How 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will spearhead the future of remote work

how-5g-and-wi-fi-6-will-spearhead-the-future-of-remote-work

Telecommuting is here to stay, and advanced connectivity will be the guiding light.

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Remote work is the new reality. With some states still seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases, employees are realizing they may be working from home longer than they expected. This means that meetings held via video conference and conferences hosted as webinars may be commonplace for a while. 

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Some argue that remote work is the future of work, and that the coronavirus has only expedited its popularity. 

“Remote work is absolutely here to stay,” said Mick Slattery, president of CompuCom. “We’re going to see more than ever movement between locations. Sometimes I’m remote, sometimes I’m in the office.” 

Telecommuting presents some concerns, however. Worries associated with security, visibility, and communication are common, but networking and connectivity remain paramount. Professionals can’t work remotely if they don’t have the connectivity and infrastructure to do so. 

Working in and out of the office, Slattery said, “means I’m going to have the same level of expectations regardless of where I am, and my IT administrators are going to have to support me the same way, regardless of where I am.”

IT teams are looking for ways to bolster connectivity, with 5G and Wi-Fi 6 top of mind. 

Slattery said that tech professionals have long heard about 5G and its potential impact on field workers. While 5G’s potential on that scale is still there, Slattery said that there are even greater use cases right ahead. 

“I have heard about or experienced calls where people are concerned about if others in the house are on the Wi-Fi at the same time they’re trying to conduct something,” Slattery said, or they are concerned if their internet goes down. “For some organizations and some people in particular, when your Wi-Fi goes down during the middle of a super critical event call, maybe even a board interaction, that’s highly problematic.” 

The power of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 

“[Wi-Fi 6] and in particular 5G provides us better redundancy,” Slattery said. “Most of our offices don’t rely on just one network connection, but most of our people working from home are relying on one network connection. How do we make sure that the people who need to be productive and uninterrupted have the right resiliency? 5G would play a huge role in that.” 

The main appeal of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are the fast speeds and reliability, said Jim Slowik, vice president of tech sales at CompuCom.

“Wi-Fi 6 and 5G offer the same synergy around the fact that it’s all about lower latency, better resiliency, some load balancing, and some of that seamless integration between those technologies,” Slowik said. “When one might take a dip, the other one picks up. That’s the stuff that I think is going to be groundbreaking for the new Wi-Fi.”

This tech is also helpful from a security side, Slattery said. 

“From an IT perspective, it also enables some higher order security capabilities,” Slattery said. “[It lets] you look at some of these devices that are more software defined, WAN-type devices that can extend the security perimeter out to the home and how 5G can help play a role in that.” 

5G and Wi-Fi 6 will be beneficial across industries, but especially with those that have highly  distributed locations, whether it be manufacturing, retail, offices, and the like, Slattery noted. 

“Think branches, think smaller offices, and you can think of industries from different aspects of financial services, including insurance; you can think of real estate, even retail,” Slattery said. “5G has the potential to be a very quick way to extend network coverage and also provide added redundancy into those locations without a lot of additional infrastructure.” 

For more, check out 5G rollouts grow amid COVID-19 crisis on TechRepublic. 

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New tech and Wi-Fi 6 tools aim to make high-speed internet more accessible

new-tech-and-wi-fi-6-tools-aim-to-make-high-speed-internet-more-accessible

A new set of offerings by Cambium Networks includes products, programs, and tools to help enterprises bring Wi-Fi 6 technology to customers.

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Image: Andrii Panchyk, Getty Images/iStockphoto

On Wednesday, Cambium Network introduced a new line of products and tools to help customers harness the power of Wi-Fi 6. The Wi-Fi 6, according to the release, is “based on a software-defined, multi-radio architecture” and can “eliminate the silo between fixed wireless and Wi-Fi technologies and provide an affordable alternative to last-mile wired networks – changing the economics of broadband for urban, suburban, rural, industrial and enterprise environments.” 

Wi-Fi 6 is the new generation of wireless technology, which aims to bring speeds up to 30% faster than its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5. Speed is not its only asset –– the wireless local area network (WLAN) also boasts lower latency, increased power efficiency, and a more streamlined delivery of data. As such, it’s essential for enterprises to get on board to stay ahead of the curve. 

The Cambium Network offerings, based on Wi-Fi 6 for LAN and 60 GHz millimeter-wave technology for wide area networks, can be managed via the cloud, and will result in cutting costs up to 30%.

According to the release, they include: “Two wireless access points, six multi-gigabit switches, and enhanced cloud-based software that simplifies wireless network design and deployment” bolstered by 60 GHz millimeter wave technology, which can result in service that matches that of fiber. 

“The deployment of 100 Cambium XV3-8 access points with XMS-Cloud management provides an average cost savings of 29.8 percent over five years, compared to similar deployments of 100 Wi-Fi 6 access points from five other enterprise Wi-Fi vendors,” the release states. 

SEE: Wireless networking policy (TechRepublic Premium)

 

“From New York to Naples to Nigeria, everyone wants super-fast wireless connections,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO of Cambium Networks. “By bringing together Wi-Fi 6 and 60 GHz solutions with cloud software, we’re changing the game with unified wireless that can serve any city, any enterprise, any school, any business or any industry at a fraction of the cost of wired networks. With this new wave of technology, wireless is the new fiber and it simply just works.”

 

In addition, Cambium will offer programs for resellers, distributors, and service providers to promote the spread of Wi-Fi 6. This includes: “an upgraded partner portal; a TCO Profiler software tool for quickly comparing deployment options; a ‘not for resale’ Wi-Fi 6 starter kit; dedicated channel marketing and inside sales resources; virtual partner bootcamps; expanded free online training; virtual online demonstration capabilities; and expanded digital marketing funds,” the release states. 

“Businesses that deliver outstanding connectivity while controlling total costs have a sustainable advantage,” said Ron Ryan, senior vice president of Global Channels at Cambium Networks. “Our partner program provides customers with innovative wireless broadband and enterprise Wi-Fi solutions that deliver simplicity, scale, and significantly lower total cost of ownership.”

Cambium’s cloud-based management portal means that thousands of customers can manage the service, according to the release, using a simple pane of glass. 

 

Also, “MSPs can use open APIs to integrate their own differentiated service offerings and efficiently connect services to management platforms including billing, ticketing and guest access. Managing multi-access use cases for administrators, staff, and guests is easy via a cloud portal. Software and firmware upgrades are automated with ‘set and forget’ cloud subscriptions to support a lean IT approach,” the release states.

 

SEE: WI-FI 6 (802.11AX): A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Here is a sample of the offerings, according to the release:

  • Cambium XV3-8 Access Point: A tri-radio, eight-antenna access point designed for high-density environments, including enterprises, public venues, smart cities and campuses. Its application intelligence and policy controls support more than 2,000 applications to match business requirements to the wireless network to support more users and high-density applications. The XV3-8 also features seamless roaming, fast roaming, automatic RF optimization and interference avoidance to automatically optimize performance to specific local needs.

  • Cambium XV 2-2 Access Point: A dual-radio, dual-antenna AP with software-defined Wi-Fi that delivers the high performance of Wi-Fi 6 technology without the extra cost. The XV 2-2 is ideal for small to medium-enterprise deployments and retail, bringing consistent, high-speed performance at a lower cost.

  • cnMatrix Enterprise Switches: Six new wireless-optimized Multi-Gigabit Switches can meet the increased speed and capacity requirements of organizations today and beyond. These Wi-Fi 6 switches feature fully automated network access policies and true cloud-based, zero-touch provisioning to eliminate errors from human intervention and reduce the need for onsite technical expertise while improving efficiency and quality of experience. These switches include the EX2016M-P that is optimized for Wi-Fi 6 deployments; the EX2052 that includes three 48-port models with high-port density and flexible power options. 

In addition to the connectivity and tools for organizations, Cambium has surveyed service providers to learn more about their technological needs. 

In a survey of more than 800 respondents, across 82 countries, there seemed to be a high level of enthusiasm for “delivering broadband wireless internet service for urban, suburban, enterprise and industrial environments,” the release states, which can be accomplished through Cambium’s new 60 GHz products. 

“In today’s world, high-speed Internet access is as fundamental as having access to water and electricity,” said Scott Imhoff, SVP of product management, Cambium Networks. “Our 60 GHz product strategy is designed to deliver fiber-like throughput at a fraction of the cost.”

A majority of respondents (57%) say that “building-to-building wireless multigigabit point-to-point links for business” was the top priority. Following that, at 46%, was residential connectivity, and Wi-Fi backhaul represented 30%. 

Almost half of providers (48%) said that urban environments constituted the most important location, followed by small communities (43%) and industrial applications (38%). Finally, a whopping 95% of respondents said that planning tools were vital to their business operations.

 

The offerings will become available in the beginning of July, and Cambium plans to continue to offer products through the end of the year.

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