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  • Diane Rydzewski

Happy 2020 ! Industry Predictions

What Will Happen with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G? Our 2020 Predictions

What is the big deal about Wi-Fi 6 and 5G? They do not represent brand new breakthrough technologies. Wi-Fi and cellular service have been around for a good long while. But the upgrade from previous iterations marks a significant turning point. Data speed and volume will be significantly enhanced, and latency will be further diminished, all of which mean a great deal in the world of AV.

So what can you expect from these two beefed-up data transmission technologies? Here are our predictions for the impact these highly anticipated, major enhancements of existing tech infrastructure will bring for the coming year.

Wi-Fi 6

First, a quick reminder of what Wi-Fi 6 is. It is the newest version of the 802.11 standard for the wireless network transmissions we call Wi-Fi.

The main thing to understand about Wi-Fi 6 is that it will allow devices, particularly routers, to transmit Wi-Fi signals more efficiently.

Wi-Fi 6 has been on the horizon for some time. Manufacturers have been baking Wi-Fi 6 support and compatibility into products since late 2018 in anticipation. The promise, of course, is better, faster internet connectivity. It is meant to create solid, reliable connectivity when many devices are being used at the same time.

Prediction 1: Wi-Fi 6 will make BYOD More Seamless

With BYOD culture along with so many company-owned wireless devices being used in offices, Wi-Fi 6 should make everyone’s life a lot easier. Right now, routers are being taxed to capacity, but with Wi-Fi 6, all the devices people need to use should have room on the network.

Since Wi-Fi 6 routers will be able to pack more information into each signal they send, they'll be able to communicate with devices faster and more efficiently. Access points can be dispersed throughout a given location and service all of them with a single transmission.

Prediction 2: Wi-Fi 6 Will Create a Clearer Path for IoT Expansion

The increased speeds will be great, but similar to the story with BYOD, it is capacity will be greatly enhanced when it comes to Wi-Fi 6 impact on IoT.

More smart devices and functions like lighting, audio, and other features will be able to work well on the same network. As more day-to-day functions of a typical office go online, things like beam tracking microphones and sound systems are added to a network. Wi-Fi 6 will handle the added volume of devices and functions needed for 2020 offices to function.


5th generation cellular technology (5G) is solving similar problems but on the cellular side of the equation. Along with greater speed, users can expect lower latency, and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once.

With 5G, data transmitted over wireless broadband connections could travel at rates as high as 20 Gbps exceeding wireline network speeds—as well as offer latency of 1 millisecond or lower. Latency has been among the biggest challenges in wireless tech for AV integrators, so if the promise conforms to the hype, this is big news.

5G will also have increased available bandwidth to keep pace with the ever-increasing volume of data transmission demand.

Prediction 3: A Frictionless AR VR Experience

High-tech storytelling is a need being met by AV integrators in sectors like museums and location-based entertainment.

With low latency, reliability and, yes, higher speeds, 5G will be great for AR/VR applications. Bandwidth and signal strength will not be dealbreakers when clients are designing a new exhibit, or developing a group AR/VR based game that takes place over a large footprint of space.

As an AV integrator, sometimes you have to bring big ideas back into reality. With 5G, the roadblocks will come down in implementing clients’ big ideas and grand-scale projects.

Prediction 4: 5G Will Enhance Remote Work

The work-from-anywhere benefits of all sorts of wireless technology will continue to be enhanced with the advent of 5G.

Being able to connect over distance to collaborate on projects is fantastic. But when video calls freeze up, or a convener is left wondering if a remote team member is still “with us,” that is a problem. 5G might not mean the absolute end of such issues, but they will be significantly reduced.

Prediction 5: 5G and Wi-Fi 6 Will Offer a Larger Range of Solutions to AV Challenges

So while both offer similar solutions—increased speed and bandwidth coupled with lower latency, this gives AV and IT pros some choices in customizing a solution for a specific challenge. For remote collaboration, 5G will offer big solutions. For in-house speed and data volume management, Wi-Fi 6 will be the logical choice.

Because more is being demanded of AV infrastructure at all levels of business functionality, we predict 2020 to be a year when our clients celebrate the breakthroughs--just before asking what is the next big breakthrough.

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