WiFi 6 in the Enterprise

Fleet of Foot

Preparing for WiFi 6

The availability of the very first WiFi 6 devices on the market does not mean that products complying with the final standard will be available any time soon. Therefore, administrators still have time to familiarize themselves with the new technology and take steps to prepare for WiFi 6:

1. Ensure that the wired network resources are up to date. The high bandwidths provided by WiFi 6 affect the edge and core of corporate networks. Key WiFi 6 features include power delivery of more than 30W through Power over Ethernet (PoE+), multigigabit interfaces (1/2.5/5Gb Ethernet) at the edge, and 40Gbit Ethernet uplinks to the core. Uniform management is also one of the mandatory functions of a modern LAN/WiFi infrastructure, allowing security and access policies to be managed from a single dashboard, while integrating wired and wireless networks.

2. One important factor in the migration to the 11ax standard that should not be underestimated is the wired infrastructure. Currently available WiFi APs use uplinks at speeds of 2.5 or 5Gbps. In many companies, these new Ethernet standards need to be introduced for the first time.

3. Begin to integrate additional functions from the field of artificial intelligence. With WiFi 6, practically all company resources can be connected over a common network, which naturally increases the complexity of the networks and the necessary transport mechanisms. According to a survey by ZK Research, 61 percent of companies are not sure that all devices active on the network are known, or whether these devices should be on the network at all [3]. This problem gets worse the more devices you connect. Therefore, a management tool based on machine learning is essential for the success of WiFi 6.

4. In many enterprises, closed networks for certain business functions are operated in parallel and strictly separated for security reasons. Examples include the electronic shelf labeling network in retail stores, the production machines and robots in manufacturing areas, and the radiology networks in hospitals. Digital transformation and IoT are converging these networks. IT departments need to prepare by analyzing and understanding the effect of a drastic increase in network size and the use of additional protocols such as BLE or Zigbee and how they affect IT security.

Potential Competitor

Every time a new mobile phone standard comes out, the "end of WiFi" is propagated. In the case of 3G, it was claimed that this network would replace all IEEE 802.11b/g solutions. This story was repeated for 4G (LTE), and it was claimed that 802.11ac solutions would soon end up in the trash. With 5G, the message is once again that this technology will oust all competing products inside and outside buildings.

Mobile telephony and WiFi are still two largely separate worlds that users can use with ease, but switching between the worlds is now possible. For example, most mobile phones automatically switch to the cellular network if the WiFi connection is not working, although you can encounter some problems when switching back and forth, which from the point of view of mobile operators, is not always desirable.

For cost reasons, 5G will probably not replace the corporate WiFi, but only supplement it. WiFi 6 has adopted many innovations in wireless technology and now offers reliable, dense, high-throughput connectivity. However, the most important arguments for installing WiFi networks in companies are:

  • WiFi infrastructures can be set up by anyone in the shortest possible time and operated without an intermediate provider.
  • The ongoing operation of a WiFi network has no significant costs and no expensive licenses or contracts per client.
  • Companies with their own wireless infrastructure can set up independently and have complete control over their networks.

Therefore, companies have no reason to replace something that has worked well so far.


The WiFi 6 era is coming and companies will have to analyze how to use this new technology and gradually prepare corporate networks for the new requirements. With comprehensive pre-planning, WiFi 6 deployment should be a smooth and risk-free process in the foreseeable future.

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