The IoT Surge and the Growing Importance of WiFi 6E
IoT has hit the mainstream — and it will only grow from here. While IoT devices can make life much easier, they can also quickly clog up your network and create connectivity problems if your WiFi isn’t up to snuff.
We’re in a digital age and are more reliant on technology than ever before. It’s hard to imagine life without our laptops and smartphones. How would we work, stream videos, check social media, and text on the go without them? In a few short years, it will likely be just as difficult to picture life without IoT (Internet of Things) devices as they become an ever-greater part of our day-to-day operations.
IoT devices are objects embedded with sensors or software that enable them to transmit and exchange data over the internet, allowing for seamless data collection and communication. These devices can even act on collected data without human intervention, saving people time and energy. But what exactly is an IoT device? Well, everything from a refrigerator to a heart rate monitor to a sprinkler can be turned into an IoT device. Essentially, any device built with or outfitted with a processor, sensor, or other communication hardware and connected to the internet is considered an IoT device.
There’s no doubt that IoT technology has plenty to offer, but it doesn’t come without a price. These devices generate large amounts of data, increasing network strain and connectivity problems as well as opening networks up to new and greater security risks. As IoT continues to surge, these problems will only be exacerbated. Luckily, there’s a solution: WiFi 6E.
The Continuing Surge in IoT
If you look at the technology around you, it’s clear that IoT has reached new heights of popularity. It has made its mark in countless industries and we can even see IoT thermostats, light bulbs, and security cameras in our homes!
Hundreds of millions of IoT devices are already up and running. A 2021 Statista survey showed that global IoT revenue reached $17.3 billion worldwide after a 27% year-on-year surge. Though growth decelerated in 2022, global IoT revenues were still up by $2.3 billion. And IoT hasn’t quite peaked yet. With Statista predicting IoT revenues to spike by 45% to reach $28.3 billion by 2025 and there to be over 29 billion IoT devices in use by 2030, IoT’s future looks brighter than ever.
There’s a reason for that. IoT is catching on like wildfire because it makes life much easier for users and provides unprecedented connectivity. Not only does IoT make collecting data simpler than ever, but it also allows businesses to save time and money, make more informed decisions, and generate higher revenues. After all, IoT enables users to access essential information from anywhere in the world on any device. Plus it automates tasks, executing actions at the exact moment they’re needed without any human involvement. With the help of IoT, companies can monitor their overall business processes, work smarter, improve the customer experience, boost employee productivity, reduce waste, and gain more visibility and control. It’s no surprise that IoT’s popularity is only growing.
Overcoming Connectivity and Security Challenges With WiFi 6E
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever struggled to get a connection on a busy network that the surge in IoT devices will inherently create new connectivity challenges. All of those new sensors and trackers are creating more traffic than ever before — and that new traffic is competing with existing traffic coming from your usual computers, tablets, and smartphones. The result is that performance may suffer if your network doesn’t have the necessary high bandwidth and low latency capabilities to handle the additional activity.
Luckily, WiFi 6E is here and ready to deliver the reliable connectivity necessary to support the IoT surge — all without breaking the bank. While devices historically have been functioning in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, WiFi 6E offers another frequency band, the 6 GHz frequency band, to reduce traffic and support better performance. WiFi 6E-enabled devices can run on this new band, leaving the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands far less congested and increasing capacity and performance for all devices, not just WiFi 6E-enabled ones. That’s because WiFi 6E provides up to seven additional 160 MHz channels for devices to use in the 6 GHz band, marking a significant increase in bandwidth and allowing networks to provide high performance, faster data rates, and lower latency to more devices.
And that’s not all. WiFi 6E also offers improved security compared to its predecessors. That’s particularly important when dealing with IoT devices, which inherently create new opportunities for bad actors due to everything from a lack of encryption to the use of outdated and unpatched software on these devices. Because the Wi-Fi Alliance requires that all WiFi 6E devices be WiFi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) and that they not have backward compatibility with WPA2 security, any device that operates on the 6GHz band will have a higher level of security in place than a standard IoT device. The Wi-Fi Alliance additionally requires Wi-Fi Enhanced Open certification support for the newest spectrum to provide further protection on all WiFi 6E networks. This enhanced security, combined with its faster speeds, makes WiFi 6E the best option for organizations looking to embrace the IoT surge.
Of course, it’s important to remember that in order to access all the benefits of WiFi 6E, you need to have an infrastructure in place that can fully support it. Without structured cabling and switches that are up to snuff and able to handle WiFi 6E’s new faster speeds, it won’t matter how many new access points you install, your network speeds will remain the same. When you implement WiFi 6E, make sure to talk to your IT company about your entire infrastructure, not just your access points, to ensure you can make the most of your investment.
What Does Implementing WiFi 6E with IoT Look Like?
Imagine a manufacturing scenario. With WiFi 6E, manufacturers can support all the IoT devices in their factory on a single network without needing to pay a cellular network provider for additional bandwidth. They can also manage all their IoT devices from a single pane of glass.
Similarly, WiFi 6E enables all the devices in smart homes and offices to operate simultaneously — whether streaming security feeds in real-time or joining high-definition video calls — and run on the same network without overloading it. With older iterations of WiFi, users attempting to have so many devices on their networks would be met with low performance, traffic, buffering, and worse. With WiFi 6E, your network can support both your current connectivity needs and prepare you for those of the future.
Prepare Your Network for the Rise of IoT Technology
There’s no question that IoT will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years. While this will certainly make people’s lives easier in countless ways, the influx of IoT devices means more strain on your network and, potentially, more problems with buffering, latency, performance, and more. As IoT becomes increasingly popular, network demands will grow — and having WiFi 6E, with its much larger bandwidth, will become all the more necessary to support those demands.
If you want to make sure you stay ahead of the IoT surge, now is the time to get WiFI 6E — and Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is ready to help make that happen! At TTI, we have over 30 years of IT experience and a team of professionals who are ready to ensure your network is prepared for an influx of IoT devices. We’ll make sure your infrastructure is up to snuff and can even help you protect your IoT devices to make your cybersecurity even stronger.
Contact our team today to get started!
By Sharon Carolan