WiFi 802.11ax - What will it mean for Enterprises?

There's a new WiFi standard announced around every five years, starting with the 802.11 in 1997, 802.11a in 1999, 802.11g in 2003, 802.11n in 2009 followed by the current former standard 802.11ac first which was first standardised in 2013 with a reversion in 2015. With all the major manufacturers gearing up to launch their latest series of access points supporting the new 802.11ax standard its worth explaining how the new features in 802.11ax will translate into real world benefits for enterprises.

Firstly if your current WiFi network is still using a legacy standard, then moving to 802.11ax will be a big jump and you will see a significant performance by upgrading. The question at hand is how will the improvements in the 802.11ax WiFi protocol deliver real world benefits that enterprises will take advantage of?

Speed - So it's not surprising that 802.11ax will deliver higher throughput speeds as every new WiFi standard has delivered since the start, but the new 802.11ax raises the bar much further than before. This improvement in performance can be be taken advantage in a few ways.

High Density Areas - Open plan offices, trading floors, call centres, in fact any environment where the employee or device count is high will see a significant improvement in performance. If your network is struggling to perform at present then this upgrade will breath life back into it and allow applications faster access to the network.

Meeting Rooms - High concentration of users often using voice and video conferencing such as Skype for Business means meeting rooms are often a choke point for applications.

None Critical Applications - Our WiFi design recommendations have always been to move all business critical applications to the less congested 5GHz frequency but unlike 802.11ac, 802.11ax designs will be supported on the 2.4GHz.  This means that your non-critical applications now get a performance boost and you can start to feel a little more comfortable knowing they are being handled similar to your critical applications.  Obviously there is still the same co-channel limitation but the extra throughput will be welcomed. This is also good news for those devices that do not support 5GHz and are stuck using only the 2.4Ghz band.

Reasons to upgrade - As the amount of devices continues to increase and the drive for Wi-Fi to be the primary medium of choice for enterprises the performance of the Wi-Fi network is ever more business critical. 802.11ax promises to deliver much needed application bandwidth for enterprises and will provide some breathing space before the inevitability happens, client numbers increase further and applications require even more bandwidth.

If your interested in understanding what 802.11ax could bring to your enterprise and would like a none-commitment consultation with one of our WiFi consultants then please get in touch.