WiFi 6 officially arrived at the end of 2019. Typically, in large enterprise, adoption of new technologies can be slow. Network infrastructure may only be replaced every 5 years minimum impacting Wi-Fi 6 Adoption, and that isn´t considering the client devices.

WiFi 6 Adoption in a large enterprise

I have been tracking Wi-Fi6 adoption in the enterprise I work for since June 2020, and finally we have reached a milestone. We now have more Wi-Fi 6 capable devices on our network than Wi-Fi 5.

The rollout is expected to hit 90% in early 2024.

Wi-Fi 6 Lab Testing, 20MHz

WiFi 6 promises many enhancements to past revisions. Through our lab testing we have identified the following results.

Clean Medium

WiFi6 lab test results

We see an average improvement of 252Mpbs in actual throughput.  During the tests we noticed very little MU traffic.  Upload traffic appears substantially faster than download, this is most likely due to BSS coloring, and for WiFi 5 RX-SOP.

WiFi6 lab test results

The average variation of jitter shows 1ms more jitter for 802.11ax.  No MU traffic was observed during this capture, therefore each client had to contend for the medium the same way for both protocols.  The results here show that no improvement was made.

Congested Medium

Raising channel utilization by injecting fake wireless frames into the channel, we can show how each protocol handles extreme load.

During the tests for both WiFi6 and WiFi5, fake wireless traffic was injected into the channel until we saw 70% of utilization.  After this point, the test was conducted and, on both protocols, we noted 100% channel utilization as shown below:

Congested medium 802.11

The following tables describe the results from testing both Wi-Fi 5 & 6

WiFi6 lab test results

We see an average improvement of 196Mpbs in actual throughput.  During the tests we noticed very little MU traffic.  Upload traffic appears substantially faster than download, this is most likely due to BSS coloring, and for WiFi 5 RX-SOP.

WiFi6 lab test results

Jitter appears much better when under load, WiFi 6 is on average 6ms faster than WiFi 5.  This is expected behavior.

Wi-Fi 6 Lab Testing, 40MHz

WiFi6 lab test results

The results overall are good, but we are late. Now Wi-Fi6E has been approved. Wi-Fi6E adoption has a long way to go,

6GHz readiness

With the current deployment speed, I don´t expect to see a requirement for enabling 6GHz in the enterprise until 2025, the focus is on Wi-Fi 6 Adoption.

Explore more Wi-Fi articles here!

802.11 is developed and maintained by IEEE

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