Choosing the right technology that really fits your business can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market that seem to do the same thing, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice? This is often the case when selecting the right Wi-Fi 6 access points for your business. The offerings of different brands are often very similar, and it’s hard to tell them apart – with exciting, eye-catching branding and equally exciting prices to match. That’s why it’s important to read the fine print in detail and have a clear understanding of what each Wi-Fi 6 access point you look at actually has to offer.
About the author
Paul Routledge is UK&I County Manager for D-Link.
From lifetime warranties to Wi-Fi standards that enable innovative technologies, it can be helpful to know where the Wi-Fi 6 access points you’re considering are missing some important details, because in reality they aren’t all the same. Compromising on quality by opting for lower consumer-grade hardware can cause problems later on and incur additional costs, not to mention the impact on the customer experience. Here are four key considerations to keep in mind when exploring the Wi-Fi 6 access point market:
Assessing quality to avoid higher costs in the long run
One way to understand the quality a manufacturer offers is to look at the length of warranty they offer. Short warranties and failure to disclose mean time between failures (MTBF) can often lead to increased costs in the long run.
For Wi-Fi 6 access points, this can mean higher implementation costs as faulty hardware has to be replaced, resulting in loss of manpower and loss due to downtime. When selecting the Wi-Fi 6 access points for your business, it is essential to pay attention to transparency about MTBF. Plus, if it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, it means the manufacturer stands behind its quality.
Considering the design and impact on overall network efficiency
With so many Wi-Fi 6 access points claiming to do the same, it can be worth looking at the details and understanding how aspects of product design can affect overall network efficiency and capacity. Those using consumer-grade hardware, for example, are likely to cut corners, such as slower speeds on 2.4GHz wireless bands. Many connected devices experience a slower connection on that band and important technology such as MU-MIMO is not supported, affecting the overall speed and efficiency of your wireless network. This in turn means that they cannot achieve the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ certification.
Ensuring interoperability and backward compatibility
Wi-Fi certifications prove that Wi-Fi products, such as access points, have undergone rigorous testing to meet industry-agreed standards. For example, if products are not Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™, they do not guarantee Wi-Fi 6 interoperability, backward compatibility and security. With a growing number of devices expected to hit the market, interoperability is vital to enable you to couples get the most out of your Wi-Fi 6 products. Of course, you need to ensure that your existing devices can seamlessly connect to your upgraded network. Any issues with interoperability and backward compatibility lead to poor customer experiences and create more problems for IT management teams to resolve.
Making sure the Ethernet doesn’t choke the Wi-Fi
Many Wi-Fi 6 access points already support multi-gigabit speeds. Many access points that use cheap, consumer-grade hardware come with wired gigabit interfaces. It means that no matter how fast the Wi-Fi is, it will always be hindered and limited by the wired connection. Choosing access points with a wired multi-gigabit connection, such as 2.5G Ethernet, will reduce this problem, allowing the full potential of Wi-Fi 6 to be realized.
In short, if you’ve decided to invest the time and money to upgrade your business to Wi-Fi 6, don’t fall into the trap of choosing products based on initial cost. In the long run, the business will likely cost more.