Refreshing look at Wi-Fi 6 benefits, preparations

In her 2006 hit single “Upgrade U,” Beyoncé Knowles made trading up sound easy — “flip a new page, introduce you to some new things” — but any networking pro knows upgrading is rarely so simple. Now that Wi-Fi 6 technology is widely available, many organizations are weighing their migration strategies and timelines, with the added complication of a global pandemic not yet in the rear-view mirror.

By many accounts, Wi-Fi 6 lives up to much of its considerable hype. Features like orthogonal frequency-division multiple access and multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output are realizing unprecedented gains in efficiency and performance over Wi-Fi 5.

Wireless experts Kevin Tolly and Andrew Froehlich explore these and other Wi-Fi 6 benefits and outline basic migration strategies, including important practical considerations like power and uplink needs. You’ll also find a helpful evaluation of seven of the top enterprise Wi-Fi 6 vendors on the market today.

Then, network architect Lee Badman offers an invaluable reality check on what Wi-Fi 6 benefits could look like on the ground. He rightly points out that wireless standards historically overpromise and underdeliver, and dives into how real-world variables, such as geriatric client devices, could impact performance. Any IT professional looking to separate fact from marketing — a perennial challenge — as they consider their Wi-Fi 6 deployment strategy will want to read Badman’s assessment.   

This handbook provides a pragmatic, clear-eyed look at Wi-Fi 6 benefits and deployment considerations, with the goal of making the upgrade process a little easier for enterprise network pros. Beyoncé would approve.