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.
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.
The following are the 3 major reasons why a duplex Cat6A is the right cable choice.
- Sheer speed capabilities: Cat6 or Cat5E simply cannot handle the bandwidth that gives the WiFi 6 the advantage over its previous generations.
- 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.
- 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.