The healthcare industry is trying to change how it supports its WiFi 6E networks. Increasingly, new types of devices are being added to this complicated landscape, from telehealth devices, connected guest devices, and healthcare sensors. As a result of the proliferation of devices, attached rates and data transmitted over the network have increased dramatically.
For a wireless network to succeed in an environment like this, it is imperative to plan carefully, handle the spectrum sensibly, and use tools that minimize interference. WiFi 6E adds a 6GHz spectrum to support growing wireless needs, which has drawn the attention of many in the industry.
What is WiFi 6E?
WiFi 6E, or “E (extended) WiFi”, uses the 6 GHz frequency band; unlike WiFi 6, which uses only 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, WiFi 6E and 6 GHz represent WiFi’s most significant capacity leap to date.
WiFi 6E will enable a wide range of innovations in enterprise environments by providing fewer congestion points, broader channels, and increased bandwidth for the next generation of devices.
650 Group predicts that WiFi 6E will be widely adopted in a couple of years; more than 350 million devices will support 6GHz by 2022. WiFi 6E enterprise wireless access points will grow by 200% in 2022.
Ingrained Information Technology Challenges in Healthcare
Healthcare campuses and acute care hospitals are the epitome of congested and high-traffic environments that are constantly changing. According to healthcare technology leaders, WiFi 6E can alleviate many of the problems associated with large healthcare environments. WiFi 6E has a number of benefits, including its ability to handle high-density RF environments with multiple devices/users in one place.
Campuses at hospitals are multi-device environments, with mobile staff and guests and the noise of other technologies. There is an increase in the number of mission-critical devices, IoT devices, and BYOB devices that consume data, which results in resource contention and sluggish performance. What could be the impact of this? Devices and applications that are not fully functional, inadequate user experiences, and a lack of innovative IT staff contribute to poor health outcomes.
Is WiFi 6E feasible for healthcare?
Improving efficiency leads to better care:
As devices connect to a network and share data, the batteries often run low. Everything shuts off prematurely, making it unsuitable for mission-critical (if not even life-critical) environments. With clinicians relying more on devices, Target Wake Time (TWT) provides a shortcut to longer device life; unexpected device shutdowns cause interruptions in the care of patients and/or in overall efficiency.
Improving Performance and Simplifying Use:
Creating 6E-capable hardware helps reduce congestion in 2.4GHz/5GHz bands for better wireless performance for all devices and users. The new 6 GHz band can only serve high-performance devices initially, resulting in a cleaner and more stable RF environment with WiFi 6E. As a result, medical imaging, video, analytics, and documents can be transferred more quickly, with better voice calls and videoconferencing capabilities. As a result, physicians and hospital administrators will not face delays in downloading or impeded communication.
Better performance means Better innovation!
In comparison to WiFi 6 APs, WiFi 6E could provide 2.5x faster throughput. MRIs, ultrasounds, and radiographs can be sent in larger files to deliver better telemedicine. The WiFi 6E protocol offers more robust security and also supports WPA3. With increased capacity, efficiency, and safety, WiFi 6E will enhance digital transformation in healthcare IT, making it more suitable for IoT and other client devices.
With the implementation of WiFi 6E in the enterprise, the wireless network gateway is likely to return. Early WiFi clients used APs to connect old devices that didn’t have radios to the internet. With WiFi 6E, legacy medical devices can be updated wirelessly. Wireless 6E can make APs into patient monitoring devices so that mission-critical apps can communicate with them.
Hospitals don’t have to purchase new radios at 6 GHz. WiFi 6E can be used by healthcare organizations with WiFi infrastructure to improve coverage for specific applications. New facilities should be equipped with WiFi 6 right from the get-go. The upgrade process gets tiresome. WiFi features improve with each generation. Spectrum, however, remains vital. The next decade and beyond will be dominated by WiFi at 6 GHz. As this spectrum becomes available, we’ll see new trends emerge.