With many of today’s students bringing an average of eight or nine devices to campus, it’s no surprise that the latest Educause survey shows nearly all students rate laptops and smartphones as very important to academic success. As mobility expectations and device densities continue their precipitous ascent, higher education institutions are now exploring infrastructure adjustments that will help them keep up. If you’re among those considering your options, here’s what you need to know about Wi-Fi 6.

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What is Wi-Fi 6?

Having anticipated today’s device realities, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) began working on the successor to 802.11ac in 2014. Originally dubbed 802.11ax, the standard is also now known as Wi-Fi 6. Access points (APs) built upon the Wi-Fi 6 standard are on the market and higher ed deployments are already underway.

Concurrently, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry association that owns the “Wi-Fi” trademark, began developing the accompanying certifications that ensure interoperability and security among mobile product manufacturers. Its Wi-Fi Certified 6 program is slated for availability in the third quarter of 2019, meaning your institution will likely see the first wave of certified Wi-Fi 6 devices on campus after winter break in the coming academic year.

About the Author:

Dorothy Stanley is an HPE Fellow and head of standards strategy at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. She currently chairs the IEEE 802.11 Working Group and the IEEE 802.11REVmd Task Group. Stanley has also chaired the IEEE 802.11REVmc, 802.11REVmb and IEEE 802.11v Wireless Network Management task groups. For the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), Stanley has served in numerous leadership roles and is currently chair/vice-chair of the location and security task groups. Prior to joining Aruba Networks in 2005, Stanley was a Consulting Member of the Technical Staff at Agere Systems for Wavelan products and a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

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