Technology has been on a rampant march to offer greater speeds, faster connections, and more secure protocols to make our businesses and our personal lives more efficient and more productive.
As a technologist, I can’t wait to hear and try the newest technology and take for a test spin and kick the tires to see what the hype is all about. Although the march has always progressed, some advancements are better than the rest, and sometimes we must wait a little longer for a major milestone. Wi-Fi 6E is one of those milestones.
Wi-Fi has been around for over 20 years. In fact, we are now approaching a quarter of a century of using the RF waves that we catch to improve all aspects of our professional and personal lives. Up until recently we had 2 RF bands for unlicensed use. We use 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz which are neatly channelized. Yes, over the years, security, speeds, and modulations have improved. But we were still bound to 3 non-overlapping channels in 2.4 GHz and 25 in 5 GHz. These constraints have served us well. Although we have been able to combine channels to increase our channel width and our throughput, we were left with smaller allocations of available channels. The wider our channels, the more noise gets introduced to our signal which causes retries and erodes our WLAN performance. Not to mention some of the contention for airtime because of all the devices on the wireless network. We needed a spectrum with less traffic and even more bandwidth.
It’s time we prepare for our future and ensure our WLAN’s are offering the solution to free up contention and have the capability to support even more connected devices, with a cleaner signal, less interfering devices, more channels, and a brand-new spectrum in the 6 GHz band.
These are exciting times and by the grace of the FCC, manufacturers like us at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise can offer a better alternative than two bands that we have been using for several years. In the U.S., Wi-Fi 6E was approved by the FCC April 23, 2020. Wi-Fi 6E enables faster speeds, multi-gigabit bandwidth and low latency connections.
The FCCs opened 1.2 GHz of the 6 GHz band. This has been the most exciting development in over 20-years! The best in times indeed.
There are some clear advantages over 5 GHz, there will not be DFS requirements (Dynamic Frequency Selection). This means the channels will always be available.
What does that mean?
None of the constrains of 5Ghz will apply. Just a wide-open lane with plenty of room to stretch. If we know anything about technology, we know that the speeds of today will be quickly surpassed in the future. That is a good reason to upgrade your network to the latest ensuring there is room for growth.
Wi-Fi 6E promises higher speeds, less latency, and less interference. Which translates to supporting more users by adding additional capacity.
From a consumer expectation, we can expect better high-definition streaming experiences and enhanced VR/AR. We can also expect new smartphones to support Wi-Fi 6E.
Businesses can expect better location services, IoT and analytics which has a direct correlation to top line growth and digital transformation. In the end, many industries and vertical sectors will benefit from Wi-Fi 6E.
Wi-Fi 6E, What about Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise?
The new family coming in 2022 will launch two new High-end & Mid-range access points, part of the OmniAccess Stellar 14xx series.
Those upcoming products will bring more capacity for end-users, faster speed with high-level security. Exciting times indeed! And all that based on the distributed control architecture which is the foundation of ALE OmniAccess Stellar product line.
In the meantime, regulation is still evolving, and some countries are not yet enabling Wi-Fi 6E. But this is changing fast, and I think adoption of the new standard will probably really take off by the end of 2022/beginning of 2023.
Our existing Wi-Fi 6 access points portfolio designed to address the dense growing capacity and IoT efficiency needs of next-generation enterprise wireless LAN networks will remain appealing to most of our customers in the short term. OmniAccess Stellar WLAN brings integrated Bluetooth®/Zigbee and dedicated Wi-Fi scanning radio technology to Wi-Fi 6 access points, providing a framework for expanded IoT, security, and location services.
Brian Wollak is a Solution Architect Manager for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. His current focus is leading a team of very talented and seasoned Solution Architects in the wireless, network, and voice spaces as well as advanced services.
Prior to his current role, he was a Sr. Wireless Architect responsible for evangelizing Stellar and OmniVista wireless offerings. He has written white papers, blog posts and presented to partners and to ALE employees about wireless capabilities and technologies and how they can enhance business outcomes. He has also defined GTM strategies and conducted competitive analysis. He keeps a pulse on new technologies and industry trends. He has in-depth experience in designing, configuring, and troubleshooting wireless networks. Some of the environments he has worked in is large stadium design and troubleshooting engagements to clean rooms, warehouses, and school districts and hospitals. The most interesting place he has worked within the industry is on a rocket launch pad at a leading private space services company.
Brian holds two graduate degrees from Anderson School of Management, UCLA and from the National University of Singapore, NUS, both globally top ranked business schools. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and pets. He and his wife always wanted a hobby farm but didn’t know it would be indoors. He has two dogs, a cat, and a parrot.