Future of WiFi

The Future of WiFi – A WiFi6 guide for MSPs, ISPs, and SPs

At Tanaza we believe it’s time to present, data in hand, the latest news for MSPs, ISPs, and SPs about the future of WiFi and Cloud Management.
Today and tomorrow, more than ever, Wi-Fi will be one of the most widespread technologies in the world and represents a crucial point in the daily and business lives of billions of people.

Statistic: Number of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices worldwide from 2019 to 2030 (in billions) | Statista

By the end of 2018, there were an estimated 22 billion IoT devices connected around the world. As the sophistication of both hardware and software in the consumer electronics industry skyrockets, an increasing share of the electronic devices produced around the world will be manufactured with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Forecasts suggest that by 2030 around 50 billion of these IoT devices will be connected around the world, creating a massive web of interconnected devices spanning everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances.

The future of WiFi Technology

In a previous article, we discussed How soon WiFi 6 will impact Business WiFi Networks.  WiFi 6 is starting to emerge in lots of enterprise wireless access points.

Here are some examples:

WiFi 6 Access Points for Business – Discover the right device to enter in the future of WiFi

EAP101 is a dual-band WiFi 6 indoor access point for enterprises. The device supports 2×2:2 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO between the AP and multiple clients, with up to 1.7Gbps aggregated data rate. EAP101 is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio enabling value-added applications such as iBeacon, presence.

 

EAP101 is a dual-band WiFi 6 indoor access point for enterprises. The device supports 2×2:2 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO between the AP and multiple clients, with up to 1.7Gbps aggregated data rate. EAP101 is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio enabling value-added applications such as iBeacon, presence.

 

Linksys Velop Series WiFi 6 access points for business offer a reliable connection for streaming, gaming, and video chatting without interruption, thanks to 1.4 GHz quad-core processor. Experiment higher level of speed performance and until 4x more capacity with WiFi6 settings.

 

Linksys LAPAC1200 is a Dual-Band WiFi6 Access Point with Power over Ethernet (POE) support. This enterprise access point features one Gigabit Ethernet and is backward-compatible with widely deployed 802.11a/b/g infrastructure.

 

What is Wi-Fi 6 and what are benefits for MSPs, ISPs and SPs?


“Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the next generation of IEEE standard for wireless local-area networks, faster and more powerful than the previous one Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). It is also known as High Efficiency Wi-Fi, for the overall improvements to Wi-Fi 6 clients under dense environments”.

Year by year, MSPs, ISPs, and SPs are facing the challenge to provide higher throughput and bandwidth for multiple connected devices in enterprise networks. Hardware is not enough to guarantee an adequate and democratic sharing of WiFi connection. A new standard was necessary to manage the huge quantity of devices in the networks (anchor link to the chapter dedicated to e-waste).

On April 23rd, 2021 the FCC voted and approved the allocation of the new 6GHz band for Wi-Fi. WiFi 6 represents a new revolution for enterprise and SMBs WiFi networks.

802.11n - Wi-Fi 4802.11ac - Wi-Fi 5802.11ax - Wi-Fi 6
Frequency Range (GHz)2.4 - 52.42.4 - 5 - 6
Channel Bandwidth (MHz)20 - 4020 - 40 - 80 - 80+80 - 16020 - 40 - 80 - 80+80 - 160
Subcarrier Spacing (KHz)312.5312.578.125
Symbol time3.23.212.8
MU-MIMONoneDownlinkUplink and Downlink
Access SchemeOFDMOFDMOFDM, OFDMA
Data Subcarrier ModulationBPSK, QPSK, 16-64 QAMBPSK, QPSK, 16-64 QAMBPSK, QPSK, 16-64-256-1024 QAM
CodingBCC (mandatory) - LDPC (optional)BCC (mandatory) - LDPC (optional)BCC (mandatory) - LDPC (mandatory)

Let’s analyze the various improvements point by point, showing concrete benefits and changes for MPSs, ISPs and SPs business.

Frequency Range 6GHz – More capacity, less latency in the future of WiFi

More connected devices mean higher levels of Wi-Fi congestion. The pandemic has shown how the amount of data on Wi-Fi networks has reached critical levels: wireless bandwidth and capacity have never been greater.

The first improvement of WiFi 6 technology is basically more capacity. Specifically, access points will be able to operate on the 6GHz spectrum, in addition to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz that currently exist. The possibility to use this new frequency range guarantees lower latency for applications in higher density environments. Moreover, 6GHz includes the orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) feature from cellular technologies, which takes advantage of servicing multiple users on sub-channels transmitted simultaneously.

There are also changes in regulations related to the 6GHz frequency range. WiFi access points have to be registered in databases and become ‘geolocation aware’. They must support the following standards:

  • Low Power Indoor (LPI)
  • Power Spectral Density (PSD)
  • Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC)

LPI and PSD are rules for restricting the power output of indoor 6 GHz devices, to limit interference with each other or with licensed outdoor use. AFC is for outdoor 6 GHz devices and consults with a database based on the FCC’s Universal Licensing System so that 6 GHz access points can avoid interfering with licensed applications.

 

Wi-Fi 6 has multiple Wi-Fi channels and these channels can be allocated more effectively to permit multiple transmissions to multiple users at the same time. Hence, when organisations power outdoor Wi-Fi 6 for users, it means more efficiency, less overheads and also support for a greater variety of applications.

20MHz vs 40MHz vs 80MHz vs 160MHz – What is the best Channel Bandwidth for Business?

Wi-Fi 6 supports channels widths of 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, and 160 MHz.

20MHz – 40MHz – 80MHz channels are recommended for business, while 160MHz is best suited for environments with low channel utilization.

For a correct deployment, it is important to distinguish the correct channel bandwidth selection. The channel bandwidth can really affect the performance on networks.

20MHz is the most common Wi-Fi bandwidth as most users still opt to use 2.4GHz radios (almost never in 5GHz).
20MHz is the correct channel bandwidth for businesses that want to guarantee high levels of connection for remote workers or users with high expectations.
Today, WiFi customers prefer to use video streaming and video calls: this requires high levels of packets in download for buffering in streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Video, Youtube, for instance) and video-communications applications (Google Meet, Skype, and Slack Call, for instance). In 5GHz bandwidth, thanks to a large amount of non-overlapping channels, providers will not face any problem doing anything, and the internet speed will not have any significant interruptions.

40MHz is the best channel bandwidth for businesses requiring a medium-high level of data transfer rate and higher than 20MHz.
IT professionals can still get 12 non-overlapping channels if combined with a 5MHz frequency.
This channel bandwidth is used by both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. It has a higher speed but it’s not particularly suggested in crowded areas, especially with 2.4Ghz. MSPs, ISPs, and SPs should use it, only on 5GHz and for a restricted number of connected devices. It’s easy to understand how these few users will receive a perfect signal.

80MHz is the last suggested channel bandwidth for business use. This channel bandwidth has the highest data transfer rate for the commercial ranges. The absence of non-overlapping channels to operate within makes high levels of congestion with high levels of traffic. 80GHz is the best channel for IT professionals that think “quality over quantity”: this bandwidth guarantees the highest signal performances for a really limited number of users.

160MHz deserves a separate chapter. It is totally not recommended for IT professionals. And often neither for home use. 160MHz channel bandwidth is perfect for activities like Ultra-HD streaming and professional gaming. Activities that can create a high rate of congestion, especially with the next networks. It’s easy to understand how a single user with this channel bandwidth creates congestion for all the others. Totally unrecommended for business solutions.

Subcarrier spacing drastically reduced to improve WIFi efficiency

The future of WiFi includes a drastic reduction of 802.11ac spacing. It is an important technical change for MSPs, ISPs, and SPs. The reduction of subcarrier spacing improves signal efficiency and the quantity of multiple simultaneous packets for upload and download, rather than one at a time.

MU-MIMO and OFDMA – A perfect combination for uplink and downlink transmissions

Wi-Fi 6 leverages the multi-user version of OFDMA and MU-MIMO for better efficiency of both uplink and downlink transmissions. OFDMA allows the transmission of huge quantities of data over a single noisy channel. This technique works by splitting a single signal into multiple smaller signals that are transmitted. OFDMA is perfect for medium-far transmissions, while MU MIMO is more indicated for short-range. Then, the combination of OFDMA and MU-MIMO allows Wi-Fi 6 to cover the entire spectrum of possibilities of high-density environments. For a better technical understanding of OFDMA and MU-MIMO in 802.11ax panorama, we suggest reading Tanaza’s guide for MSPs.

WPA3 WIFI6 – Future of WiFi means higher levels of security

Wi-Fi 6 enables secure endpoint protection thanks to WPA3 certification. WPA3 is the next generation of Wi-Fi security and provides cutting-edge security protocols to the access point industry.
This next-generation security protocol enables more robust authentication, delivers increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets, and maintains resiliency of mission critical networks.
All WPA3 networks:
– Use the latest security methods;
– Disallow outdated legacy protocols;
– Require use of Protected Management Frames (PMF);

The future of WiFi is for the environment protection

These are not easy moments for the environment. Global warming, climate change, extreme meteorological phenomena: wireless technology can do its own part to protect the environment through the energy-saving and the reuse of hardware components.

Tanaza also took up on the challenge.

WiFi cloud management to reduce CO2 caused by unnecessary onsite travel

For several years now, there has been an open debate about the extent to which working remotely can drastically reduce the pollution caused by traveling by transport. In the past, in order to understand the problems behind a misconfiguration of devices or a network failure, it was necessary for an IT professional to travel to the site. 

An activity that is now obsolete and in the long term causes increased pollution levels. Thanks to Tanaza, the cloud-based network management platform, IT teams can remotely configure and manage all network parameters from anywhere in the world without any unnecessary and environmentally harmful travel.

Network device upgrade to avoid planned obsolescence and reduce electronic waste

Tanaza has long understood that the true value of a network device is not so much in the hardware, but in the software included. In very general terms, MSPs, ISPs and SPs could potentially continue to use any WiFi access points even after it becomes legacy, thanks to the Tanaza firmware.

Several industry studies have shown that the average lifetime of WiFi devices is 3 to 4 years. Imagine for a second, the gas emissions and the amount of e-waste produced by manufacturing and replacing the current network infrastructure around the world.

Obviously, incumbent vendors have strong economic motivations to design devices that at some point break down or are not updated anymore and thus consequently are replaced. It’s called design with planned obsolescence. It happens in the world of home appliances, just as it happens in the networking industry. This is nothing new, but the situation has reached critical levels.

Here is a graph from the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020. We hope it will raise awareness of the problem of e-waste that planned obsolescence and the resulting waste generation creates:

Global E-Waste Monitor 2020

Access points fall under the Small IT and telecommunication equipment classification

By releasing dedicated software updates, Tanaza is able to span the life of WiFi access points by up to two years. At the same time, by using devices with TanazaOS as the operating system, the user is no longer forced to the planned obsolescence of mono vendors who at some point do not release the necessary software updates for a device to keep working thus forcing MSPs, ISPs, and SPs to replace it.

These two combined factors dramatically decrease the amount of e-waste produced, reducing network infrastructure costs for providers and contributing to environmental protection.

Tanaza is getting ready for the future of WiFi

Tanaza is working tirelessly to develop compatibility with the best access points in the market to offer users a complete list of devices that work with Tanaza. However, It’s fair to say that despite WiFi 6 being around the corner, there is no need to replace or upgrade the network infrastructure right away as it will take some time before users acquire technology compatible with WiFi 6. Remember, you can deploy a WiFi 6 infrastructure but if the connecting devices are not compatible or support the WiFi6 standard they won’t enjoy the benefits of WiFi 6.

Future of WiFi is here. Unleash the power of network management

Start a 15-day free trial today. Deploy and manage business WiFi networks with Tanaza. Enter in the future of WiFi, now.

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