If you have a wireless network, you need access points that enable users to connect. For a long time, WiFi 5 was the industry standard that governed how wireless networks functioned, but today, WiFi 6 is here and available. Upgrading your network to WiFi 6 offers some major benefits, and it could change how your entire operation functions.
What Is Special About WiFi 6?
In order to understand the value of WiFi 6, we can explore unique, specific benefits that distinguish this new standard from WiFi 5. We can summarize these benefits by grouping them into four categories: speed, capacity, signal integrity, and efficiency. When you see just how your network can benefit, you’ll understand why WiFi 6 is a smart investment for most business networks.
A WiFi 6 access point can maintain up to 12 data streams. These streams are split across the various bands available, and with the increase in stream numbers, they provide 40 percent faster speeds on average (when compared to WiFi 5).
That average boost is already compelling, but with high-end equipment that pushes the limits of WiFi 6 capabilities, the increases are even more substantial. WiFi 5 has a maximum data rate of 3.5 Gbps. WiFi 6 can eclipse 10 Gbps, providing almost triple the total connection speeds.
The speed values are for a single device connection. That’s hardly the limit of how WiFi 6 can upgrade your networks. Network capacity is even more impressive.
Most WiFi 5 access points can handle dozens of clients in a simultaneous connection, capping at hundreds of connected devices. WiFi 6 blows this out of the water. Top-of-the-line access devices can quarterback multiple thousands of clients, all connected at the same time.
This dramatic increase in traffic handling and capacity allows large-scale networks to operate on much, much less hardware, saving money while providing better overall connection values.
Another advantage of WiFi 6 is signal integrity. This iteration of WiFi technology uses a wider range of bands (from 2.4 to 7.125 GHz). The increased band range provides up to 59 new channels — each spaced wider when compared to WiFi 5.
What does this mean for performance?
Well, the increased band space reduces signal interference, especially when each point is handling the maximum amount of traffic. Reducing signal interference leads to fewer packet losses. This increases effective transmission speeds, provides for more stable connections, and reinforces the quality of connections even when all client space is in use.
The last major benefit of WiFi 6 is energy efficiency. The protocols for WiFi 6 enjoy major improvements to intelligent behavior. This behavior allows the access points to process signals with less uptime, lowering total power consumption.
Combined with that is Target Wake Time. This technology allows the access points to spend a lot more time in a sleep state, which again lowers power consumption. While this is especially useful in remote network setups, it provides value in any wireless network. If you lower power consumption, you lower the overhead costs required to keep the network running.