Six ways Wi-Fi 6 will change digital transformation

As Wi-Fi 6 gets implemented in companies, there will be new on-premises opportunities to speed big data to its destinations.

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IDC projects that global spending on digital transformation will be at $6.8 trillion by 2023, so companies are spending on the digitalization of big data, analytics, Internet of Things, multimedia and all things digital.

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As companies have digitalized, they have operated in hybrid environments that combine data and processing from in-house and the cloud. They have also expanded their cloud consumption of data processing and storage. However, now with Wi-Fi 6 implementations on the rise, there are new IT deployment trends at work that will avail high data throughputs in internal company campus and office settings. This is likely to drive a new, fierce wave of digital transformation that will require changes from IT. 

What exactly is Wi-Fi 6, and what makes it so transformative?

Wi-Fi 6 is a new generation of Wi-Fi that allows network routers to interact with many devices at once with a network throughput rate that is as much as 400% greater than what businesses have today. The technology is used for internal, closed environmental settings, like communications, within an enterprise headquarters or in an in-house branch or factory. If Wi-Fi 6 is employed in a Manufacturing 4.0 setting, like running the IoT for an enterprise plant, it can do so handily with a reduced data latency of as much as 75%.

This is great news for companies and IT, but Wi-Fi 6 also requires strategic, operational and investment adjustments from IT.

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Here are six sea changes IT can expect from Wi-Fi 6 and how these changes will impact digitalization and big data:

1. Company communications will continue to migrate away from voicemail, email and in-person meetings, and use more multimedia and visual presentations.

Why not, if you've got the data speeds and throughput to facilitate great video? On the IT side, however, this trend will demand a strong support team behind video and conferencing to ensure these tools remain up and running. Upgrades will also be needed for networks and equipment so they can support Wi-Fi 6. The winning applications in the Wi-Fi 6 environment will include Microsoft Teams for collaboration, on-premise conferencing, and online training and video.

2. We could see some movement away from cloud computing.

Wi-Fi 6 is an on-prem technology that works in campuses, buildings, factories and retail outlets. The move to Wi-Fi 6 could see a relocation of more video content and big data to local, on-prem networks, with investments in Wi-Fi 6 upgrades being offset by cloud and internet spend savings.

3. Wi-Fi 6 will require network upgrades, investments and support.

Wi-Fi 6 networks require equipment upgrades, but there are still older IT assets that are not upgradable and that IT will need to continue to support. IT should review its networks and personnel deployment strategies. Delivering on-demand video content to a plethora of classrooms in a closed campus setting demands Wi-Fi 6 to ensure that Wi-Fi 6 and non-Wi-Fi 6 assets are all uniformly supported. 

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4. There will be more real-time analytics and less data throttling. 

Today, it's not uncommon to exclude incoming data from enterprise analytics engines if it's not imminently relevant. This data throttling improves data throughput and analytics turnarounds. With Wi-Fi 6, more data can be processed quicker. This may lead to less upfront data throttling for analytics, which will give analytics users a broader informational context that may improve the accuracy of analytics results.

5. IT workflows will be more flexible.

With Wi-Fi 6, more real-time processing of data will be made possible. This will likely require IT to revise its operational workflows for more real-time processing and less nightly and intra-day batch jobs.

6. There will be more micro data centers. 

Wi-Fi 6 will make it possible for remote offices, factories and retail outlets to run their own high-speed networks. This will change IT infrastructure, which has largely focused on the edge, in the central data center and in the cloud. Instead, we could see more internal micro data centers in individual plants and facilities.

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