How to Increase WiFi Speeds to Meet Demand?

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Increasing number of IoT devices.
  2. Is WiFi 6 the Answer to the Data Surge?
  3. Why is Duplex Cat6A the Right Cable Choice?

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Overview

Currently, in the U.S. there are approximately 8 networked devices per person, a number expected to climb to 13.6 a person by 2022 according to the Cisco VNI report. This translates to a US household with 2 children having more than 50 devices connected to the internet. Similar trends are expected to follow around the globe with Internet of Things shaping the connectivity in the future.

Is WiFi 6 the Answer to the Data Surge?

To handle such a high number of devices requires not just high speeds of data but also the ability to cater to a large number of devices at the same time. WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), the next generation WiFi is set to take the stage in 2019 to tackle those exact needs. It has the capability of transmitting 10X the date the previous generation of WiFi was able to.

Another thing that it brings to the table is its improved MU-MIMO (Multiple Users, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology that allows WiFi 6 to communicate with upto 8 devices at the same time (not to connect with connected with 8 devices, that number is much higher) instead of broadcasting to one, then the next, then the next and so on.

The future of WiFi looks bright but it requires a change of hardware to fully utilise its advantages. Hardware from both the consumer and service provider needs to change. End user devices like phones, laptops along with other electronics will gradually start supporting WiFi 6 with Samsung Galaxy S10 being one of the firsts to support it. On the other hand routers and cabling will need to be changed.

The new technology of WiFi 6 calls for an upgraded cabling system as well. Majority of cables used in the present day are either the 17 year old Cat6 or the 20 year old Cat 5e. These won’t suffice anymore, to support the bandwidth required for WiFi 6, as mentioned in TIA TSB-162-A standards, we require two Cat6A cables to each service outlet supporting a WAP. Installing 2 cables per AP would provide potential through link aggregation of upto 20 gigs in that AP making it future proof.

Why is Duplex Cat6A the Right Cable Choice?

  1. Sheer speed capabilities: Cat6 or Cat5E simply cannot handle the bandwidth that gives the WiFi 6 the advantage over its previous generations.
  2. Low cost of installation: Wifi 6 has a staggering bandwidth upto 10 gbps which is only going to increase in the future. 2 cables are thus needed for this. To reduce the installation cost we have clubbed together two Cat6A cables to produce our duplex Cat 6a cables that ensure future proofing from increasing bandwidth demands of the future. Simply joining the cables together brings down the installation cost by 20-30% since you only have to pull one single unit of cables instead of two separate cables.
  3. Less Heating (Power Loss): with IoT-PoE infrastructure expected to get more and more widespread in the future, we need to improve the energy consumption efficiency by reducing heat losses, here Cat6A cables have an advantage due to its better cable conductor size and overall cable design.

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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