Wi-Fi 5 equipment from 2016 and earlier has been reliable; however, there has been a drastic increase in Wi-Fi network needs over the past two years and Wi-Fi 5 technology is struggling to support today’s demands. There was a dynamic shift in 2020 and 2021 in the way that users utilize Wi-Fi, such as remote work policies and increased audio and video calls. Now, many users are returning to their offices, and Wi-Fi network requirements have increased, forcing users to upgrade their equipment sooner than is typically expected.
A lot has changed in the years since Wi-Fi 5 equipment was released and widely adopted. Prior to 2020, most organizations had:
adopted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), but most of the traffic was supported by the wired networks.
teleconference meetings were common, but most were held in designated conference rooms and often relied on wired networks.
the concept of an “All-Wireless Office” was only used by a small handful of organizations.
With the return to the office in 2021-2022, almost every user has a laptop or tablet as their primary device. While wired connectivity is still possible and tends to be more reliable than Wi-Fi 5 connectivity, wired is used much less. Most users have two or more wireless devices with them. In addition to their work laptop, they often have a phone, tablet, and smart accessories like watches all using Wi-Fi. Video and audio teleconferences occur anywhere in the office and may exceed hundreds of calls per day. Voice over Wi-Fi calling features for smartphones are now the standard with recent iOS and Android updates.
These changes to daily use have put a heavier workload on access points and other equipment, and like any technology device, this equipment has processing limitations. Many Wi-Fi 5 networks today cannot support enough simultaneous video and audio calls, and the performance of all users is negatively affected.
What’s the Solution?
Technium recommends upgrading to the Wi-Fi 6e solutions available from Cisco/Meraki for several reasons:
The Wi-Fi 6e line from Cisco is designed to support high density network environments and has the most processing capabilities of any access point model.
It introduces the new 6 GHz frequency radio (in addition to 2.4 and 5 GHz) increasing the total channel capacity by 120%.
Wi-Fi 6e introduces many features to resolve some of the most common issues with battery conservation over previous generations.
It currently has the longest supported lifecycle of the Cisco Meraki lineup.
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