WiFi 6: is it just about speed?

WiFi 6: is it just about speed?

09 March 2020 | Patrick Hirscher

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Patrick Hirscher

Blog Author | market development manager wireless EMEA, Zyxel

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We live in a world where fast internet speeds with high bandwidth can often be the difference between business success and losing out to competition.

As a result, companies are battling to stay ahead of the curve with respect to the latest developments in technology. The next-generation wireless standard 802.11ax (also known as WiFi 6) is set to transform connection speeds, particularly for organisations that have a high volume of users and devices connected simultaneously. With WiFi 6 there is no degradation in network performance.

The impending WiFi 6 impact will, of course, be an advantage in itself. Upgrading alone is a necessary and positive step. Speed increases up to 40% have been mooted in comparison to previous technologies and, as such, enterprise operations will accelerate into new territory. Why stop there, though?

As a new differentiating factor, it’s important that businesses should be looking beyond the obvious to extract peripheral advantages from the advent of WiFi 6, and to inject a little more acceleration into their own development. This would not only benefit the business in the short term but also in the long-term.

Enabling a mobile workforce

The first mode of potential differentiation actually taps into a trend simultaneously engulfing industry at the moment. Mobile, remote and flexible working has been a natural consequence of the rise of IoT and BYOD, but companies – especially SMEs – have often had to proceed into these territories with caution so far.

Will employees be extracting the same performance from their own systems away from their desk? Will interconnectivity be affected?

Well, it’s safe to say that with WiFi 6, performance in crowded or fragmented areas will no longer be a concern. Not only that, but the duration available to employees looking to get away from their desks and to ‘go mobile’ will also be enhanced with the promise of longer battery life under the watch of WiFi 6.

Essentially, speed facilitates mobilisation – a notion not to be ignored when so much job attractiveness is attached to employee flexibility at present. You’ll not only be diversifying your own office landscape, but making yourself more appealing to prospective hires in the process.

Bringing value to the supply chain

Increased speed, efficiency and performance across your internal systems will also be hugely appealing to business partners and fellow peers along your supply chain.

Range of deployment is greatly improved by increased network speeds, creating an equally impressive range of opportunity for subscribers, and indeed business partners. Tapping into a new WiFi experience will bring both sets of relationships what they seek above all else during business dealings – unprecedented efficiency, quality and security with reduced risk.

Reducing downtime and expenditure

With improved speed, efficiency and quality inevitably comes reduced maintenance. At face value, this contributes to reduced downtime, heightened confidence in your company’s operations and the technologies running them, and a more content workforce.

At actual value, the benefits are even more tangible. Operational expenditures are so inherently intertwined with digitisation these days. The one thing you can’t afford to falter in your daily workings is your technology; driven often by your connection speeds.

Data storage and management, administration both internally and externally, file preservation, research and real-time knowledge building, even socially through the significance of social media and chat applications are all now pivotal to a company’s daily operations, and all of their success and speed are dictated by network strength.

When any of the above strands breakdown, the maintenance that is required can often be costly, but is certainly necessary. To move forward in the knowledge that the likelihood of such breakdowns have been greatly reduced goes beyond instilling confidence, and actually impacts overheads.

For one package deal to upgrade to WiFi 6, companies will potentially offset a host of future outlays; and this is before taking into account the financial spikes that will occur as a result of aforementioned benefits including an improved and enriched workforce, a more loyal and high-performing supply chain, and more seamless administrative procedures.

Keeping up with latest technological trends

Similarly like any other technological innovation or breakthrough, WiFi 6 will soon be recognised as the norm. The same can be said for 5G, which is expected to have a similar impact in 2020, whilst the implementation of IoT, AI and big data are already set to differentiate businesses from their competitors.

WiFi 6 is also likely to play a similar differentiating role, and perhaps the biggest benefit of all will be not to get left behind. Finding differentiators in its application and nuances is important, but upgrading, in general, will become pivotal. If even one of your closest industry competitors beats you to the punch in terms of both adoption and application, then all other strands you may have been able to differentiate with could fall by the wayside. You’ll already have missed the opportunity to be the first to benefit from improved administrative performance; enhanced supply chain and HR attractiveness; reduced maintenance and subsequent downtime; and achieve cost savings at the end of it all.

Moving forward, it’s important to build a network strategy that keeps in line with and ideally ahead of the curve by incorporating the latest developments in technology, including the adoption of WiFi 6. As with all things WiFi, thorough planning and implementation are vital to ensure your organisation reaps the benefits quickly enough.