What Is The Difference Between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6?

As enterprises look for advanced networking technology to support their evolving needs, WiFi 6 offers a host of game-changing improvements over its predecessors.

In October of 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the next generation of wireless network technology: WiFi 6. The latest evolution in WiFi technology, WiFi 6 aims to tackle the evolving needs of consumers, private enterprises, and public organizations alike.

Indeed, as a wide range of new connected technologies hit the market at scale, organizations need more robust WiFi networks to support them. From IoT devices powering smart homes, smart buildings, and smart cities to Big Data platforms synthesizing multiple data streams at once, earlier WiFi technology is going to have a hard time keeping up.

So what distinguishes WiFi 6 from its predecessor, WiFi 5? Aside from the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new naming convention — WiFi 5 was previously known as 802.11ac — a number of key changes position WiFi 6 as an exciting next step in the progression of wireless technology. If you’re considering investing in this emerging WiFi paradigm, take the time to learn more about what it can do for your organization.

Maximizing the Potential of IoT

With the proliferation of IoT devices across enterprise networks, it’s becoming imperative that teams maximize the potential of this technology. Compared with WiFi 5, WiFi 6 includes a number of improved features that can make the most of what IoT has to offer and ensure that IoT initiatives meet their intended goals.

For example, OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) and MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input/Multiple Output) are specifically designed to support the increased demand that IoT devices will put on wireless networks. OFDMA allows multiple devices with specific bandwidth needs to be served simultaneously rather than competing with one another as they had to do with WiFi 5 while MU-MIMO allows up to eight connected devices to transmit data at the same time, on their own channel.


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Investing in Cybersecurity

The best WiFi 6 hardware will be prepared to support the latest in wireless cybersecurity technology. In fact, WiFi 6 access points (APs) will be equipped with the state-of-the-art WPA3 security standard.

The latest wireless security standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance, WPA3 features stronger authentication methods and improved cryptographic strategies. These include 192-bit encryption and forward secrecy, which creates a unique secret key for every session. This means that, should one session be compromised, it won’t affect any others.

Saving Energy, Cutting Costs

While technologies such as IoT offer enterprises a host of benefits, it’s important that decision-makers consider ways to mitigate the increased demand these assets will place on networks and power consumption. WiFi 6 takes this into account through TWT (Target Wake Time).

This feature keeps connected devices inactive until they’re scheduled to transmit data. TWT was designed with the IoT in mind by establishing dedicated channels for low-power, low-bandwidth devices. In addition to IoT devices, TWT will help other connected devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones preserve battery and avoid unnecessary drain.

Boosting Capacity and Device Connectivity

Finally, WiFi 6 can offer enterprises faster speeds and greater capacity for connected devices. The new standard provides four times the throughput per user in dense work areas and up to 40% faster peak data rates for each client device. This means that in addition to delivering faster speeds for end users — something we would all expect from the next stage of wireless technology — WiFi 6 offers better bandwidth as well.

Overall, these capabilities make WiFi 6 a leaps-and-bounds improvement over WiFi 5. From smarter energy consumption and features designed for better throughput and faster speeds, the Wi-Fi Alliance’s next standard will play a major role in digitally-driven enterprises.

How to Make WiFi 6 Happen

Getting the most out of WiFi 6 will depend in no small part on choosing the best possible hardware to suit your needs. For enterprises and organizations that are determined to put their best foot forward in the wireless space, the new 500 series of APs from Aruba — a division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise — is designed to leverage the benefits of WiFi 6 for teams of every size and scope.

Aruba’s 500 series delivers a wide range of benefits for enterprises and organizations. If you’re invested in your IoT networks, for example, Aruba’s APs support protocols that eliminate the need for IoT gateways, thereby reducing the complexity of network management. If you’re concerned about cybersecurity, the 500 series is designed with WPA3 in mind. Plus, the mean time between failures is 855,000 hours — an astonishing 98 years.

Here at Turn-key Technologies (TTI), we’re determined to provide the latest technology in the networking space. If you’re ready to lay the groundwork for the world of WiFi 6, Aruba’s 500 series APs are an excellent choice — and we can help you deploy them with pinpoint precision. Whether you’re a medium-sized enterprise looking to supercharge wireless performance or you’re a large organization with sizable bandwidth needs, TTI can help you implement the WiFi 6 network infrastructure you’ve been looking for.

By Craig Badrick

June 18, 2019

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