Wi-Fi 6 Upgrade Guide
As technology further encompasses our lives, reliable and secure Wi-Fi access has become an essential component of corporate offices as well as employee homes. And since the shift to work-from-home, securing employees’ home Wi-Fi has become an additional priority placed on IT groups. Always being connected as we go about our days has become essential to many aspects of life and work. Whether at home, in the office, or on the road, the idea of making a wired connection to get online is a foreign concept to most workers. And protecting corporate systems and assets across these disparate Wi-Fi networks requires planning, control, oversight, and staying up-to-date.
While employees around the globe have transitioned to either full-time remote work or added flexibility around part-time remote work policies, IT departments have had to learn how to rapidly scale remote access to corporate systems and networks. Single sign-on portals and virtual private networks (VPNs) are common first steps in deploying a remote workforce. But security and ease of access need to extend all the way out to how employees are connecting to the internet remotely and more often than not, this includes establishing secure Wi-Fi in the employee’s home. Now with the widespread availability of Wi-Fi 6 devices, it is a great time to consider updating, expanding, and improving existing Wi-Fi installations.
The world is a far different place today than it was in 1997 when the IEEE 802.11 standard, which eventually became known as Wi-Fi, was released. The original standard allowed connection rates up to 2 megabits per second (Mbit/s) on the 2.4-GHz band which was faster than most internet connections at the time. Today with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) devices commonly available, faster connections up to 9.6Gbps are possible. Faster speeds and up to 75% less latency have allowed the latest in Wi-fi to even challenge the performance of wired connections.
Covering indoor remote workspaces or a small office to rugged, expansive outdoor environments – there is a wide range of Wi-Fi 6 access points from which to choose. When designing your Wi-fi 6 coverage, you’ll want to consider:
Density of users
Perhaps one of the largest differences in access points (AP) for the home office compared to the corporate landscape is the density of users they must serve. A home office may have around 10 or 20 devices connected throughout a home while a corporate campus can have hundreds or thousands of devices crammed into cubicles, roaming around across vast open spaces, hallways, separate buildings, and even fragmented levels within a building. When designing your network, minimizing congestion by understanding density will improve performance and the overall experience. Wi-Fi 6 offers dramatically better high-density performance.
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a series of security protocols designed to safeguard Wi-Fi traffic and WPA3 is the latest standard. WPA3 allows for stronger password security and stronger encryption. Utilizing WPA3 will ensure your network has the latest security protocols.
Range of coverage and dead zones
Strategically placing APs within the required coverage zone allows for a seamless user experience as devices hop from one AP to another with no interruption to connectivity. Omni-directional (360-degree) antennas are ideal for installations that include school campuses, warehouses, manufacturing yards, malls, public hotspots, corporate campuses, hospitals, and other municipal Wi-Fi deployments. Wi-Fi 6 dual-band access allows devices to switch connection speeds between 2.4GHz and 5GHz depending on availability and proximity to the access point further enhancing coverage range and optimal speed.
Establishing a comprehensive view of crucial reporting such as signal strength, bandwidth consumption, and distribution can help identify issues such as dead zones and congestion before they lead to connectivity or production problems. Managing captive portals to deliver excellent end-user experiences while keeping the overall network secure and managing multi-tier and multi-tenant ecosystems by reducing the complexity of managing multiple services are all aided by end-to-end cross-platform Wi-Fi cloud management. When designing your network, you’ll want to choose Wi-Fi 6 devices that integrate with your overall management and security ecosystem.
If you are unsure about the process of improving or securing your Wi-Fi access or upgrading to Wi-Fi 6, contact us, we are here to help.