The Wi-FI 6 standard (802.11ax) is bringing many exciting improvements to Wi-Fi that make it an enticing option. These include speed, in the form of real-world multi-gigabit wireless connections, but also support for high-density networks like those in stadiums. However, it will take some careful thought and planning to know when to take the leap to Wi-Fi 6.\n\nWi-Fi resources\n\nHow-to measure enterprise Wi-Fi speeds\n Test and review of 4 Wi-Fi 6 routers: Who\u2019s the fastest?\n How to determine if Wi-Fi 6 is right for you\n Wi-Fi 6E: When it\u2019s coming and what it\u2019s good for\n\n\nDo you need the speed?\nTo make multi-gigabit wireless speeds possible, most Wi-Fi 6 access points (AP) ship with a 2.5Gbps or 5Gbps LAN connection, whereas nearly all Wi-Fi 5 APs have a 1Gbps interface. Connecting a Wi-Fi 6 AP to a typical gigabit network is possible but will bottleneck the speeds of the Wi-Fi so clients won\u2019t be able to realize connection speeds over 1Gbps to the internal LAN or internet.\n\nOn the other hand, you might not need such fast Wi-Fi-access speeds. For casual Wi-Fi usage by smartphones and laptops in an office you probably don\u2019t. But it would help on networks with a high-density of users or those with sensitive or high-throughput applications like streaming 4K videos \u2013 especially if the content is coming from within the LAN instead of the Internet.\nIs your wired network ready?\nEvaluate your current network to see what needs upgrading on the wired side in order to get the multi-gigabit support. Here\u2019s what to look for:\n\nSwitches: Check the maximum data rate supported by any switches located between the APs and the router. If the Wi-Fi clients will be accessing network shares on the LAN, follow the path that the traffic will travel, and evaluate those switches as well.\nPower-over-Ethernet: If using PoE via the switch or external injectors to power the APs, check which PoE standard and data rates they support. Keep in mind that most Wi-Fi 6 APs will require compliance with at least the PoE+ standard (802.3at). Though some APs will support the legacy PoE standard (802.3af), it will usually reduce the performance of the AP and most likely only support a maximum data rate of 1Gbps. For future-proofing your PoE, consider the newer PoE++ standard (802.3bt) if it\u2019s available on a switch or injector.\nCabling: To get better than 1Gbps on the wired side, you need to have at least Cat6 cabling out to the APs and any connections between them and the router. For future-proofing, consider Cat6a, Cat7, Cat7a, or, if it\u2019s available and plausible, Cat8. If you have the legacy Cat5e or older cabling, keep in mind you might not have to re-cable every Ethernet outlet. Think about what the Wi-Fi clients will be accessing on the LAN and the path their traffic will take.\nRouter: For smaller networks with switch ports being used on the router you might want to consider upgrading if they only support 1Gbps.\n\nWhen looking at multi-gigabit support for switches, PoE, and routers you\u2019ll see options for the maximum data supported: 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 10 Gbps. For Wi-Fi 6 you\u2019ll likely only need 2.5Gbps or 5 Gbps. But for future-proofing both the wired and wireless sides, consider 10 Gbps. For the cabling, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat7a all support the same max data rate of 10 Gbps, but each has higher bandwidth than the previous one.\nWhere should you place APs?\nWith any Wi-Fi deployment you should always do a site survey before deploying APs. We already discussed most of what you want to look for in a LAN survey. A wireless or RF survey can help you locate the best spots to mount APs in order to get\u00a0 the best coverage, roaming, and performance. The range and coverage of Wi-Fi 6 may be similar to that provided by the older standards but there are differences in regard to density that can affect the placement and configuration settings.\nIf you haven\u2019t done a lot of Wi-Fi work, find someone who has. Guessing at where to place the APs, especially for bigger networks, can be a costly mistake. There are methods and tools to help better design Wi-Fi networks, including analyzers and heatmapping software. A professional survey can save time, money, and headache.\nCan you obtain the Wi-Fi 6 clients you need?\nAlthough the Wi-Fi 6 APs are backward compatible with the older Wi-Fi client standards (802.11a\/b\/g\/n\/ac), you won\u2019t be able to realize all the Wi-Fi 6 speed improvements unless using a Wi-Fi 6 client. At the time of this writing, there aren\u2019t many client devices supporting Wi-Fi 6. You\u2019ll find the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Apple iPhone 11 phones do, along with some newer laptops and desktops.\nFor most networks, it makes sense to wait until the client devices are upgraded to Wi-Fi 6. But if you have a special network or select devices that need extremely high throughput you might consider upgrading sooner. For desktop computers, there are PCIe adapter cards available. We couldn\u2019t find any USB adapters on the market yet. To upgrade laptops right now, you\u2019d likely need to purchase a M.2\/NGFF Wi-Fi 6 adapter, if the laptop has a compatible slot for Wi-Fi cards.\nTo see what\u2019s currently out there supporting Wi-Fi 6, check out the Wi-Fi Alliance\u2019s Product Finder.\nAre the features you want available yet?\nLike we saw with 802.11ac, we\u2019ll see 802.11ax come out in phases. We\u2019ll first see devices only sending\/receiving up to 4 simultaneous spatial streams, and up to 8 later. Right now, we only have multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) on the AP-to-client downlink, while later they\u2019ll add clients-to-AP uplink support as well. However, right away we\u2019ll see the new orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) feature working in both directions, allowing multiple clients that have different bandwidth requirements to connect to the same AP at the same time.