If you’ve ever been to a large sporting event, convention or rally, you know all too well how slow the Wi-Fi signal can be when many in the crowd attempt to tweet or upload to Instagram at the same time.
Even if you’re providing Wi-Fi for a lesser crowd, say a transportation hub, hotel or popular restaurant, users have expectations for a good signal. Moreover, because every user in that crowd is a customer, it makes good business sense to satisfy their needs for fast and dependable Wi-Fi.
Next Generation Wi-Fi
To meet the ever-increasing demand for wireless speed and availability, a new Wi-Fi standard, IEEE 802.11ax, is in development with the release planned for June 2019. The goal of 802.11ax is to deliver five times the capacity of the current 802.11ac standard, which never fully reached its touted speed potential.
Category 6A Cable Support
Once this new standard takes hold, backbone cabling that supports the faster data rates of 802.11ax will be necessary to support tomorrow’s wireless access points (WAPs). The cable to support those speeds is Cat 6a, and it will become the standard “price of entry” to meet Wi-Fi speed and availability needs.
Yes, Cat 6 and Cat 6a cables both handle speeds up to 10 Gbps. However, Cat 6 cables do so only up to a distance of 55 meters. As more and more WAPs are deployed to provide fast and dependable Wi-Fi to users at that football game, convention or rally, the maximum cable transmission distance becomes an essential consideration. Cat 6a supports the same speed of 10 Gbps at almost twice the distance, up to 100 meters. Also, Cat 6a takes the prize when it comes to bandwidth, with a capacity up to 500 MHz, double the capacity of Cat 6.
Networks meeting next year’s 802.11ax standards will also include more Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices, requiring cables supportive of the increased power capacity demanded by multitudes of PoE devices. The same locations that draw crowds looking for a good Wi-Fi signal are likely to have robust video surveillance networks as well. Most surveillance cameras will use PoE as a power source. Here again, Cat 6a cables are the answer to support the devices necessary for public safety, easily adding justification for rewiring and planning any new installations with Cat 6a.
Get Ahead of User Expectations
With the proliferation of mobile devices and as the Internet of Things becomes more and more widespread, high-performance Wi-Fi networks won’t be limited to crowded public arenas. Users will expect fast and dependable Wi-Fi in all public settings. Will yours measure up?
Learn more about WESCO's Category 6A solutions.