Wi-Fi 6 and the need for speed

by Neil Goddard

My teenage daughter recently came home from school with a dilemma. As a decent sprint runner in her age group, she’d been asked to compete in an inter-school competition with the possibility to progress to county and national level. The challenge is this clashed with existing commitments to dance lessons. To make a decision we raced to check the current national records for the 100 and 200m distances for Under-15 girls, and within seconds, Google provided the answers.

Wi-Fi 6

That got me thinking back to my school days at a similar age, over 30 years ago. Such a piece of research, as was commonly set for homework, often entailed a cold and wet bicycle ride to the local town library. There the many volumes of encyclopedia Britannica had to be consulted. Information went out of date quickly and of course, everyone got the same homework answers.

That led me to consider how much the availability to information and its speed of access has increased. Which is the driving element? In the infancy of the mainstream internet, when dial-up modems were the only means of access, the level of information and the means to search it was vastly less than today. As access methods improved with ISDN, ADSL, and now fiber optic-based delivery, so did the volume and sophistication of the content.

We have also witnessed a revolution in the way that information can be accessed without being tied down to a static desktop PC. Both Wi-Fi and Cellular data technologies, and the devices that use them have rapidly progressed. It would seem ludicrous to a present-day teenager that data speeds of a few tens of kilobits were once a marvel.

Wi-Fi 6 is becoming readily available in the market, offering unprecedented connection speeds coupled with intelligent control of access. Looking at the raw numbers, it may seem incomprehensible that this level of performance can be fully utilized. However, the growth of content, applications, devices and the sheer density of users will no doubt expand to fill the available capacity. A case of “Build it and they will come”

History shows us that there is a relentless pursuit of improvement, ever greater speed, and performance. Now, this is being balanced with the need to care for the environment and do more with less. A reality which is coming to fruition with the latest very high-performance wireless technologies, reducing the volume of fixed infrastructure and its accompanying power and cooling demands relative to the number of users served and the performance of service received.

What innovations do you envisage in the next 30 years?


Continue reading:
Are your wiring closets multi-gigabit capable?
Using outdated Wi-Fi security procedures is like buying a blast door and leaving the key in the lock
Are you ready for a Network-as-a-Service model?

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