May 13 2024

5 Questions about Wi-Fi 6E for Healthcare Workflows

To meet the demands of healthcare’s connected environment, organizations need to make sure their networking infrastructure can handle the pressure.

Wi-Fi 6 (formerly 802.11ax) brought faster wireless connections, increased network capacity and better security. But as healthcare requirements for throughput, bandwidth and reliability continue to grow, providers can look to Wi-Fi 6E to meet these needs.

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1. Why Are Networking Upgrades Important in Healthcare?

Healthcare relies heavily on Wi-Fi for rapid, seamless access to patient records, histories and diagnostic images. With the rise of virtual care, providers depend on uninterrupted connections. Modernizing this vital infrastructure not only enhances performance and reliability but also improves security, helping to protect sensitive information from cyberthreats.

2. What Are Wi-Fi 6’s Current Capabilities?

Wi-Fi 6 is a high-efficiency protocol designed to support multiple devices and data streams. In healthcare’s congested, high-traffic settings, Wi-Fi 6 provides 9.6 gigabits per second of bandwidth, partitioned among devices, and is backward compatible with earlier standards. It also provides strong encryption to protect against security threats.

3. How Does Wi-Fi 6E Extend Those Capabilities?  

By opening an additional frequency band for wireless communication, Wi-Fi 6E extends the capacity of Wi-Fi 6. This means many more available channels, reducing congestion and interference, and leading to better performance. As Extreme Networks explains, “It’s got more speed and bandwidth than the previous generation, and it’s not backward compatible, which means fewer bottlenecks from slower traffic.”

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4. What Are the Challenges of Moving to Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E requires routers and devices that support the expanded protocol. In addition to purchasing this new hardware, Wi-Fi 6E networks are more complex and need to adapt settings in real time. Rather than perform tuning manually, look for solutions that can tune and optimize channels automatically, such as Juniper Networks’ Mist AI.

5. How Can Wi-Fi 6E Support Healthcare Workloads?

Healthcare will benefit from Wi-Fi 6E in many ways. Among the improvements, according to Cisco: fewer delays when sending very large files, such as radiography and ultrasound images; higher-quality virtual care and videoconferencing sessions; and increased use of extended reality devices. Wi-Fi 6E tackles the issue of devices competing for bandwidth and improves security for healthcare via mandated WPA3 security.

UP NEXT: Understand Wi-Fi 6E and the future of networking.

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