Businesses today rely on Wi-Fi to support a variety of mission-critical functions, including remote and hybrid work models, mobile computing, Internet of Things environments, guest access, inventory management and much more. However, the need to support continually growing numbers of users, devices and traffic is stretching the limits of existing Wi-Fi networks.
Research suggests that Wi-Fi traffic is doubling every three years. Much of that growth is driven by increasingly sophisticated mobile devices running more data-hungry applications. Increased congestion can result in delays, packet loss and other issues that create performance bottlenecks.
Surveys find that the majority of businesses plan to address these issues by transitioning to the latest Wi-Fi standard. Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax or High-Efficiency Wi-Fi, was designed to improve speed, increase efficiency and reduce congestion in heavy bandwidth usage scenarios.
Upgrade with Ease
Gaining the full benefits of the new standard will require some network design modifications. In particular, you’ll need to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 access points (APs) that can support the multigigabit speeds enabled by the new standard. The latest APs offer four times the throughput of Wi-Fi 5 devices with 75 percent less latency. Wi-Fi 6 APs feature more antennas and radio transceivers to achieve higher throughput, and will support about three times as many concurrent users as older APs.
The transition and upgrades can be challenging, particularly for small to midsized businesses (SMBs) with limited IT resources on staff. However, Aruba Networks has eased the burden with its Instant On portfolio of Wi-Fi 6 solutions for SMBs.
Instant On APs support automatic linking with one another to create a mesh configuration of up to 25 APs — without the need for added cabling. Once the first AP is connected, additional APs just have to be plugged into an AC power source. With a single click, they’ll automatically connect to the primary AP. Networks can be set up in minutes from a mobile app or web portal, without any particular networking expertise.
Aruba offers a range of APs for different use cases. The top-of-the-line AP 22 was selected as CRN’s 2021 product of the year and is Wi-Fi 6 certified by the nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance industry group. The certification provides assurance that certified devices meet industry standards, including these prerequisites:
- Backward compatibility with previous Wi-Fi standards.
- Agile multiband capabilities that enable efficient use of multiple frequencies, including 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz.
- Mechanisms for managing spectrum and network resources.
- Intelligent steering, which allows an AP to suggest another AP, channel or frequency band when the network becomes congested.
- WPA3 security with improved authentication, authorization and encryption capabilities.
If you’re considering an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6, give us a call. Our network architects have deep expertise with the entire Aruba/HPE product line, and we can help you plan and implement a solution that will meet your current and future business needs.