Last time I checked, good enough is not really good enough in the world of wireless networking. Nobody ever turned to an IT professional and said, “That’ll be just fine. We don’t have to go further to make the network faster and more efficient. Thanks for coming by.”
The reason is simple. Wireless networks built on Wi-Fi are like air: Everyone expects them to be everywhere, ready and waiting to provide that instant access to anything and everything on any device. It’s the IT team’s job to make sure the network meets those expectations, and more. And when it doesn’t, guess who gets the fallout?
Good IT teams know this and are adept at anticipating potential issues, planning for future requirements, and integrating network updates and upgrades when they become available. That’s why many IT teams are already taking advantage of the opportunity Wi-Fi 6 and 6E offer to rise above the limitations of today’s Wi-Fi 5 and prepare their wireless network for tomorrow’s challenges.
But hardware upgrades by themselves are not enough to address the needs of an infinite enterprise. A strategically designed wireless environment should also include a cloud-based platform enhanced with artificial intelligence operations (AIOps) capabilities that makes it easier to optimize and manage the network.
Next-Generation Standards Improve Wireless Performance
IT teams are at an interesting networking crossroad. Wi-Fi, which has been the enabler of enterprise wireless for 20 years, has taken a giant leap forward to support the growing number of mobile and IoT devices that rely on Wi-Fi technology. While IT teams can certainly choose to continue to build wireless environments around Wi-Fi 5 and the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums, they have the option of moving up to the next generation of technical capabilities with Wi-Fi 6/6E.
Wi-Fi 6 and 6E bring significant increases in speed, capacity, and coverage to the table. They are engineered to deliver improved user, application, and device experiences with more bandwidth streams, improved reliability, and higher security. The new 6 GHz spectrum that is now available with Wi-Fi 6E offers a wireless superhighway that can support the most demanding, business-critical applications. Plus, Wi-Fi 6 is backwards-compatible. So, enterprises can protect existing Wi-Fi investments by continuing to use deployed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz access points and devices, and still get all the higher performance benefits of the new Wi-Fi standard.
Since the adoption of the Wi-Fi 6 standard in 2019 and the Wi-Fi 6E extension in 2020, new access point, mobile, and IoT devices have been introduced that make it easier for enterprises to take advantage of all that Wi-Fi 6 and 6E have to offer for a variety of networking requirements. The Extreme Networks AP4000, for example, is the industry’s first Wi-Fi 6E tri-radio access point capable of multiple operating modes. It’s optimized to deliver maximum performance and security in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands. This makes it easier for IT teams to support the needs of more users, more user devices, IoT devices, and applications that are straining the limits of existing Wi-Fi networks.
Of course, the bigger and more complex the network, the more difficult it is for an already overburdened IT team to manage it. To keep people and devices connected and working as efficiently as possible under any circumstances, IT teams need the ability to quickly and easily adapt the network to meet changing connectivity, productivity, and operational efficiency requirements.
Cloud Managed, AIOps-Powered Platforms Simplify Network Management
With a cloud-based network management platform, IT teams can ensure their wireless network is always ready to support an ever-increasing number of devices running data-heavy, cloud-based applications. Obviously, the platform needs monitoring and configuration capabilities. But to simplify network management for an infinite enterprise that provides secure, reliable, and efficient connectivity to all users at scale and at any time, it must also leverage machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to reduce the day-to-day maintenance and support load.
ExtremeCloud IQ Cloud Services Platform is engineered to provide that single, unified view of wired and wireless networks that IT teams need to optimize enterprise wireless networks. This Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering enables IT teams to manage and analyze the network edge, campus, and data center to ensure all Wi-Fi 6/6E network elements are always providing the most efficient network experience. And the platform’s ML and AI capabilities deliver the network and operational insights needed to reduce the management workload.
ExtremeCloud IQ CoPilot simplifies Wi-Fi 6/6E wireless network management for the always-on network needed to enable the infinite enterprise. This AIOps offering for Extreme Cloud IQ acts as a trusted digital advisor for cloud-managed Wi-Fi networks. Using AI, ML, and real-time data analytics, it leverages the operational data that is already in the network to detect network issues, identify causes, determine their potential impact on users, and recommend solutions. With this AIOps capability, IT teams can proactively reduce wireless network risks and provide the fastest time to the best experience for all applications, devices, and users, wherever they are.
Exceed User Expectations and Optimize Wireless Operations
Ultimately, Wi-Fi 6/6E wireless network upgrades paired with AIOps-powered cloud-managed networking provide enterprises with everything IT teams need to meet and exceed user expectations of their wireless networks. Wi-Fi 6 and 6E enable IT teams to take connectivity to the next level with faster, more reliable, and more secure wireless access, capacity, and coverage, which can improve productivity and deliver more operational efficiency. And AIOps cloud-managed networking capabilities enable IT teams to unlock data from previously untapped network insights to identify location, app usage, and workflow patterns that can be used to deliver a more personal experience for end users and improve operating efficiency.
Contact a Cloud Expert to find out how ExtremeCloud IQ and ExtremeCloud CoPilot can help you enhance the performance of your Wi-Fi 6/6E wireless network.