Digital transformation has been a focus for today’s enterprise for some time, but the pandemic has rapidly escalated the need for both innovation and business transformation. Two key areas we are seeing this significant shift is in the emergence of next generation wireless connectivity technologies Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.
A report from McKinsey notes that digital adoption has taken a ‘quantum leap’ in both industry and organizations during the pandemic, as COVID 19 has created a ‘’technology tipping point of historic proportions.’’1 Businesses are now years in advance of where they were in 2019 in terms of digital acceleration. Deloitte observes that connected devices are expected to reach 29.3 billion by 2023, or three devices for every single human being on the plant.
The pandemic has also accelerated the deployment of Wi-Fi 6 in the enterprise and dramatically affected usage across global networks. As a result, the pressure to invest in these next generation technologies is increasing, to ensure both current and future demands will be met.
In addition, a Deloitte survey suggests that ‘’two thirds of organizations are either running pilots or deploying Wi-Fi 6 solutions, while 58% are doing the same with 5G’.2
An additional quarter of respondents are actively ‘’preparing to use’’ both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technologies.
One third of organizations believe wireless technologies will also become critically important within the next three years.
As pandemic restrictions are lifted and mobility increases, the disruption and demand for innovation and reliable high bandwidth connectivity will surge. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 complement each other to meet that demand and are critical to digital transformation, offering seamless mobility and enhanced performance while being easier to manage.
Both technologies have entered the market at similar times, and both are more energy efficient and capable of supporting more devices than their predecessors. These complementary technologies offer high bandwidth connectivity and broadband data access. Speaking broadly, Wi-Fi 6 is regarded as more suitable to support fixed wireless access in high density hotspot areas, while 5G meets the needs for greater coverage range and roaming for mobile devices that require connectivity and deployment over a more expansive area. They provide higher bandwidth connections with better throughput, greater scalability, and lower latency to deliver on real-time connections.
For a more comprehensive comparison of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, Cisco's infographic highlights how their convergence delivers the best user experience.
As Wi-Fi 6 and 5G begin to deliver smarter connections, technology continues to disrupt.
Expected to be superior to Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E delivers greater capacity to handle the anticipated higher demands for internet traffic. Building on the features, capabilities and speed of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E operates and extends into the 6 GHz wireless band, adding up to 14 additional 80 MHz channels or seven additional super wide 160 MHz channels. The result is faster speeds and significantly lower latencies to deliver the Wi-Fi innovation of today and tomorrow.
Wi-Fi 6E is also expected to be more secure than its predecessors and will deliver reliable internet connections to hotspots and crowded areas, such as sports arenas and business complexes. It is expected to provide more and ‘’cleaner’’ bandwidth.3
The benefits of innovation and digital transformation are predicted to be significant for the modern enterprise, but adoption and deployment of these next generation technologies is complex. As organizations are pushed further over the technological tipping point, rapid migration to digital empowers them to optimize their operations and deliver greater efficiencies in a new era of digital adoption.
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