The need for fast, reliable and effective internet connectivity has become intrinsic to the running of a modern business. Whether you are working in a multi-level office, tracking orders in a warehouse or facilitating transactions at a venue, Wi-Fi has become synonymous with employee success and customer satisfaction.
A recent report from Deloitte found that business executives already regard the latest generations of connectivity, 5G and Wi-Fi 6, as the most critical wireless technologies for their companies. This rapid shift has been driven by the need for enhanced mobility, with staff needing to work remotely during the pandemic. In fact, 59 per cent of respondents cite COVID as the catalyst to invest more in their wireless network.
With Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices enjoying a 40 per cent increase in speed over their previous generation counterparts, it’s clear that the next generation of Wi-Fi is fast becoming a prudent investment for Australian businesses. As more brands across the consumer and corporate sectors continue to adapt to an era of fast digital transformation, you might be asking yourself, why Wi-Fi 6?
Breaking down Wi-Fi
In Wi-Fi technology, your internet data travels on a stream from the router to your connected device. The Wi-Fi 6 difference is that it increases the number of streams available, providing higher connection speed and allowing your devices more paths to communicate with your router. Think of Wi-Fi 6 like a multi-lane highway, where information can travel more efficiently because there are more lanes for it to choose from.
For your business, the benefit of a multi-lane highway is that all of your connected devices (like POS systems, security cameras, staff devices etc.) can use the same source without slowing your network down.
In addition, if one lane has an issue – like a car accident on the highway – traffic can easily be diverted to the other lanes, with minimal disruption to your business. Bottlenecks and congestion are now removed from the equation, if only real-life traffic were as easy to manage!
Beyond greater business capacity, Wi-Fi 6 allows for faster downloads speeds over longer distances. With business networks having to accommodate for more devices, key technical features of Wi-Fi 6 enhance data movement from routers to devices. For example, the Multiple User Input and Multiple User Output (MU-MIMO) function can prioritise tasks that may take up larger bandwidth such as downloading work files or POS systems over less important tasks, like customers using your Wi-Fi to stream YouTube videos.
Overall, Wi-Fi 6 can assist in a cohesive experience for all and mitigate any issues associated with slow internet such and data congestion which leads to lagging connection or longer download times.
How to integrate Wi-Fi 6 into your business
The great thing about Wi-Fi is that it’s always evolving to meet our data needs. For business owners that’s a good place to start. Begin by identifying your business internet needs, strengths, pressure points and work with your service provider to tailor your Wi-Fi in a way that best serves your objectives. As we continue to explore new ways to engage customers and support employees, executives will see these needs evolve over time.
New Wi-Fi generations rely on hardware and software updates to function effectively, so it is worth investing in a new system that supports this capability as it begins to roll out more broadly in the market. Devices with previous generation Wi-Fi will be able to function as normal while Wi-Fi 6 compatible units will be able to integrate seamlessly into everyday operations.
Ultimately, making a concerted investment in Wi-Fi 6 for your business will only drive greater business efficiencies. Wi-Fi 6 allows the flow and movement of data along a larger highway of streams, meaning it reaches employees faster and ensures download times are quick. The introduction of the next generation of Wi-Fi will only allow retailers to become more agile in their response to consumer needs and is worth considering in a hyper digital age.
Doug Cheung is senior product line manager of SMB wireless at NETGEAR.