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Should You Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6? Here’s What You Need To Know
By PCS | 1 November 2023
The rise in the remote workforce has created a universal need: increased wireless connectivity. More companies need to continually provide the fastest internet speeds, and Wi-Fi 6 is a welcome upgrade from its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. If you’re on the fence about making the switch, we would like to offer some comprehensive information on this new wireless technology to help you answer this lingering question: should you upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?
What Is Wi-Fi 6?
Introduced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2019 and later ratified in 2020, 802.11AX—commonly referred to as Wi-Fi 6—is the latest advancement in Wi-Fi. It is meant to boost speeds, nearing 10 Gbps rather than around 3 Gbps with Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 also helps alleviate network congestion by providing increased capacity and reducing power consumption. Experts estimate that Wi-Fi 6 is the next wireless technology standard that will be used for the foreseeable future.
There are many reasons to consider upgrading to the latest Wi-Fi solution. One of the biggest benefits is increased speed. By using Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation it can allow up to 30 users to share a channel at the same time. Wi-Fi 6 also uses Target Wake Time (TWT), which extends the battery life of mobile devices and any other battery-powered devices by allowing the device to determine when it starts sending and receiving data.
Additional benefits of upgrading include backward compatibility to support older generations of wireless networks, which means you can continue to service customers who aren’t ready to make the switch. The upgrade can mimic a wired connection, another step toward making wireless functionality identical or better than a wired connection. Wi-Fi 6 also resolves some of the security vulnerabilities that older generations of wireless were prone to experiencing.
One final benefit is reduced costs. While you might intuitively think that choosing older technology would provide some cost-saving benefits, Wi-Fi 6 AP actually costs the same or less than an older generation. In addition, manufacturers are starting to offer discounts to encourage customers to make the switch.
While Wi-Fi 6 offers a lot of great features, there are some drawbacks. For the changeover to be beneficial to your business, you need to make sure your clients are outfitted with the same wireless capabilities as you gain the advantages of upgraded Wi-Fi services. If most of your customers have not started upgrading their systems to support Wi-Fi 6, you might not reap the benefits of switching your APs from Wi-Fi 5 just yet.
What’s My Potential ROI?
With Wi-Fi 6, the ROI can be tangible or intangible, but there will be a noticeable difference either way. If your organization plans to monetize the Wi-Fi services, then there will be a tangible ROI. Wi-Fi 6 will allow you to add more customers and offer greater network capabilities and access by improving their overall end-user experience.
On the other hand, if you’re in an industry that wouldn’t monetize the network—like a school district—then your ROI would be intangible. Your network users, such as students, faculty, and staff, will notice a significant improvement in network performance. Although intangible, the difference will make your investment well worth it.
In both scenarios, upgrading will quickly prove its value. Users appreciate the increased network speeds, and as they acclimate to the new technology, they will be more inclined to acquire more APs into their network.
Contact Us For More Details
Do you think you’re ready to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6? Like any upgrading decision, this one shouldn’t be taken lightly, and having all the information at your fingertips can help you choose the best option for your business and customers. Contact us to speak with our knowledgeable PCS team who can walk you through the process of enhancing your network.