous updates. This update is a complete overhaul to the way Wi-Fi works and then adds new features on top.  

A real simple way to think about this overhaul is to think back to when the world was using ethernet hubs and then when switches came around all the hubs slowly got tucked away into server room shelves and desk drawers (you know…just in case you needed them again).  The same thing is going to happen to Wi-Fi here. Just like network hubs 20 years from now we will be cleaning out those shelves and drawers and find the old access points covered in dust.   

The reason I am so confident of this is because of what WIFI6 has to offer. Here is a quick rundown of the biggest changes;  

  • Speed improvements (We’re talking a max speed of 5.9Gbps) 
  • More radios (Think Parallel vs Serial). More radios are better 
  • Backwards compatibility for all those old Wi-Fi standards 
  • Painting your Wi-Fi (So telling your access point to not listen to outside Wi-Fi information) 
  • Improved Battery Performance (Sleep State for Cell phone chips that help reduce battery consumption) 
  • Latency Improvement (Less packet loss makes for faster transmission and faster games over Wi-Fi) 
  • Automatic noise reduction through bidirectional communication.  Example here would be that a smart light bulb does not need to be constantly broadcasting Wi-Fi packets and can thus reduce noise on your network by agreeing to communicate less often. 

TLDR 
Should I switch to WiFi6?
Yes
, go and get a new access point or wireless router. Yes, it is worth it. Soon more and more devices will have wireless connectivity that will only compound wireless issues unless we move to Wi-Fi 6. 

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