New Technology Innovations Every Business Should Tap Into
We’ve been deep in this new realm of remote work for more than a year now. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, GoToWebinar and virtual whiteboards are our daily norm.
While software tools often get all the glory because of impressive user interfaces, fun virtual backgrounds and a constant flow of new features, let’s not forget about what powers those tools — hardware.
I’m here to pull back the curtain on several tech innovations that will make your organization’s remote users more efficient than ever.
Our home Wi-Fi has gotten a heck of a workout during the pandemic. With parents relying on Wi-Fi to juggle eight Teams meetings per day, and the kids using it for online school and video games, a solid Wi-Fi connection is pure gold.
With all this remote work, what innovations have been made in Wi-Fi?
Well, a new technology (okay, newish) called Wi-Fi 6 is here. This actually surfaced pre-COVID but it’s slowly getting rolled into new equipment like wireless routers, wireless access points and wireless receivers in cell phones, laptops, etc.
But what exactly is Wi-Fi 6? To answer this, we need to know a little more about Wi-Fi as we know it today.
Today’s Wi-Fi is pretty good, but did you know most wireless units can only handle traffic for one device at a time? Yep. So, if you have 30 wireless devices on your wireless network, when a device requests information, the wireless access point responds to it, then responds to the next device requesting information, and so on. This normally happens at lightning speed, so you don’t realize what’s actually happening in the background.
Allow me to get in the weeds a bit for IT directors and business owners who love to know how technology works, then I’ll get back to plain English.
There are some other things like 2.4 and 5 GHz radios that are independent of each other, but each radio is still handling one request at a time. Other companies have added additional radios to their units to allow for more sequential requests, and there are other technologies like MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) but most of that is based on single user modes (SU-MIMO).
So, what makes this new Wi-Fi 6 so different?
Wi-Fi 6 utilizes MIMO, but it gives it an upgrade and puts it on steroids! Wi-Fi 6 will now utilize Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output or MU-MIMO. This is used today, but currently it’s limited to communicate with four devices at one time. Wi-Fi 6 will allow it to communicate with up to eight devices simultaneously. This, coupled with orthogonal frequency division multiple access or OFDMA for short, will allow one transmission to deliver data to multiple devices at once. So OFDMA coupled with new MU-MIMO means even more devices talking more efficiently at once.
Err … in English, please.
Imagine you’re in a room and you’ve got dozens of people talking to you at once. Your brain can’t process all the questions and conversations. Nor can you give answers to all these people at once. This is kind of how wireless works today, except dozens of people are lined up in a queue. With Wi-Fi 6, imagine there are eight of you linked together through some crazy Syfy neural link network talking to these people at once. Makes the questions and answers go a little more quickly, right? This is the benefit of Wi-Fi 6.
This, coupled with the new WPA3 security, which is already available but still not widely adopted, will make Wi-Fi traffic faster and more secure.
Remote Access Points
Now, with new technology innovations, we introduce remote access points.
Your users’ laptops know your work’s Wi-Fi network and hop on as soon as they see it. Convenient, right? Too bad your employees have to be in the office for this to happen.
Well, not anymore!
New technological advancements allow your IT department to configure a wireless access point (to be sent home with you), which will broadcast your business’s wireless name, and that same device then auto-magically creates a secure VPN tunnel back to the office, allowing users access to all work resources! This happens when your users connect their laptops to this access point. No more VPN connections on your employees’ laptops — it’s all handled by the access point.
There’s a whole lot of configuration work your IT department needs to do ahead of time to make this happen seamlessly, but now, it can be done.
We’re all familiar with the VPN on our laptops to get us connected back to office resources, but what, if any innovations have been made here? Well, enhanced security in the encryption protocols, but really that’s about it.
Put It All Together
Take Wi-Fi 6, WPA3 encryption, a remote access point with secure VPN tunnels and put them all together. Now you have seamless, fast and secure work from home wireless options that are super easy for your users and (if configured) allow you to tunnel back all traffic through corporate firewalls to ensure security policies are being enforced for user safety and compliance.
Does all this talk of Wi-Fi 6 and WPA3 encryption have your head spinning?
Contact us online or call 410.685.5512 to learn how you can create a safe and secure remote workplace for your team.
About Joshua Beitler
Josh monitors, updates and troubleshoots network and server systems for clients. He works primarily in Windows Server, Microsoft Office and Office 365 environments, but also has experience with automated network monitoring and data backup solutions. Outside of work, Josh is a wine enthusiast. His technology background resulted in Josh creating an app to log the different wines he’s sampled.