Cisco Live 2019: The importance of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 for network infrastructures

Customers can more easily design and deploy network infrastructures with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

Cisco Live 2019: The importance of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 for network infrastructures

At Cisco Live 2019, TechRepublic's Teena Maddox spoke with World Wide Technology's Neil Anderson about how customers can easily design and deploy network infrastructures with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G. The following is an edited transcript of the video.

Teena Maddox: So tell me what your company does and why you're here at Cisco Live.

Neil Anderson: So World Wide Technology is Cisco's largest partner globally. We help organizations, whether they're large enterprise customers, public sector customers or service providers, to build out their network infrastructure. And we do everything from data centers to campus networks, wireless networks, security, collaboration, any of the technologies in IT. We help customers to design those networks, deploy them and even offer management services if they would like someone else to operate their networks.

Teena Maddox: How important is 5G and Wi-Fi 6 to your customers?

Neil Anderson: It's very important. A lot of our customers have outdated wireless networks inside their campuses, and they need to really uplift those to Wi-Fi 6 to be able to support the applications that their users are now using. Typically, the wireless networks that are out there were never designed for the load, and the number of devices and the applications that people are using now. So it's really important.

Think we're going to see a big upswing of customers deploying and refreshing their networks and designing them for the new applications and the way people are using them. The wireless networks really become the primary networks, so people don't typically plug into the wall anymore. It's become the primary network, so it's super important that for worker productivity and other reasons to have that good experience, and that's why we're super interested in Wi-Fi 6 and we're helping customers already to design and plan their deployments.

SEE: Wi-Fi 6: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5G is another technology coming out pretty much at the same time, but it's really designed for the outside networks, macrocellular networks. 4G's been out there for quite a long time and been pretty stable. And 5G is going to give a big bump again in bandwidth and the number of devices that can simultaneously connect to the network. And that's going to be a big benefit for customers as they move from their inside Wi-Fi 6 network to the outside 5G network, and be able to have that same kind of experience and same kind of performance of the network.

Teena Maddox: What are some of the use cases that your customers have used for 5G or Wi-Fi 6?

Neil Anderson: For 5G, we're thinking that there's a lot of use cases that were not really possible because the 4G networks were really not designed for the number of devices and the throughput that 5G delivers. And so we're seeing customers that are thinking about using 5G as a wireless WAN to be able to connect sites that, maybe they want a second connection, but it's hard to get a wired connection into that site. So 5G will be a natural way to extend their WAN out there to that site.

IoT applications we think are going to be huge and we're working with some customers planning those things. Thinking about how do I connect thousands of sensors, think about an electric utility that wants to monitor their infrastructure. Being able to connect and send that data back to a central location so they can monitor their entire grid, that's an application that 5G is really designed to be able to support all of those sensor devices that are sending little snippets of data out there.

Wi-Fi 6, our customers are really looking at that to rethink the way that they're designing their office space and adopting more of an open office space concept where people can move around and collaborate together. And that means applications like voice and video on laptop devices, or other devices, needs to be solid in that kind of a work environment. And so we're working with a lot of customers that are doing that, they're redesigning their workspaces, and helping them plan through that with Wi-Fi 6 will be a natural way for them to be able to extend those applications no matter where people are working within their office spaces.

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic)

Teena Maddox: How important is Wi-Fi 6 and 5G to the future?

Neil Anderson: Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are both really important for the future. If you think about the history of both the mobile data, 1G, 2G, up to 5G, and then the history of Wi-Fi, every so many years there needs to be a bump in the performance and the bandwidth of those standards because applications, and the way people are using them, are continuing to just evolve at a rapid pace. And a lot of those applications are consuming more bandwidth, and need to have that real-time performance to the cloud. And that's where Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are going to give that next bump in performance almost 10 times on both sides in performance to be able to let more devices connect and get a better experience through those networks.

So we see that it's going to be critical to our service provider customer base, because that is the next generation of their network, and it's going to be really critical for our enterprise and public sector customers as well, as their users adopt more and more mobile applications and work styles.

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By Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is Associate Managing Editor at TechRepublic. She oversees TechRepublic's news team and TechRepublic Premium. She focuses on tech and business and how the two worlds intersect. Teena's lifelong journalism career has included writing on s...