Are You Ready for the New Wave of Wi-Fi?
By Andrew Kenyon (Data Sector Manager, Actemium Birmingham) with information from Siemon and Mayflex
Maybe you’ve heard about the new wave of wireless known as Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), designed to boost Wi-Fi bandwidth even higher than Wi-Fi 5! This new wave of Wi-Fi has some far-reaching implications with respect to cabling infrastructure design and media selection.
- Wi-Fi 6 wireless access points (WAPs) need two class EA/category 6A or higher connections. Wi-Fi 6 WAPs (across all price points) will need at least one class EA/category 6A connection to support either 2.5 Gb/s or 5 Gb/s transmission speeds. And to take full advantage of Wi-Fi 6 technology as it matures to support greater than 5 Gb/s, two connections will be required to support link aggregation.
- Wi-Fi 6 requires a minimum of 25 Gb/s capable backbone. Installing a 25 Gb/s capable multimode optical fiber backbone will be required to support Wi-Fi 6 uplink capacity. In fact, this is already a key recommendation for Wi-Fi 5 implementations per industry cabling standards.
Wi-Fi 6 WAPs will need more power and thermally stable shielded cabling systems.
Because Wi-Fi 6 radio chips are doing significantly more complex signal processing, they are unable to work within the 13-watt budget of Type 1 power over Ethernet (PoE) and will require 30-watt Type 2 PoE. Since the higher power can cause heat build-up in cable bundles, Wi-Fi 6 WAPs are better supported by thermally stable shielded cabling systems and solid conductor cords such as Category 6A shielded cabling qualified for mechanical reliability up to 75°C (167°F) and fully compliant with the latest Construction Products Regulation ( CPR ) EU/305/2011.
Further information on CPR can be advised by Actemium Data Networks SCE Engineers, however something to be aware of when designing all new installations with Prospective or Existing clients, it is essential they consider the current and future specifications of devices and applications utilising the Structured Cabling Network to correctly determine the amount of outlets that are required and the Type of cable, they opt for. We would recommend as a minimum, a fully warranted and independently approved Cat6a Shielded system, that complies with CPR Classification ( Euroclass )appropriate to the EU Territory.
What are Euroclasses?
Euroclasses are a hierarchical series of test’s and measurement’s defined with the European Standard EN50575:2014. Classes are designated through the use of codes, prefixed with letters that declare reaction to fire, from A (no reaction) to F (undetermined). The reaction to the fire parameter is mandatory, the remaining elements of the Euroclass and subsequent coding are optional but are expected to be followed closely by regulators and specifiers.
Sometimes an evolution in technology forces consumers to stop and question legacy views about broadly deployed operating platforms or systems. Wi-Fi 6 is that technology – easily making the wait-and-see position that many have had regarding deploying 10 Gb/s-capable horizontal networks a thing of the past.
5G is here and 6G is just around the corner!