(with thanks to Nicole Gallow, Cisco Meraki)Well, now Wi-Fi 6 is firmly in place as the unassailable be-all wireless standard of the foreseeable future. Or is it? Because now, Meraki is rolling out it’s super new MR57 access point, which is Wi-Fi 6E! But before talking about this new standard, let’s do a brief refresher on the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 first. Actually, it’s probably worth noting that Wi-Fi 6E isn’t a new standard, it’s just an extension of the same 802.11ax standard into the 6GHz band. Now let’s find out what’s so great about Wi-Fi 6E!
What’s so great about WiFi 6?
Obviously, each new increase in the WiFi standard has meant a boost in performance. Unfortunately, the gradual gains have not kept pace with demand. That’s why “The wireless here [email protected]#%ks!” is such an ongoing refrain in airports, hotels malls and offices worldwide. However, WiFi 6 is designed specifically for such high-density settings.
Here’s the thing. In WiFi, bandwidth is shared among endpoint devices. And, when you are in a high-traffic are with lots of access points, their coverage areas will overlap. Think stadiums, concerts, or busy airports. So, as you walk through your airport, you can be moving from one access point to another.
Currently, your endpoint listens for an all-clear signal before transmitting. Basically, it waits it’s turn to speak. So here you are, moving through your airport. Your endpoint (phone) is one of maybe thousands of APs and endpoints yelling and hiccuping at each other trying to be heard. It’s sort of like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Get enough devices in the same area, efficiency and performance suffer.
So, what WiFi 6 does, is it opens up more lines for endpoints to talk on, so they don’t have to wait as long for their turn. It also allows more data into each packet, which can increase total throughput nearly 40%.
Network World columnist Zeus Kerrevala explains it like this: “Early Wi-Fi was like a long line of customers in a bank waiting for one teller. The old standard was like four tellers serving four lines of customers. WiFi 6 means each teller can serve four customers at a time.”
How is Wi-Fi-6E different?
Well, the Meraki MR57 has a feature called Tri-band configuration. Tri-band configuration unlocks the use of new spectrum in the 6GHz frequency range. It provides additional channels to increase throughput and reduce interference and noise from legacy devices. 6GHz support ensures that the MR57 supports future technologies.
WiFi 6E simply means WiFi 6 extended to the 6 GHz band. WiFi 6E works with the same standard as WiFi 6, but with an extended spectrum. 6 GHz is the new frequency band ranging from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz, allowing up to 1,200 MHz of additional spectrum.
On existing bands, channels are currently crammed into the limited spectrum. But the 6 GHz band exists without overlap or interference. This means more bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency. It opens up resources for future innovations like in AR/VR, 8K streaming and more.
And the 6 GHz band is exclusive to WiFi 6E devices. This means 6 GHz networks don’t need to slow down to accommodate older devices. As a result, WiFi 6E devices can take full advantage of the bandwidth, spectrum, and speed improvements of 6 GHz without competing with any non-6E devices.
Breaking down the new wireless spectrum, by the numbers
What exactly could the new Wi-Fi 6E standard mean to you and your business? Let’s break it down by the numbers, with what Cisco Meraki’s Nicole Gallow calls the “Six Es of 6E.”
1. Extended spectrum
Having more devices does not have to mean you have more problems. The number of devices connecting to enterprise networks is growing rapidly. That means there’s a huge need for additional spectrum. The percentage of client devices per access point has seen a massive change since the onset of the pandemic. The extended-spectrum available with Wi-Fi 6E can support more simultaneous user connections to the network at higher speeds and with lower latency.
That’s because Wi-Fi 6E is just an extension of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz band. Both are a part of the same standard, 802.11ax. But with 6E we get an extended 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the U.S. and 500 MHz in Europe. 6E capable devices will get access to up to an additional 59 20 MHz channels, 29 40 MHz channels, 14 80 MHz channels, and 7 160 MHz channels.
2. Efficient traffic management
The broader 6 GHz spectrum delivers advanced Wi-Fi performance with higher throughput and wider channels. The maximum speed of Wi-Fi has evolved from 11 Mbps to 4,800 Mbps. That’s 436 times faster! The result: less network congestion.
Think of it like driving down the same two-lane road every day, only to fight more and more traffic that doesn’t heed the speed limit. It’s a bit like your current Wi-Fi situation – congested. Now, imagine the same volume of cars but on a 7-lane highway with a dedicated express lane. Old, slow cars are still sharing the highway with you, slowing down cars behind them. Likewise, Wi-Fi 6E is as much about the spectrum as it is about client devices—it’s a fast lane for all your newer, faster devices.
3. Exceptional experiences
Your network is the connection from data to employees to customers and everywhere in between. Creating a consistent and productive work environment that keeps people connected is a must. Employees want the same experience on your network, no matter their location. And you want them to have the right access at the right time, without fail.
4. Enterprising opportunities
Wi-Fi 6E will deliver a new and definitely improved wireless network that is faster and more reliable. A network designed for dense environments, high-bandwidth applications like video calls, and services that require ultra-low latency like augmented and virtual reality services.
That means that IoT devices within manufacturing, shipping, and logistics facilities no longer have to suffer from slow Wi-Fi and intermittent connectivity. Wi-Fi 6E delivers the speed and clean spectrum for every automation need. Manufacturers can use robots and automatic guided vehicles in warehouses where they require ultra-low latency with the highest reliability.
5. Enhanced security
With a highly distributed, dynamic workforce, there’s an increased need for security, convenience, and optimized access. This allows your teleworkers and locations to thrive. Employees on your network deserve a “headquarters” experience no matter where they are.
The Wi-Fi Alliance requires WPA3 security certification for all Wi-Fi 6E devices. In addition, Meraki augments the standard with a simple, streamlined setup for an error-free WPA3 configuration. Combine that with the embedded client analytics, network-wide client visibility, and detailed device insights for Apple and Intel devices that the Meraki dashboard provides. What you and your teams have is an optimal wireless experience, anywhere they connect.
6. Effortless deployments
If you’re not sold on Wi-Fi 6E yet, there’s one last thing to consider. Flexibility and agility are cornerstones of a truly hybrid organization. We all need the ability to adapt to change on the fly. That’s why the new MR57, Meraki’s first-ever Wi-Fi 6E access point, is such a game-changer. The high-end Meraki MR57 gives you the flexibility to switch between multiple operation modes. Operate in dual-band mode and get extra 5GHz capacity to handle today’s wireless congestion. Then, when those 6E devices come online in force, simply flip a switch and open up the 6GHz band. That’s way faster than building a new expressway!
The Meraki MR57 lets you deploy faster, to meet your network’s ever-changing connectivity needs, and spin up new services in minutes. And Corporate Armor is taking pre-orders on the Meraki MR57 right now. We have years of experience as a premier Meraki partner, and we can happily help you out and answer your questions, not to mention saving you money! So email us, or call 877-449-0458!
What’s so great about Wi-Fi 6E?
|Extended spectrum means faster, smoother experience|
|WPA3 security certification is required for all Wi-Fi 6E devices|
|Greatly increased capabilities for enterprise use cases|
|Additional channels increase throughput, reduce interference and noise from legacy devices|
|Incredibly easy to set up and manage|