How Wi-Fi 6/6E Can Solve Chronic Wireless Network Problems

Today’s IT teams are fighting a war on many fronts when it comes to managing their Wi-Fi networks. Evolving technology and the distribution of the enterprise beyond the office — the infinite enterprise — has taxed many networks to their limits. At the same time, the number of mobile devices accessing wireless networks continues to rise, with some estimates pointing to a 40% increase within the next five years. These added and distributed devices not only create congestion but expand the network attack surface, compounding security risks.

Many existing Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 networks are already straining to keep up as high-bandwidth applications, especially cloud-based applications, become more prevalent. Traffic jams are a constant concern, and most IT admins spend 20% of their work week just troubleshooting the network. But legacy networks provide only minimal visibility into network and client performance, making the network management task needlessly difficult. Further compounding these issues is a chronic shortage of resources: over 20% of organizations say they don’t have enough IT admin personnel.

The problems plaguing IT teams exist because enterprises are working with outdated infrastructures and tools. More powerful and flexible wireless networks built on Wi-Fi 6/6E can make it easier to resolve many of the thorniest issues IT teams deal with.

Networks Are Increasing in Complexity

Legacy wireless networks have reached the limits of their capabilities. While they must continue to support legacy devices and applications, more powerful devices running more bandwidth-intensive applications are placing higher demand on these networks. And there’s plenty more just over the horizon.

New applications that IT teams must support are being adopted: IoT, virtual reality and augmented reality, edge computing, cloud-based applications, and high-fidelity video collaboration, to name a few, are quickly becoming part of the standard technology toolbox for many organizations. As these and other technologies become mainstream, they will place enormous strain on already stretched Wi-Fi 4 and 5 infrastructures. And while many businesses are excited about the possibilities of cloud-based applications, their high bandwidth requirements make them extraordinarily difficult for IT teams to manage on a less powerful network.

As the network struggles to keep pace, downtime will become more costly because every aspect of a business operation will be affected, from the user experience to customer retention, and the ability to develop new revenue opportunities. But without more powerful network tools and detailed insights, diagnosing and resolving issues will be substantially more difficult.

IT teams looking to support the new technologies and applications that will enable business operations today and tomorrow need the more powerful, flexible network infrastructure enabled by the new Wi-Fi 6/6E standard. And they need artificial intelligence operations (AIOps) capabilities to meet expectations for an always-on wireless network.

Extreme Cloud IQ Cloud Services Platform and Extreme Cloud IQ CoPilot simplify distributed-network management. They provide unified views, operational insights, and AI-driven proactive problem-solving that can help IT teams rise above today’s limitations to meet immediate requirements and easily rise above tomorrow’s challenges by making it easier to adapt to evolving needs.

Security Threats and Risks Are Increasing

More complex networks create more complex security challenges. Legacy networks are changing from a single bottleneck that filtered all security threats to an infinitely distributed network. With its millions of vulnerable wireless endpoints, this vastly expanded attack surface greatly increases the risk of data leaks, compliance failures, and security threats that can compromise operations. And even the smallest breach can create reputational and brand risks.

While the consequences of failure are growing, it’s getting harder to properly secure the network. Purchasing separate, disjointed security solutions creates additional challenges for IT teams by forcing them to integrate solutions never intended to operate together. These disjointed investments in network infrastructure create management difficulties and raise the cost of ownership. This is further compounded by a cybersecurity skills shortage.

The Wi-Fi 6/6E standard offers more advanced, built-in security and supports more powerful security solutions that operate as a single management platform. And while staffing will continue to be a challenge in the future, cloud management with machine learning and artificial intelligence enables easier troubleshooting and routine management for existing IT workers, mitigating risk.

Extreme AirDefense, for example, greatly simplifies security management in distributed wireless networks and is optimized to leverage all the security benefits of the new Wi-Fi standard. And the Extreme Essentials suite of applications can do everything from proactively notifying IT staff of attacks to providing powerful, multitier location services.

Digital Transformation and Improved User Experiences

While network security is a concern, tech-enabled business transformation continues to be top-of-mind for all organizations looking for ways to lower the cost of network ownership, improve efficiencies, and offer improved user experiences to customers. But an increasingly fast-changing landscape of hybrid work, remote work, new devices, and new applications means that organizations are struggling to keep pace with user expectations.

Wi-Fi is the key enabler and key differentiator for a digital transformation that can address the needs of all users, and enterprises without competitive Wi-Fi offerings will lose customers to competitors. But improving existing Wi-Fi must go beyond providing enhanced connectivity. The ability to offer other services, such as location analytics, asset tracking, guest access, and IoT security, is critical in a highly competitive landscape. And a migration to cloud technologies, where innovation can happen more quickly, is now a key operational requirement.

While cloud migration can be both cumbersome and complicated, Extreme Networks’ flexible Cloud-Managed Network offerings enable enterprises to migrate to the cloud without unnecessarily straining IT teams. And the Extreme Essentials application suite offers solutions for monitoring workflows and assets that are scalable to thousands of sites, making it easier than ever to gather and compile network and user data seamlessly.

The Best Foundation: A Better Wireless Network

The growing complexity of networks makes Wi-Fi 6’s and 6E’s more efficient traffic-routing and additional channels critical to the success of today’s enterprise, particularly as enterprises move towards cloud-based applications. Built-in security standards make it easier for cybersecurity personnel to manage a distributed network. The ability to harvest data to improve operations and user experiences without compromising network operations enables enterprises to remain competitive and find new revenue streams. And a cloud-managed Wi-Fi 6/6E network provides deep, end-to-end network visibility and centralized management for the infinite enterprise.

Extreme Networks offers a variety of solutions to help you leverage all the benefits of Wi-Fi 6/6E, enabling your enterprise to overcome today’s limitations, take advantage of tomorrow’s innovations, and exceed the expectations of all users.

For more insight into our Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E solutions, visit our website or check out our customer stories. To get in touch with our sales teams, contact us today.

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Cammy Perry
Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Cammy is a Content Marketing Specialist at Extreme Networks, leveraging her expertise to craft thought leadership and engaging content.

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