5G vs. Wi-fi 6 – Will 5G replace WIFI or co-exist to transform wireless connectivity?

08/10/2020

With all the media coverage surrounding 5G technology, we are often asked whether 5G will replace Wi-Fi as a connectivity solution for enterprise customers or could they co-exist?

What is 5G? What is Wi-Fi 6?

5G and Wi-Fi 6 are next generation radio communication upgrades from 4G and Wi-Fi 5 respectively and with the use of additional technologies and new infrastructures, they both promise substantially higher speed connections. The most obvious difference between the two technologies is the way they are used. Without the use of any technical jargon, Wi-Fi is primarily used indoors, for instance within a home, office or a coffee shop, whereas 4G/5G has a much wider connectivity range and can be used both indoors and outdoors when connected to devices with a 4G/5G enabled SIM card.

How robust are your systems? How safe are your people, your clients and ultimately, your company? It is a sad fact that most threats that cripple a business are erroneously enabled by employees falling for phishing scams, clicking links to malicious or compromised sites or mistakenly responding to spam.

Which technology is better?

The debate centres around whether each technology will merge into a single radio network or follow their own roadmap as they have for many years. One of the main reasons that both technologies could coexist is the fact that there are millions of connected Wi-Fi only devices already deployed. With Wi-Fi 6’s higher speeds, lower latency, increased capacity and some power efficiencies in battery usage, enterprises can protect the investment they have previously made in the technology as it is backwards compatible with earlier Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi costs less to deploy, maintain and is able to serve more users in home and business environments. This is especially beneficial in the new age of remote working and Wi-Fi 6 can provide high-speed connectivity for multiple data-hungry devices in a confined area.

On the other hand, 5G will no doubt become the mobile technology of choice in the coming years for outdoor networks and high-speed mobility. However, for 5G to reach its full connectivity range, there is still a need to build more 5G masts which means it’s not an immediate answer to high speed connectivity. It will be a number of years before it provides the coverage that users and enterprises would want and come to expect. However, as and when 5G is launched to the masses (instead of metropolitan areas), the potential is limitless with connected cars, smart city deployments, or large-scale manufacturing operations.

Can they co-exist?

Historically, hackers target large organizations. Statistics show smaller organizations are becoming increasingly in scope. Perhaps cybercriminals think small businesses have fewer controls in place and might be easier and quicker to infiltrate……

As Wi-Fi and cellular wireless technologies continue to evolve at the similar pace, we believe that Wi-Fi 6 can and will coexist with 5G. Both technologies are designed to solve the increasing need for more bandwidth, lower latency and massive device support for a multitude of connected devices. Most excitingly, both technologies will power Internet of Things and businesses can choose which wireless technology will best fit their needs without compromising on capacity and speed. These two technologies, far from being rivals, can help businesses solve real-world connectivity challenges and can continue to cater to users’ specific needs.

Our network specialists at Virtu Consulting has been advising businesses on 5G and Wi-Fi 6 advancements. If your business would like to join in the conversation on your future connectivity options, come and have a chat with us.

To find out more about 5G or Wifi 6 get in touch with Virtu at info@virtuconsulting.co.uk