Mar 31 2021

3 Tips to Take Advantage of Wi-Fi 6

These steps can help you optimize your use of new features offered by powerful wireless networking solutions.

The wireless industry is always moving forward technologically, and Wi-Fi 6 represents the latest leap in networking performance. Launched by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the 802.11ax standard has spawned a new generation of compatible devices from manufacturers worldwide. This equipment can deliver numerous benefits to healthcare organizations, which typically maintain complex infrastructures. Here’s how to get the most from your Wi-Fi 6 investment.

1. Leverage Higher Networking Capacities With MU-MIMO Technology

Multitasking is a common networking challenge. As numerous devices join a network, performance may degrade. Heightened chatter on a network stresses older equipment, but Wi-Fi 6 hardware deals better with this stress. One Wi-Fi 6 router can communicate with eight devices simultaneously, thanks to multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology. Networking capacity for Wi-Fi 6 equipment is four times greater than for Wi-Fi 5.

In healthcare settings, large facilities contain hundreds if not thousands of wireless devices, such as computers, wearables, scanners, mobile devices and medical devices. Each Wi-Fi 6 access point can handle more devices, improving connectivity and quality of patient care. Seamless collaboration and access to medical information saves lives. Wi-Fi 6 also improves the visitor experience by allowing family members to share medical updates more effectively.

2. Take Advantage of Wider Channels and Data Density

Hospitals produce staggering amounts of data that is shared across their wireless networks. Wi-Fi 6 routers have doubled the width of the channels through which they distribute network traffic, from 80 megahertz to 160MHz, compared with previous wireless standards. That means easier transfer of videos, medical imaging, analytics and documents. Administrators and physicians won’t have to contend with slow downloads or stunted communication with cloud services.

1024-QAM, another significant technology, allows 25 percent greater data throughput, boosting performance while enabling better, real-time patient monitoring.

READ MORE: See how the VA is using 5G in hospital settings.

3. Unlock Improved Care Via Battery Efficiency

Wi-Fi 6 employs Target Wake Time (TWT) to boost device battery life. Each connected device (or client) periodically “wakes up” to share data and check in with the network. When this happens too frequently, it can sap batteries of energy prematurely.

As clinicians increasingly adopt mobile devices, they need to extract every ounce of battery life to keep them focused on patients. Unexpected shutdowns can interrupt patient care or disrupt automated controls across a facility. Thankfully, TWT allows connected devices to sleep more deeply, and for longer periods. That significantly slashes battery consumption and keeps everyone in the loop.

oatawa/Getty Images