Wireless Connectivity

Wi-Fi 6E: Should You Upgrade?

Wi-Fi is synonymous with internet today, but when it was first introduced to the market it was a brand name for wireless local area network. It was rather rare to find it in residences or small businesses – we all remember the “computer room” era with a ethernet cables. Things have obviously changed, and you can connect to the internet from your local coffee shop, car, or during flight on an airplane.

The demands we place on Wi-Fi today are extremely high, most of our businesses wouldn’t even exist without connectivity. These demands are continuing to increase as we normalize remote work, cloud applications, and cloud communication platforms. Networks that were adequate or high end a few years ago are becoming crowded, slow, and causing operational disruptions due to the amount of bandwidth or speeds required.Business team having video conference in the conference room

While Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 are relatively new in the world of technology, they are already struggling to provide the speeds and reliability that our devices require. This is where Wi-Fi 6E comes in so let’s dive into the components of Wi-Fi 6E that set it apart from its predecessors.

Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)

Wi-Fi 6E routers offer a few new technologies that increase throughput speeds and relieve network congestion. Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation allows 30 users to share a channel at the same time, which improves capacity, efficiency, and reduces latency. What this means is that OFDMA can assign time intervals to users that allows them to use network channels with adequate availability. An example of this would be if one user is video conferencing while another is surfing social media - OFDMA will allow the router to assign channels to each device based on the use and who needs it most. In this example, the user video conferencing requires more bandwidth and priority than the user surfing social media and the router will handle it accordingly.

Target Wake Time

Wi-Fi 6E allows the use of Target Wake Time which means that devices can determine when they will begin sending or receiving data. This can extend the battery life of internet connected devices because instead of consistently being “ready” for data use, they can rest while not in use. This feature is useful for laptops, phones, printers, or any other device that can go through periods of downtime after-hours or overnight. In addition to saving battery life, it reduces traffic on the network. It allows the router to focus on devices that are actively being used instead of all devices constantly communicating with the internet.

Should You Upgrade?

Most likely the answer to this question is YES. Almost all devices hitting the market today are Wi-Fi 6E enabled including laptops and smartphones. So, if your router is more than 3-4 years old, you won’t be reaping the benefits of Wi-Fi 6E unless you upgrade. Both your router(s) and your devices must be Wi-Fi 6E enabled in order for you to be using the technology.

If you have any questions about Wi-Fi 6E or how to complete an upgrade for your business, reach out to us at ContactUs@Matrix-NDI.com or call 763-475-5500.

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