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Each new generation of Wi-Fi comes with the opportunity to consider the innovation and changes that will affect educational facilities in the future. Wi-Fi networks today are already experiencing a high demand on bandwidth with complex media content and multiple IoT devices per student. The number of devices per student is continuing to increase dramatically as technology evolves — as well as an increase of new technologies that will require Wi-Fi access. The new Wi-Fi 6 , 802.11ax standard offers many improvements making it the highest performing set of wireless protocols ever developed. Wi-Fi 6 will have an immediate impact on the performance of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi technologies that will vastly improve the student experience across the board.

Future-Proofed Environment

By 2022, internet traffic will be higher than the previous 32 years of the internet. More than half of that traffic is expected to be transported on Wi-Fi. In addition, there will be an influx of new Wi-Fi 6 devices requiring bandwidth as the deployment continues. 5G networks will also be offloading significant levels of traffic to Wi-Fi. This poses throughput challenges on networks already struggling with bandwidth capacity. If districts prepare their networks with an adequate design of structured cabling and adopt the Wi-Fi 6 standards, educators will not only provide a quicker, more seamless connection and open up the opportunity to wireless implementations in the future.

Increased Throughput

IoT device count per student is increasing rapidly. The next several years will bring a 50% increase in connected devices per person, which makes the average number of connected devices per student 3.6. As the number of smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other devices increase, so does the demand and expectation of a seamless experience online. Wi-Fi 6 provides consistent data throughput in dense environments giving educators and their students reliable connection.

Improved Outdoor Performance

With longer range capabilities, WiFi 6 will support an extended network on the outdoor campus. This would help with sporting events at stadiums where there are audio-visual systems and a dense network of connected devices during sporting events. The 802.11ax standard provides an infrastructure with significant possibilities.

Considerations

When considering a wireless network upgrade, there are some factors to keep in mind. What is the current state of the network? Are there issues or limitations? Areas with spotty coverage? What are future plans for expansion? Many school districts are beginning to have conversations about potential summer upgrades and utilizing the E-Rate Funding Program to offset some of the investment.

Low Voltage Solutions has over 20 years of experience designing and installing networks and communication systems for schools across the Chicagoland area. Our team of RCDD’s are equipped and available to start the discussion about the potential upgrade and expansion of your wireless network infrastructure. We are partnered and certified with the industry’s top manufacturers and distributors to provide you with the latest technology.

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Wi-Fi 6 and 5G: What You Should Know