In recent times, leaders in organizations across sectors had the opportunity to trial powerful technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), 5G, augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR), digital twins, and so on, in a variety of use cases. Each has the potential to revolutionize business.

The smartest leaders have already piloted some of these technologies in their organizations and moved to roll out interesting solutions at scale. Other can’t afford to fall behind. It’s time that they start planning to leverage not one, but several, of these technologies simultaneously to optimize operations and deliver better experiences to customers and employees.

The burden of ‘powering’ these technologies at scale will fall on the strong shoulders of Wi-Fi 6E.

To leverage Wi-Fi 6E, organizations need to realize that they need to upgrade their access points (APs) just as they upgrade their mobile devices and laptops, especially as staff return to the office for a hybrid work experience.

Pioneers enjoy early success with Wi-Fi 6E

Whether an organization is looking to drive seamless video meetings between users in different locations, drive safety and simplicity in plant operations using augmented reality, run hundreds of robots and cobots in their factories, build next-generation training and collaboration sessions using holograms, or even create immersive future-forward sessions in the metaverse, the need for Wi-Fi 6E is clear.

Cisco works with leaders in the sports and entertainment industry and key venues they operate such as stadiums and halls are already being powered by Wi-Fi 6E. The network not only makes it possible to deliver exceptional experiences for patrons present at the venue but also for fans far away at home looking to enjoy games and performances via digital applications, in real-time, via 360-degree cameras, virtual reality, and more.

Airports are an excellent proxy for a range of environments that have mixed high-density public access with private/enterprise communications and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) services. In that sense, an airport is a collection of several use cases under one umbrella – and it could all be powered by Wi-Fi 6E.

The same is true for retail malls, next-generation warehouses, and distribution centers. Organizations in this space are looking for technology-driven efficiencies and are increasingly leaning on cutting-edge technologies that need an upgraded network. Wi-Fi 6E is the perfect companion for anything new and exciting in this space.

The reality is that any campus that serves a high number of devices, or users, or both, can benefit from Wi-Fi 6E.

Getting acquainted with Wi-Fi 6E

The E in Wi-Fi 6E stands for ‘extended’ and refers to the extension of WiFi 6 to include the 6 GHz band in addition to the existing 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands. For those that are interested in the technical specifications, Wi-Fi 6E enables users to access up to 1200 MHz of spectrum between 5.925 GHz and 7.125 GHz, which is known collectively as the 6 GHz band. This means that Wi-Fi 6E provides contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate as many as 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels.

Once Wi-Fi 6E reaches its full potential, it will address the Wi-Fi spectrum shortage faced by users across the world (think connectivity issues and laggy internet at crowded exhibition halls) and power a significantly larger number of devices, providing high-bandwidth applications with the fast data throughput they need in order to deliver seamless user experiences.

Recognizing the need to for Wi-Fi 6E and the economic benefits it will provide, governments around the world are still working to open the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use.

In Asia Pacific, for example, New Zealand is considering opening up access to the 6 GHz band required by Wi-Fi 6E, while Australia, Malaysia and South Korea have freed up some of the 6 GHz band to support this new technology. In other markets such as the US, Canada, UK, and EU, Wi-Fi 6E has already been adopted and is beginning to move the needle with organizations discussing use cases and roll out strategies with partners such as Cisco.

Imagining hybrid work across industries with Wi-Fi 6E 

When you think about hybrid work, the mind tends to think about people choosing to work either from home or the office based on personal preference, the needs of the team, or business policies.

What you don’t think about are the various miraculous devices that make up our hybrid work experiences.

These devices include IoT-powered cameras, building automation control systems, and a range of sensors covering everything from temperature and humidity, to motion and lighting to air quality. And all of these devices then send data to AI-powered software for various facilities management use cases. They also include touch-less access points for voice and video communications in smart conference rooms, breakout spaces, and more.

For those that work in factories or inside retail facilities, the number, type, and variety of devices is exponentially higher, enabling humans to do more work, safely and more efficiently, while providing their managers in corporate/home offices and in remote facilities with better control and management opportunities.

Wi-Fi 6E can enable all this and more.

The incredibly low latency offered by Wi-Fi 6E also allows it to enable more cutting-edge hybrid work use cases.

Think remote surgeries with AI-powered robotic arms taking cues from a surgeon in another part of the world, with others probably observing, monitoring, or providing feedback as necessary via 8K video in real-time. Or maybe pharmaceutical companies securing expansive R&D facilities around the world using intelligent cameras relaying 4K surveillance footage and sensor-powered RFID-enabled gateway access points, to operators in a 24/7 centralized monitoring team.

Wi-Fi 6E Powering "wireless-first" access

What organizations are also realizing about Wi-Fi 6E is that it is incredibly secure, which automatically makes it the right choice when preparing for the future.

Since the Wi-Fi Alliance has made WPA3 a mandatory requirement for the Wi-Fi 6E network, it makes the network incredibly secure thanks to encryption covered by the 256-bit Galois/Counter Mode Protocol (GCMP-256). WPA3 provides new authentication and encryption algorithms for networks and furnishes fixes for issues that were missed by WPA2. It also implements an additional layer of protection from deauthentication and disassociation attacks.

It’s also important to bear in mind that since only Wi-Fi 6E products will be using the upgraded network, there are no legacy security issues to deal with.

Finally, given the massive investments organizations are making to transform themselves using technology, they can’t afford to ignore the enhancements offered by Wi-Fi 6E. From low latency (less noise and low congestion) to high bandwidth with support for wider channels, Wi-Fi 6E offers everything organizations need to be future-ready today.

To gain a better understanding of how Wi-Fi 6E can help with your transition to a cutting-edge hybrid work experience and allow you to leverage next-gen technologies, please take a look at our whitepaper on Wi-Fi 6E now.