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The blistering speed of new Wi-Fi 6 technology could help bring big improvements to productivity for thousands of UK businesses.
Because a recent trial has shown the new wi-fi standard can support download speeds of 700Mbps in very difficult environments.
The trial was conducted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) at Mettis Aerospace’s factory in the Midlands. The WBA sets wi-fi standards worldwide.
The factory houses a lot of machinery that interferes with wi-fi signals. And there’s a lot of dust and other particles which also disrupt connections. Wi-Fi 6 exceeded expectations in terms of performance, reliable connectivity and consistent coverage and Mettis are already enjoying the immediate benefits in terms of the data it’s now able to collect and use.
Previous standards – Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) – had a theoretical maximum speed of 1.3Gbps and 450Mbps. But when tested in real conditions, speeds would peak much lower at around 300Mbps and 150Mbps.
Wi-Fi 6’s theoretical maximum is 10Gbps, so the 700Mbps speeds achieved in the Mettis trial also shows another wi-fi standard that under-performs outside the lab. But it’s still significantly faster than its predecessors. And that means it’s much better for mass deployments of Internet of Things devices used for monitoring, tracking and measuring.
What about 5G?
With both cellular connectivity and wi-fi getting upgraded to enable higher speeds, some people have questioned the future role of 5G. But Greg Dorai of Cisco points out that 5G is primarily to serve users outdoors and the same high speeds can be sustained indoors using Wi-Fi 6. So the two will complement each other.
Sussex companies looking to improve on-site connectivity should seek independent advice about Wi-Fi 6 technology available on the market. An IT consultant can evaluate all the options to suit the specific needs of your business, based on the extensive experience of different companies.
Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, said: “The trial of Wi-Fi 6 provides convincing evidence that it will certainly appeal to many organisations that need to communicate better in their offices, warehouses, factories or construction sites. This is because it can provide a seamless link between fixed-wire connections and to external mobile networks.
“Your company might need to think carefully about how such an upgrade fits with your long-term strategy. Do you need to introduce Wi-Fi 6 immediately across the board or in a phased roll-out? And can the outlay on Wi-Fi 6 reap more productivity and improve the efficient working of your employees?”