Next-gen wireless options: Wi-Fi 6, 5G or private 5G?

As Wi-Fi and 5G technology improve to support higher bandwidth and more users per access point, enterprises need to look deeper to decide which best meets their needs.

wireless network - internet of things [iot]

One of the great debates in networking has been whether to use wired connectivity—which brings speed—or wireless—which delivers mobility. Recent versions of Wi-Fi deliver speeds comparable to wired, removing this debate. Wired connections are still faster, but for most user applications, including video, there is no experience difference. Looking ahead, next-generation wireless will be well North of 1Gbps, making it a no-brainer to use wireless.

The next big decision: What kind of wireless?

In the past, there was only one option, and that was Wi-Fi. Now there is another option coming into play, and that’s 5G. Not 5G like the kind one has attached to your mobile phone, but private 5G used within enterprise environments.

Recent advancements in Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) have made using 5G a reality, which would enable companies to bring 5G services into buildings. Simultaneously, Wi-Fi has gone through a big evolutionary step with Wi-Fi 6, which has major improvements over Wi-Fi 5 that make it more reliable.

This creates a debate about what an organization’s next-generation wireless should be. There’s no right answer, but it’s important that network engineers understand the pros and cons of each solution and how they could be used.

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