Wi-Fi 6 introduces a lot of new functionality that is designed to improve wireless network efficiency and performance. This is great news, but how will these improvements change the way we test Wi-Fi networks? Well, when it comes to designing, troubleshooting and validation a few things will change:
- Because of a technology called OFDMA, Wi-Fi 6 networks do a better job at managing the number of users that an Access Point can support without affecting performance. Modern planning and designing tools will need to take this into account when recommending how many AP’s will be required by specific deployments.
- Wi-Fi 6 introduces new functionality that can help wireless networks achieve higher speeds. Since older versions of Wi-Fi do not support the new functionality, testers using older 802.11 chipsets will need to be updated with native Wi-Fi 6 radios to be able to accurately measure wireless network speeds and performance.
- Future Wi-Fi 6 networks will be able to use the 6GHz band too (commonly known as Wi-Fi 6E). Since the Wi-Fi radios currently used by testers only support the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, you will not have visibility into any Wi-Fi devices working on the 6.0GHz band. To gain visibility into devices working on the new band the radios used by Wi-Fi testers will need to be updated to support the 6GHz frequencies
These changes may be concerning to many, but there is no need to worry! NetAlly already offers multiple testers that provide Wi-Fi 6 visibility and continues to work on adding support for the latest wireless network technologies.