Special Report: D-Link eyes Wi-Fi 6 opportunities

Next generation wireless technology boasts enormous upgrade in performance

Wi-Fi doesn’t only offer a boost in speed but also offers an incursion of devices through OFDMA, said Sakkeer.
Wi-Fi doesn’t only offer a boost in speed but also offers an incursion of devices through OFDMA, said Sakkeer.

Your wireless connection is about to get a major shot in the arm. 

The latest technology in wireless 802.11ax, recently renamed Wi-Fi 6 by the standards body IEEE, is here, with standardization expected later in the year. The new technology comes at a time when demand for connectivity has skyrocketed like at no other time in history.  

And Wi-Fi 6 is, well, different.

Unlike other standards which were designed to simply deliver faster versions of the previous generation, Wi-Fi 6 has been built from the ground up.  Some believe that this new standard could potentially be a game changer, as it offers the greatest architectural change to wireless LAN since its inception, said Sakkeer Hussain, director, Sales and Marketing, D-Link Middle East & Africa.

One of the most important features of this latest generation is how it handles congestion.

One of the most important features of this latest generation is how it handles congestion.  By dividing a wireless channel into a large number of sub-channels, multiple clients with varying bandwidth requirements can be connected to a single AP, simultaneously, explains Hussain. This is achieved through Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access or OFDMA. 

“This technology is what separates Wi-Fi 6 to its predecessors.  Although Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) technology is present in previous wireless standards, it was only limited to single transmission.  OFDMA is very flexible and can allocate an entire channel to a single client or sub-divide when it see fit, depending on the network traffic,” he added.

“Wi-Fi 6 also increases the speeds on 2.4GHz networks; while the previous standards focused on 5GHz for less interference, 2.4GHz is still superior at passing signal through walls or other solid objects,” Hussain said.

D-Link is one of the biggest names in wireless. Many in the UAE will be familiar with the brand, being a preferred default router by telcos in the country.

For the new standard, D-Link has introduced a new Wi-Fi 6 Router, out in the market in the second quarter of 2019, as it seeks to extend its market position in the regional consumer market.

“We have series of Wi-Fi 6 products in pipeline to be introduced gradually, which will be targeting consumers and the SMB segment,” Hussain added.  

The faster throughput and more efficient data handling will allow businesses to run applications that could not be run on wireless LAN before.

Performance

The performance boost in enterprise wireless will give a major lift to businesses. 

For enterprises, the faster throughput and more efficient data handling will allow businesses to run applications on Wi-Fi 6 that could not be run on wireless LAN before.  “Wi-Fi doesn’t only offer a boost in speed but also offers an incursion of devices through OFDMA: this means more connected devices can be accommodated in the enterprise, SMB or even at home.

“With this in mind, a lot of people can do more work as they are able to access all network resources faster.  When it comes to video streaming, this new technology will also support 8K video.  In practice, connection to different areas of the building will provide a faster way of communication through video calls or conference calls,” Hussain explains.  

Another notable improvement that Wi-Fi 6 brings to the table is overall improvement in efficiency.  This means less power consumption and less battery drainage. “While it is hard to quantify the savings at this point, it is definitely a step in the right direction,” Hussain said.

With MEA region a fast adopter of the latest technology, Hussain expects the uptake of the new technology to be rapid among businesses in the region.  

“Today, institutions carry bandwidth-hungry applications. There is a demand for businesses to consider an upgrade which should provide them latest technology and speed,” said Hussain.

“Wi-Fi 6 would definitely be an investment worth the benefits,” he added.

5G

The roll out of Wi-Fi 6 coincides with that of another revolutionary technology, 5G. Applied together, these complementary technologies will revolutionise wireless technology. 

In addition to faster speeds, both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will improve overall the signal strength in crowded areas like parks, malls, buildings and other public areas.  “Places that are notoriously wireless traffic-congested, will slowly be a thing of the past.  By providing more bandwidth and efficiency of Wi-Fi 6, always-on devices such as IoT devices will become more and more practical to use,” Hussain said.

For businesses such as cafes, this means faster guest Wi-Fi for customers, while being able to offer them additional services. “The efficiency of this new technology could potentially lower costs on both network and devices themselves, enabling enterprise and SMBs to take advantage of these new technologies.  With 5G, any business setup will have access to ultra-fast internet and then through Wi-Fi 6, enjoy the benefits of not just faster network operations but a lot more efficient implementation of any connected devices that operates their business.”

“The deployment of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G could potentially change the landscape of wireless LAN as we know it,” said Hussain.

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