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WiFi 6E: Why CSPs Need to Invest

By now, just about all of us have horror stories related to clunky internet bandwidth and connections. We’ve frozen up during important Zoom calls. Many have lost their connection to cloud-based centralized systems while trying to help clients. We’ve been unable to enjoy real-time online gaming to the fullest capacity.

The Premise, Power, and Problems Behind WiFi 6E

Put simply, WiFi 6E realizes the promise of WiFi 6-enabled devices by gaining access to the coveted 6GHz band.

The Pitfalls of WiFi 6E

Of course, all the advantages of WiFi 6E come with a few tradeoffs, too, particularly from the CSP point of view. CSPs are the telecommunications companies that provide access to WiFi. It will require companies to juggle all these differing bandwidths while dealing with the downsides of WiFi 6E.

Strategies for CSPs to Prepare for the Coming WiFi 6E “Invasion”

As Plume CTO Bill McFarland discussed during a recent Wi-Fi NOW global keynote address, overcoming WiFi 6E’s limitations requires innovative thinking. During his presentation, he noted that upon the arrival of WiFi 6, “many people said it would be so powerful that the need for WiFi management would be eliminated. But, in reality, to take advantage of WiFi 6, more management is required, not less.”

1. Leverage AI-powered, cloud-based band steering.

It might seem logical to just add a series of extenders to a home to avoid interrupting WiFi access. Yet signals tend to degrade with each hop. Additionally, giving customers the ability to choose the extender they want without the guidance of a smart system may not set them up for the maximum performance they deserve.

2. Prepare for the needs of legacy devices.

Customers won’t upgrade to devices that can use the 6MHz bandwidth for many years. Instead, some will use their 2.4GHz and 5GHz laptops, desktops, and other technological equipment. Consequently, all homes will need to support those older (but still useful) devices.

3. Find ways to maximize existing structures.

Customers lead busy lives. It may be necessary for CSPs to make onsite upgrades that require appointments. However, companies can keep those appointments (e.g., “interruptions” from customers’ standpoints) to a minimum. It just takes clever thinking around how to implement WiFi 6E in homes, offices, apartment complexes, and other sites with minimal interruptions. For instance, tiling out a cluster of extenders in a thoughtful way based on predictive insights can avoid the need for major physical upgrades.

Brad Anderson

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