802.11ac vs. 802.11ax, Is Now The Time To Deploy?

802.11ax Wi-Fi

802.11ac vs. 802.11ax, Is Now The Time To Deploy?

802.11ax is in Your Wireless Future

It is that time again in the wireless technology realm when we must wrestle with the question of deploying a new IEEE standard in 802.11ax, which deals with wireless LANs. For those who don’t recall, or may not have been involved, just a few short years ago we experienced the new 802.11ac standard from the IEEE.

Oh, how dreadful was the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands that occurred at just the mention of the 802.11ac standard? Had 802.11ac been a television show when introduced, it would have been Game of Thrones, and the Kardashians smashed together in a violent collision of realms.

Looking back there is one bit of advice I would give to those asking the 802.11ac question, which still applies to 802.11ax; my advice relates to planning. Now is a great time to evaluate what planning was done before your last WLAN deployment.

  • Is your WLAN so old that you only deployed access points to conference rooms?
  • Was your WLAN deployed only with square foot coverage in mind?
  • Did your last WLAN deployment not consider what wireless clients would access the WLAN?

With all of these questions in mind, we need to consider a complete strategy for planning WLAN deployments. The most important consideration should center on the wireless LAN use case. In Revolution Wi-Fi’s Wi-Fi Capacity Infographic, they discuss “methods to maximize airtime efficiency to get the most out of your WLAN.” Which brings up questions: What will be the benefit of the WLAN? What problem will be solved?

Once this basis for use has been determined, follow-up steps can be taken.

A natural progression would be:

  • Understanding which applications will traverse the wireless LAN
  • The discovery of the WLAN client types that will access the wireless LAN
  • The dictation of what WLAN infrastructure performance should look like
  • The parsing of wireless LAN equipment manufacturers
  • Using tools to plan access point quantities, transmit powers, locations, and so much more.

In Conclusion, there should be no rush to upgrade to the next best WLAN standard until thoughtful planning has been completed. It is possible the argument could be made to move to 802.11ac first.

Considering that 802.11ax clients will not hit the market for a couple of years, there is plenty of time to get your WLAN realm in order before undertaking small or large scale 802.11ax deployments.

Heath Blobaum

Manager of Wireless Engineering at Comm-Works

Heath currently serves as the Manager of Wireless Engineering for Comm-Works. He possesses experience in the technology and computer science space, and has over 10 years of experience in the information technology field. He holds his Degree in Computer Science and Networking from Hennepin Technical College in MN and in his spare time, his interests lie in biking, comedy, and spending time outdoors.

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