How Wi-Fi 6 introduces a new era of outdoor wireless access

How Wi-Fi 6 introduces a new era of outdoor wireless access

Osama Al-Zoubi, CTO, Cisco Middle East and Africa, discusses some of the challenges that customers face when trying to obtain an instant wireless connection in outdoor or crowded settings and highlights how Wi-Fi 6 solves these challenges, by delivering an efficient connection for people anywhere in a safe and secure manner.

Cisco prides itself on having a rich history of connecting countless organisations, institutions and large-scale events. Now more than ever, this also involves facilitating the worlds of working and studying from anywhere, and with it, demands for immediate, yet secure Internet access.

Users tend to lose access in outdoor or crowded settings because today’s wireless access points can’t handle the number of devices trying to connect simultaneously. This happens because older Wi-Fi generations give only one device the entire channel for one transmission at a time, where an access point could only deal with one user at a time, even if the application has low-bandwidth requirements.

In comparison, Wi-Fi 6 has multiple Wi-Fi channels and these channels can be allocated more effectively to permit multiple transmissions to multiple users at the same time. Hence, when organisations power outdoor Wi-Fi 6 for users, it means more efficiency, less overheads and also support for a greater variety of applications.

For example, a low-bandwidth application such as an IoT environmental sensor could be allocated its own Wi-Fi channel and ensure its transmissions are never held up by other bandwidth applications. In addition, demanding mobile applications like Augmented Reality, voice and video and virtual reality can be assured real-time transmission by reducing latency and jitter to levels previous generations of Wi-Fi are not capable of enabling.

The way Wi-Fi 6 ensures demanding applications run smoothly is by delivering up to four times faster speed than the previous wireless industry standard in outdoor settings. This also helps improve battery efficiency for smartphones, personal computing and IoT devices, when compared with conventional Wi-Fi networks.

Moreover, Cisco also evaluates risks that arise when people connect their devices to an outdoor Wi-Fi services, as with most of them, information sent to and from a mobile device is unencrypted. Anyone with a laptop and easily obtained ‘sniffer’ software can access all the data moving over the wireless network. Users may also connect to Wi-Fi access points that can monitor the content of all transmissions – neither are a huge problem for people streaming videos for example, but this can definitely present issues if they are moving sensitive documents or are working on confidential business projects. Any unpatched vulnerabilities or other security holes can also be misused by others on the same local network.

Wi-Fi 6 eliminates this issue by enabling secure endpoint protection with its WPA3 certification, which enhances open wireless network security through encryption of unauthenticated traffic, protecting against cyberthreats, and offering superior reliability for sensitive data.

For many organisations and future Smart Cities, ensuring the expansion of Wi-Fi 6 to outdoor spaces will be the natural and safer approach to protecting users. In fact, Cisco acknowledges the importance of Wi-Fi 6 in delivering an efficient connection for people anywhere in a safe and secure manner and our expertise has provided our highly experienced engineers with the insights needed to deliver on core tenets of connectivity and security for Expo 2020 Dubai – as the first customer in the UAE to deploy Cisco’s Wi-Fi 6 technology. Cisco has an extensive and successful record of facilitating the connectivity needs and ambitions of large-scale events, stadiums and arenas both locally and globally, while keeping security at the core.

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