Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 60 - Page 31


‘‘ business

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shift towards hybrid working has pushed the issue of connectivity to the forefront of the business agenda . As of January 2021 , 59.5 % of the global population was using an Internet connection .

The pandemic has caused rapid acceleration of Digital Transformation initiatives across sectors , and with it a host of new connectivity challenges that have yet to be solved . Increased video conferencing , a greater reliance on cloud operations , and the rising threat of cybersecurity attacks , combine to represent a maelstrom of potential network issues . The answer to these challenges may well be Wi-Fi 6E .
What is Wi-Fi 6E ?
The ‘ E ’ in Wi-Fi 6E stands for ‘ Extended ’. The Wi-Fi in use today operates within two bands : 2.4GHz and 5GHz . But as Wi-Fi has become more pervasive , so too have the limitations of these spectrums . Recent studies have illustrated that pinch points mainly exist in city centres and areas where housing is particularly dense . The 2.4 GHz band has been shown to be highly congested and even the 5GHz band has started to struggle due to the large number of Wi-Fi radios that are operating within a smaller space on limited channels . This is where Wi-Fi 6E comes in .
Wi-Fi 6E uses a third band – 6GHz – and extends the same Wi-Fi 6 capabilities into it , enabling far greater efficiency , increased throughput , and tighter security . The extension into this band essentially doubles the amount of frequency that is available to devices and users . While not the only solution – the rollout of 5G is a noteworthy answer to connectivity issues – Wi-Fi 6E gives an organisation far greater control over how their data is treated , and it is also cheaper to boot . Adoption of Wi-Fi 6E , and the less congested airways , broader channels , and increased connectivity that comes with it , will not only enable greater success within existing parameters , but also catalyse future innovations .
Gaining global momentum
As a solution , Wi-Fi 6E is gaining momentum . Seventy countries , with a total population of 3.4 billion people have approved or have 6 GHz regulations under consideration and more than 350 million Wi-Fi 6E capable devices are expected to be sold in 2022 .
the moment . With Digital Transformation nondiscriminately gripping all industries , the move to the cloud has accelerated . The cloud computing market is expected to grow from US $ 371.4 billion in 2020 , to US $ 832.1 billion by 2025 . Additionally , the remarkable
growth of the IoT market , expected to hit US $ 1.6 trillion by 2025 , means that as devices continue on their path to connectivity and interaction , networks must do more than ever before .
Paving the way for existing and emerging use cases
While Wi-Fi 6E presents solutions to burgeoning network problems , as global momentum grows , the extra band should serve to alleviate pressure , and not simply become the next overused and clogged network . With this in mind , here are some very specific use cases that Wi-Fi 6E is best placed to accommodate .
AR & VR . Whilst Wi-Fi 6E presents solutions to burgeoning network problems , it also aids in more specific use cases , such as augmented reality ( AR ) and virtual reality ( VR ). For AR and VR to reach their full potential , they require multi-gigabit speeds . Beyond enhancing consumer markets such as gaming , both of these immersive technologies have begun to cement their positions in the operations of organisations such as retail and marketing .
Healthcare . The ongoing pandemic has turbo charged the healthcare industry along its path towards a digital future . Wi-Fi 6E allows for critical services and applications to operate without the worry of latency issues . The extra band enables and supports the need for mobility within a dense area , as well as aiding in the data-intensive service , tele-medicine , which according to recent McKinsey research has seen a 38 % increase from pre-pandemic levels .
Jacob Chacko , Regional Director – Middle East , Saudi & South Africa , Aruba
The speed of adoption reflects the mood of
Higher Education . If dense housing places considerable strain on networks , then higher education
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