Wireless was first introduced as a “nice to have” feature, but by today, Wi-Fi connects well over thousands different types of devices. According to recent analyst reports, demand for connected devices is expected to unleash over billions of IoT devices generating over zettabytes (ZB) of data at the edge. As we enter into a new wireless era where everything can be connected, Wi-Fi 6 becomes a critical foundation for digital transformation and handling high-density environments.
Over the years, the main focus has been on higher data rates and faster speeds to meet the high-density demands in enterprise WLANs. Wi-Fi 6 technology is about better and more efficient use of the existing radio frequency medium and the following five key use cases provide a practical view into day-to-day problems and solutions using Wi-Fi 6 features.
Use Case #1: Secure Wi-Fi Access Point
Public Wi-Fi hotspots have grown exponentially from education campuses to airports to the local coffee shop, however many of these hotspots remain insecure, if they even require a password at all. Most times public Wi-Fi hotspots use WPA2 encryption standard, and unless using self-service security tools such as VPNs, the general public remains vulnerable to threats and can unwittingly expose personal details or even bank account information.
Solution: Wi-Fi 6 Enhanced Encryption & Security
Wi-Fi 6 features major security enhancements, enabling WPA3 certification and Wi-Fi Enhanced Open security standards, providing better privacy and robustness against known attacks. For personal and enterprise networks, WPA3 includes more robust encryption algorithms, enhanced key management, and simpler configuration. For public networks, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open security standard provides encryption and privacy on open, non-password-protected networks such as cafes, hotels, libraries, and airports. A more convenient and secure Wi-Fi is useful for businesses and users alike, from a large campus office building to a work-from-home employee.
Use Case #2: Better Performance in Congested Settings
Live video streaming and video conferencing with voice have gained further popularity, especially during these pandemic times, consuming greater amounts of bandwidth that can impact users and businesses. Public venues, including sports arenas, convention centers, and transportation centers, continue to require more bandwidth-intensive applications density. Wi-Fi access points has the ability to connect hundreds and thousands of client devices, however hyper-density high-definition advanced applications, such as 4K or 8K video stream and cloud sharing, dramatically increases the amount of upstream traffic leading to decreased performance and latency issues.
Solution: Wi-Fi 6 Optimization of Radio Resources
Two key Wi-Fi 6 features – orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) and multiuser, multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO), in addition to dual-band support, work together to widen the bandwidth channel, dramatically reducing network congestion while supporting thousands of devices simultaneously. These features provide the necessary connectivity speeds and power to ensure an optimal experience for high-density environments. This ability to minimize packet transmissions overhead and optimize the available throughput can provide end-to-end SLA-grade applications assurance of lower latency, faster data rates, greater capacity and better performance for SD-WAN solutions.
Use Case #3: Indoor Wireless Coverage
Wi-Fi technology has been used predominately for indoor usage, while 5G is mainly used for the outdoors. Older buildings with angular structures can easily dampen cellular signals, especially between multiple floors, pillars, and walls. Denoted gigabit speeds for downloading large video files in 5G mmWave technology may be even more prone to signal attenuation. Therefore, the next step is to ensure the same or greater performance as users transition from cellular outdoors to Wi-Fi indoors.
Solution: Wi-Fi 6 as a 5G Onramp
By integrating 5G with Wi-Fi 6 allows users to roam between the two mediums smoothly and painlessly. Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint® streamlines Wi-Fi access and automates network discovery, allowing a cellular user to easily connect to a Wi-Fi network access. A user can enjoy, without interruption, watching a video or maintain an active phone call as they transition from 5G cellular to a Wi-Fi network. This would also greatly reduce the cost of deploying small cell, distributed antenna systems (DAS), or citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) equipment, while still providing access to network resources.
Use Case #4: Enabling the Intelligent Edge
As businesses shift to cloud-based services, including video and voice, there will be an increased number of applications that generate an even larger amount of data in dense environments, using limited network resources. More data is being generated at the edge and this demand leads to lower performance, higher latency, and growing costs that current infrastructure many not able to accommodate.
Solution: Wi-Fi 6 to Bridge Connectivity and Increase Computing Abilities
W-Fi 6 can connect people and applications to the cloud with SLA-grade performance and ultra-low latency. Deploying Wi-Fi 6 network with intelligent edge appliances supports workloads that demand real-time insights, while delivering faster results and quality experience on-premises.
Use Case #5: IoT Convergence
Wi-Fi technology can provide unprecedented connectivity across a near endless inventory of devices, allowing users to truly optimize IoT devices. However, the need for independent IoT overlays accommodating device connectivity make enterprise network management cumbersome and inefficient.
Solution: Wi-Fi 6 as the Center of Convergence
Wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions with Wi-Fi 6 will let access points support more clients in dense environments, connecting thousands of Wi-Fi 6 devices to a single access point (AP), in addition to supporting wireless mediums such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave, while providing a better experience and more stable performance for advanced applications. Enterprises will be able to consolidate infrastructure, increase visibility and management, which in turn reduce costs and further optimize resources.
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest generation of wireless networking technology that offers greater capacity, faster network performance, and connecting more devices simultaneously. This range of features allows organizations to accelerate digital transformation through improved security, combining connectivity with edge computing, using SLA-grade application assurance, seamless in-building cellular coverage, and converging IoT services. For more information on Lanner Wi-Fi 6 appliances, refer to the following resources:
- Wi-Fi 6E complement and coexist with 5G
- What to Expect from 5G and Wi-Fi 6 Coexistence for Network Communication Industry