What Wi-Fi 6 means for enterprise IoT applications
Wi-Fi is everywhere in the Organization. Can you imagine an office building, warehouse, hospital or corporate campus without WiFi? With Wi-Fi 6, which is the next-generation , Wi-Fi becomes easier for business, for voice and data connections and for new IoT and industrial IoT applications.
As enterprise communications demands increase, Wi-Fi with higher capacity, greater reliability, better security and lower latency along with a new set of traffic management tools is a challenge. Rather than 5G replacing Wi-Fi, the two technologies are evolving and working in parallel and complementing each other in private wireless networks that are increasingly being integrated into enterprises.
The enduring appeal of Wi-Fi to the enterprise
With Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi retains its role as the most ubiquitous wireless technology in the enterprise. Cisco estimates that 35% of Wi-Fi traffic comes from corporate networks. Much of the growth in enterprise wireless connectivity that we expect from digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) in the enterprise will be provided by Wi-Fi 6.
WiFi has given businesses the flexibility to deploy wireless networks where they need them and at the prices, they can afford. Wi-Fi could also offer a level of internal coverage and capacity that cellular networks could not. As a result, many wired connections could be eliminated, so that many laptops now no longer even have an Ethernet connection, but always have WLAN. With Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi maintains that role and expands it in new directions.
Enterprise private networks are a bright spot for growth in today's wireless industry. But enterprise Wi-Fi networks are and will always be private networks managed by or on behalf of the enterprise. As other access technologies evolve, private enterprise networks will have Wi-Fi at their core as they evolve to Wi-Fi 6.
The important piece of the Wi-Fi 6 puzzle is the Target Wake Time (TWT). With TWT, customers can negotiate when and where to wake up to send or receive data. TWT increases device idle time and greatly improves battery life. Target Wake Time (TWT) is very useful for both mobile and IoT devices. Wi-Fi 6 IoT customers can sleep for hours/days at any time to save battery power. Kindly refer to the Wireless Connectivity Solutions for the IoT whitepaper to know about TWT.
What can Wi-Fi 6 Access Points Do for Enterprise?
There are many wireless devices that support Wi-Fi 6 protocols, such as smartphones, laptops, and other devices. You can only use Wi-Fi 6 protocols when you connect it to a Wi-Fi 6 access point. Let's see what you get when you deploy Wi-Fi 6 hotspots in your organization.
Enhance the wireless resource experience
Many factors affect network connection speed and quality, but wireless access points play an important role. If access points are used for years with more users in a corporate environment, the old access point will slow down your connection.
With Wi-Fi 6, access points use both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, bands. Theoretically, a maximum speed of 9.6 Gbit/s can be achieved. Note: Wi-Fi 6 does not speed up one device, but it does speed up the connection when multiple devices are connected. So it makes sense to change the speed by deploying Wi-Fi 6 access points in large, high-traffic office areas. MU-MIMO and OFDMA are the two main technologies that accelerate Wi-Fi 6 technology. With Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO allows one access point to connect to up to eight Wi-Fi devices. OFDMA technology allows data to be connected to multiple devices simultaneously with a single transmission. To know more about key technologies in WiFi 6, kindly refer to the Wireless Connectivity Solutions for the IoT whitepaper.
Additional capacity and coverage
In Wi-Fi 6, 4 spatial streams expand to 8 spatial streams representing Wi-Fi 6 MU-MIMO access points that allow more Wi-Fi devices to receive data streams simultaneously. The next generation of Wi-Fi 6 access points will be offered in various configurations of 8x8 MU-MIMO, three bands 4x4 MU-MIMO, two bands 4x4 MU-MIMO, and two bands 2x2 MU-MIMO. The choice of specifications can depend on the size and number of devices in the enterprise environment. While the 8x8 MU-MIMO AP theoretically offers higher throughput, the 8x8 at 5GHz is not always better as it is expensive and power-intensive. Wi-Fi 6 AP with dual 5GHz 4x4:4 radios has more capacity than Wi-Fi 6 AP with 8x8:8 5GHz fixed radios. Access points on overlapping Wi-Fi 6 networks can be deployed in many enterprise network environments to increase capacity and coverage. For example, today in education there is an exponential growth in video playback, online courses, and other new forms of education. Deploying Wi-Fi 6 APs in schools and organizations can provide higher bandwidth and performance compared to older Wi-Fi 5 technologies.
Security is one of the main concerns when designing corporate networks. As the network evolves, so do security risks. Fortunately, Wi-Fi 6 access points improve security by implementing the new security standard Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), which allows for better encryption and authentication while offering more value than WPA2. In addition to the huge advancement of WPA3, Wi-Fi 6 wireless controllers can be set up as authentication supporting web-based authentication, 802.1x, MAC address or local authentication for customer authentication. The solution for wireless enterprise networks combines Wi-Fi 6 access point, WLAN controller and gateway for optimal security.
Improved Wi-Fi scalability
Wi-Fi 6 access points, on the other hand, are equipped with the latest processors, memory, and software to protect your network in the future and prepare you to install more client devices in the future. The Wi-Fi 6 Access Point is theoretically capable of managing 1536 end users simultaneously and is highly scalable for small or medium sized campus networks. To better cater to the IoT trend, some vendors are offering Wi-Fi 6 access points that support Bluetooth and Zigbee radios. On the other hand, even with older client devices, Wi-Fi 6 access points support all available Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi 6 access points enable compatibility with Wi-Fi 5 devices or devices based on earlier Wi-Fi standards.
Farnell provides Wireless Starter Kit, which is the easiest and fastest way to start evaluation and development of your own Wi-Fi IoT applications. The wireless starter kit comes with the Wi-Fi module radio board with SD Card holder and USB, a main board with 2 x AA battery holder and USB connection, display and connections to all the modules peripheral interfaces as well an extension board with additional peripherals like an accelerometer.