The Risk and Reward of Wi-Fi 6 Upgrades

With 6 GHz Wi-Fi around the corner in the form of Wi-Fi 6E, upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 becomes a risky proposition.

It was just over a year ago that your humble blogger heard the "news" about Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). The Samsung Galaxy 10 was on the market. It supports Wi-Fi 6. Our sales engineers were happy to inform us of the upgrade possibilities.

Today's news is about a new technology, Wi-Fi 6E. It offers access to the 6 GHz frequency band, which is great. It is not available as a software upgrade from Wi-Fi 6 (as your humble blogger discovered recently), which is not so great.

"Future proofing" has always been elusive. As we are all experiencing right now, nothing can protect an organization from the whims of nature (human or otherwise). I wasn't saying "wait for 802.11n" in 2005 or "wait for 802.11ac" in 2011. If budget, manpower and leadership align, go for it.

The reason your humble blogger says "wait for Wi-Fi 6E" today that the risk/reward ratio is too skewed towards the former.

Upgrade now, and risk spending the years between now and the next upgrade cycle with a Wi-Fi technology that supports one-third the bandwidth of Wi-Fi 6E.

The reward for upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 today? A few extra months with OFDMA.

Some organizations may have pressing reasons for upgrading APs to the 5 GHz-only version of Wi-Fi 6. Just make sure those reasons are more compelling than the tripling of bandwidth that becomes available in a few months with Wi-Fi 6E.


Ben Miller works as a Wi-Fi contractor, with a background in pre- and post-installation consulting, technical and marketing writing, and instruction for vendor-neutral and vendor-specific Wi-Fi training. You can contact Ben via email, or follow him on Twitter and Twitch, using the contact information below.

If you like Ben's blog, you can support it by shopping through his Amazon link, or becoming a Patron on Patreon. He does a weekly educational Twitch stream about Wi-Fi.

Thank you.

Twitter: @benmiller

Twitch: @ben_sniffwifi

ben_miller at icloud dot com


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