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What Is The New Wi-Fi 6 And How Is It An Improvement On Standard Wi-Fi?

Anna Tobin | 08/21/2019

"Along with 5G, Wi-Fi 6 is the massive shift in connectivity happening worldwide. 5G is the new industry standard for cellular networks, and Wi-Fi 6 is the new standard for those Wi-Fi networks found in businesses and hotspots around the world," explains Greg Dorai, Cisco's vice president of wireless product management for enterprise networking. "Both of these new standards represent a quantum leap forward by delivering dramatically higher speeds, lower latency, and greater density. This will allow businesses and consumers to do things unimaginable on previous Wi-Fi iterations."


As 4K and even 8K video, high definition augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) gaming and  IoT devices become increasingly mainstream, Wi-Fi 6 working in conjunction with 5G, will be what makes all of this work rapidly and without interruption. "The new Wi-Fi technology can support latencies of less than one millisecond, bandwidth of up to 10 Gbps and low-power IoT devices reliably connected at scale. This means Wi-Fi 6 can enable the proliferation of medical IoT devices, AR/VR-based immersive training and automatic guided vehicles in warehouses," reveals Dorai. "While supporting the trend of increasing workloads moving to the cloud with higher data rates, Wi-Fi 6 can unlock possibilities for improved operations and intelligent solutions in every vertical."


Wi-Fi 6 will also come into its own in high-density areas where a huge amount of demand is being put on the wireless network, adds Dorai. "A crowded baseball stadium is filled with internet-connected devices, which leads to slow speeds and connection for fans, inhibiting their ability to share photos, videos, and content. Wi-Fi 6 will significantly improve our connections and will preserve our phones’ battery life because they won’t need to struggle to remain connected," he says.


Crucially, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 can't be seen as competitors, they are complementary technologies. 5G will largely be used outdoors and its focus will be on mobile devices where there is no Wi-Fi connectivity and Wi-Fi 6 will be primarily for indoor use.


"Today, mobile and Wi-Fi networks have become pervasive. These technologies can also work in tandem by making the hand-off between the two," concludes Dorai. "Today, when you go into a Starbucks, you need to manually log onto that wireless network. We believe there’s an opportunity to make the handoff between mobile and Wi-Fi networks seamless and secure." 


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