Is it time to upgrade your Wi-Fi network?

Introduction:

Is it time to upgrade your Wi-Fi network? The latest version of wireless networking technology, Wi-Fi 6/6E, was fully ratified in May 2021. While Wi-Fi 6 has been around, the emergence of 6GHz (6E) enterprise-grade access points brings new possibilities. This raises questions about its superiority over Wi-Fi 5, the differences, and the urgency of upgrading.

What’s New with Wi-Fi 6/6E:

Multiple technology improvements accompany Wi-Fi 6/6E, enhancing throughput and traffic management efficiency for high-capacity environments.

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA):

Divides channels into “Resource Units,” enabling concurrent communication with multiple clients and optimizing performance in crowded environments.

Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) Improvements:

Support for up to eight spatial streams and uplink transmissions, increasing capacity and efficiency for high-bandwidth applications.

Overlapping Basic Service Set – OBSS:

Allows more effective communication on crowded networks by uniquely identifying Wi-Fi networks with colors, reducing interference.

Target Wake Time – TWT:

Improves power management by scheduling wake-up times for devices, extending client device battery life.

1024-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation):

Increases data rate by using 10 bits instead of 8, providing a 25% boost in Wi-Fi 6/6E access points and devices.

Longer OFDM Symbols:

Introduces longer guard intervals and four-times larger OFDM symbols, enhancing frequency domain efficiency and capacity.

Tri-Band Support:

Operates in the 2.4GHz, 5.0GHz, and 6.0GHz bands, providing access to ninety-eight 20MHz channels, reducing interference problems.

6.0GHz Band Features:

Wi-Fi 6/6E’s exclusive use of the 6.0GHz band introduces:

Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC):

Prevents interference by consulting a registered database to validate frequency availability, ensuring stable Wi-Fi network performance.

Preferred Scanning Channels and Reduced Neighbors Report:

Addresses the challenge of client devices scanning numerous channels by utilizing Preferred Scanning Channels and Reduced Neighbor Reports for accelerated network discovery.

Multiple BSSID per Beacon:

Reduces beacon overhead by including information about multiple SSIDs in a single beacon frame, improving Wi-Fi network performance.

Enhanced Security with WPA3 and Management Frame Protection (MFP):

Wi-Fi 6/6E mandates the use of WPA3 or Enhanced Open for devices operating in the 6.0GHz band. Management Frame Protection is also required to prevent Wi-Fi Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, ensuring a more secure network.

Conclusions:

Wi-Fi 6/6E introduces significant enhancements that impact all aspects of Wi-Fi operation. Upgrading from older Wi-Fi versions promises improved performance, efficiency, and security. Whether it’s a boost in throughput or better performance in crowded environments, Wi-Fi 6/6E proves to be a valuable upgrade. If you’re facing coverage, capacity, and performance issues, an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6/6E may be the solution. Visit www.netally.com/products/etherscopenxg for more information on deploying Wi-Fi 6/6E with NetAlly.

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