WPA3, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G - what are the key benefits for businesses?

Connectivity and data are essential to the make-up of any business. With these, security and efficiency are, in parallel, hot topics working their way up the agenda for many businesses.

As we prepare for the next generation of cellular connectivity, the future of business technology – and the opportunities new developments will create – are cause for excitement. First and foremost, there is WPA3 – the latest Wi-Fi security standard that is revolutionising a more secure internet connection in all its forms. As internet connections become faster and more agile, more and more business is conducted online. Companies must be able to trust these systems to provide high-quality security to reliably protect data.

In addition, the influx of new technologies such as Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will provide a growth in opportunities for business. With the increase in rapid Internet speeds and high bandwidth efficiencies, coupled with increased security, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are set to drastically change the ways we experience connectivity, how we do business, and how we stay connected while in the outside world.

With so many new developments in play, what do these technologies actually have to offer? How do they work? And what impact will their introduction have on current and future commercial needs?

WPA3 for business
The roll-out of WPA3 is the latest and most important part of a continuously evolving certification programme that aims to improve Wi-Fi security standards. It is set to be vital for product design for Wi-Fi technologies moving forward, for the simple reason that it provides a great deal more security than its predecessor WPA2 – which is known to be universally compromised.

WPA3, on the other hand, will deliver improved authentication, increased security, and improved resilience in Wi-Fi networks. Businesses can expect more consistent security controls, creating a clearer picture of their network. Plus, with WPA3, data travelling wirelessly across a Wi-Fi network is protected – which means access to the internet, even publicly, is much safer, simpler and more reliable.

WPA3 will simplify how consumers and businesses alike connect to the internet on a day-to-day basis, especially as pressures increase to ensure sufficient levels of security are in place to protect their digital assets. WPA3 allows IT managers to deploy security and policy tools to enterprise Wi-Fi networks, including Wi-Fi 6 networks and ensure more consistent and stronger authentication.

WPA3 will be key for large scale spaces, such as stadiums, and other public spaces where multiple devices regularly connect to the same Wi-Fi network at any one time. It will play a role in making these environments more secure as the number of devices connecting to a single network increases. An important example is the rise of IoT devices connected to a shared network, whether in a business environment or in the smart home.

Luckily, enterprises can already upgrade software in currently deployed Wi-Fi networks to include WPA3. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6, for example, already requires the latest generation of Wi-Fi security which will become mandatory in summer 2020.

What advantages does Wi-Fi 6 bring to businesses?
From the increasing number of IoT devices in the office, to more complex network systems, the ability to ensure high-performing connections to secure Wi-Fi is fundamental. The advances in Wi-Fi security with WPA3 will benefit everyone from small and medium sized businesses to large enterprises, especially as they make the move from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 will offer four-times better wireless performance in dense or congested areas, compared to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and offer 30% faster network speeds. Users can expect increased network efficiency, and more importantly, lower latency made possible by the next generation Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). This allows APs to centrally schedule data transmission, and divide frequencies so that data can be channelled to and from multiple clients at the same time. This essentially provides more bandwidth; enabling more avenues of connection for access points to communicate along, and in turn support additional connected devices on the network.
This update drastically improves access to internet in high demand spaces and venues. It also means that outdoor Wi-Fi deployments will become much more reliable and provide faster internet access. The next level Wi-Fi protocol will provide multiple benefits for businesses, from offering enhanced security to supporting specific areas of business such as customer experience, where providing faster Wi-Fi for customers results in a positive brand experience. On another level, Wi-Fi 6 can support business efficiency while helping to reduce network and device costs, allowing businesses of all sizes to embrace increased connectivity.

What about 5G?
Although there is some overlap in the technologies used by 5G and Wi-Fi 6 – such as MU-MIMO for example – the two are distinctly different. 5G is a wide-area network (WAN) and is designed for cellular data, IoT application and other exterior connections. Set to be a game changer over the next decade promising rapid speeds and amplified bandwidth, 5G will use existing mobile data frequencies in different ways. 5G will enhance connectivity through a new range of higher frequency bands and will also offer significantly increased data rates and a viable alternative to fixed-line broadband.

In addition, 5G will offer incredibly low latency and transfer large amounts of data at high speed – ushering in a wide range of new opportunities; from generating new products, services and industries, to remotely helping small businesses to become more productive and competitive. The new technology will continue to power digital transformation especially in manufacturing industries and industrial environments – this trend is already seeing a shift in adoption of private cellular networks.

Some brands and businesses are already enjoying and making the most of the latest and developing technology, for example those in the online grocery retail space. Ocado, a British retailer is one of these; the UK based company has maximised its own platforms, specifically designed to sort and fulfil orders on an enormous scale, which it runs on a customised LTE network. We can expect to see private 5G networks opening up more opportunities such as these, making them accessible to a wider market proposition.

New 5G technology will also enable simpler and faster deployment of security systems and will benefit the creation of smarter cities, connecting urban infrastructure to improve quality of life.

How better, safer connectivity will shape tomorrow
As different sets of protocols and standards evolve, the internet becomes a more efficient and altogether safer place – allowing businesses to build a more sustainable future with complete connectivity, speed, mobility, and most importantly with improved security standards. As an international technology leader, D-Link is harnessing these technological advancements to build reliable and secure connectivity solutions, enabling a more dynamic and resilient future for businesses around the world.

5G coupled with Wi-Fi 6 has the potential to change the way we live and work; remote working will become easier with superfast broadband and improved connectivity as well as security, with work-life balances improving as a result. WPA3 will provide stronger embedded security, giving businesses more peace-of-mind in the knowledge that connections are safer and more resilient. With more flexibility and security, the possibility for business owners to run businesses almost anywhere, at any time, is becoming more and more achievable.

Neil Patel, Director European Marketing and Business Development

A highly-regarded voice in the networking industry, Neil Patel has spearheaded D-Link's European Marketing and Business Development for nearly a decade.