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WWT’s Anderson: What Customers Need to Know About 5G, Wi-Fi 6

5G and IoT

… do it. Because you’re going to be able to live on that for probably four or five years.

CP: Now as you know, companies such as Cisco and Aruba have started rolling out Wi-Fi 6 gear. But what about the limited number of endpoints that support that and use the Wi-Fi 6 capabilities?

NA: That’ll definitely be part of the transition. I haven’t seen it in laptops yet. You’re starting to see it in smartphones, which tells me that we are probably a year away from starting to see it appearing in laptops and tablets.

CP: Are you seeing customers starting to roll out the early Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure that’s been delivered? Or are should they wait until the standard is finalized next year?

NA: There are some who don’t want to be the first guinea pig, but I can tell you, of the big network refreshes we’re in the middle of planning for customers, their assumption is that Wi-Fi 6 will be there.

CP: Since you’ve spent time testing Wi-Fi 6, can you explain what the experience is like? By that, I mean, what will end users notice that’s different?

NA: People will see faster transmission of larger files. And the second thing that you’ll notice is, depending on your usage, battery life of your device is better because you’re getting off the network a little faster.

CP: Are you advising customers to deploy Wi-Fi 6 with a single vendor? Have you tested it in a multivendor scenario yet?

NA: We’ve haven’t tested multivendor because typically, the way that you manage the access points is very tied to a specific vendor and their management platform. Let’s be honest, Cisco has little interest in managing non-Cisco access points, and the same is true with everyone else.

CP: What about 5G? Are organizations thinking about Wi-Fi 6 and 5G holistically, especially those that might be thinking about deploying enterprise 5G capabilities?

NA: Well, I think, you know, the organizations that we serve, and I have to caveat that we see the large organizations, we don’t really do a lot with the small and medium business. With the large enterprises, what we see there is confusion. There’s a message coming out from the service provider community that 5G is going to solve everything, so why are you investing in a Wi-Fi network? And it causes customers to pause a little bit. When they come to us, they want opinions, and they want to know if that is really true.

CP: How do you answer that?

NA: What we see is that it is complimentary. Without getting into the detailed science of it, there’s only so much spectrum that the public service providers have. And there’s just no possible way to give everybody that kind of bandwidth. That’s why Wi-Fi 6 just makes sense as a complimentary technology, because it makes the physics work. You need an offload network that’s local. You can’t have everybody on 5G; there’s just not enough spectrum to do that at the speeds that we’re talking about. It’s a physics problem. So it makes sense to distribute that load. You use 5G when you’re in the field and you don’t have access to a local network. But when you have access to it, why wouldn’t you …

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