2023 and Beyond: Wi-Fi Alliance Says All Roads Lead to Wi-Fi 

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, 2023 is set to be a transformational year for Wi-Fi. The industry is expected to see new use cases, innovation and plenty of opportunities for growth. Needless to say, our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit are excited about what’s to come! 

Despite socio-economic disruption on a global scale, the progress of Wi-Fi has raced ahead in recent years. In fact, is there a wireless technology that has advanced faster than Wi-Fi has recently? We’d go as far as to say probably not. 

To further get to grips with the Wi-Fi trends and see the opportunities all mapped out, head to the Wi-Fi Alliance’s recently released blog

The great thing about Wi-Fi is that its wireless arsenal keeps growing, which in turn leads to more opportunities for innovation and growth. 

Wi-Fi and Matter

One of these recently added wireless standards is Matter. Wi-Fi is an intrinsic part of the new Matter standard for IoT. We’ve blogged before about Matter and its role in Smart Home standards. We can see that 2023 will be the beginning of an interoperable smart home era. You can read more about Matter from the Wi-Fi Alliance’s stance here

Wi-Fi and Matter go hand in hand perfectly. Matter offers the interoperability, and the Wi-Fi delivers standardised and secure IP-native connectivity for IoT devices across the board. 

Most use cases will be supported, and whilst it will begin with smart home IoT, future years will see it expanding into industry and enterprise spaces. 

Wi-Fi HaLow

Last year we also saw a bit of a breakthrough with Wi-Fi HaLow. This is still little known so if you’re wondering what is Wi-Fi HaLow –  It operates in the 900MHz band, offering twice the range, a more robust connection and greater power efficiency than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It’s known as IEEE 802.11ah and you’re likely to see more of it in 2023. 

It’s actually been defined as a Wi-Fi standard and certificated by the Wi-Fi Alliance since 2026, but after financing on a large scale in 2022, the first Wi-Fi HaLow device was launched at the beginning of this year. The device was a security camera purported to have obstacle-penetrating signal and battery life able to last years. 

We’re really excited to see what’s more to come from Wi-Fi HaLow – Keep your eyes peeled!

Wi-Fi and the Expansion of the 6GHz Band

Another leap forward in the world of Wi-Fi in 2022 and set to continue this year was the acceleration and global adoption of the 6GHz band. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, this new band is available in 60 countries with more than 1200 Wi-Fi 6E devices launched in commercial markets. 

For industries that require Wi-Fi for stadiums, arenas, campus networks and healthcare, the market for Wi-Fi 6E is set to expand. Due to their need for high-density connectivity applications and support, we’d expect to see Wi-Fi 6E become a big part of these networks. 

However, despite there being 1200 Wi-Fi 6E devices (according to Intel) not all of these commercially available devices are Wi-Fi Certified. This is an integral part of Wi-Fi as an eco-system so we’d expect to see more products on the market with Wi-Fi certification. 

Wi-Fi and Location Based Services

Location Based Services are also worth a quick mention when talking about Wi-Fi innovations and things to keep an eye on during 2023. 

As with most things Wi-Fi, a lot of effort goes into constantly developing and improving the devices and standards available on the market. 

These improvements and innovations in 802.11 standards-based tech will mean that Wi-Fi based location services will be driven down to as small as 10cm accuracy in the future. 

Watch this space! 

How 4G / 5G Can Keep Railway Networks Connected

4G and 5G mobile broadband technology could be just the answer to the issues that arise from more traditional railway networks. 4G/5G can offer a more reliable connected railway system, allowing strong communication between different devices and employees. Thus, improving the user experience for both potentially frustrated colleagues trying to stay in control of routine maintenance and discouraged commuters put off from making their journey as a passenger. 

A 4G/5G connected railway network can connect trains with other devices and equipment as well as providing links to tracks, stations and operations providing a unified network with clear communications. 

What are the benefits of 4G/5G connected railways? 

As you can imagine, there are many benefits of using 4G/5G to connect railway networks. 

Maintenance

For technicians, engineering managers and other train maintenance staff, a connected system within the units themselves can help shed light on any future or potential problems with that particular unit and ensure timely maintenance before a breakdown occurs.

A railway network connected with 4G/5G may even find that their operational costs lessen through improved communication and streamlined processes. 

Revenue Opportunities 

Having reliable connectivity on trains opens up new revenue streams. Many passengers rely on a strong connection whilst travelling to continue with work, especially in this digital age of hybrid working. 

The more reliable the internet on your rail network, the better the user experience will be for passengers, which will in turn increase the likelihood of repeat travellers. 

Commuters may have a choice in how they get to where they’re going – Whether that’s rail, bus, driving, cycling or walking. If sitting on the train, connected to a reliable network, means that they can tie up any loose ends from their day before getting home then that could be just the reason they choose rail. 

Why do we need 4G/5G connected stations in our railway networks?

A fast, reliable 4G/5G network at our railway stations offer more efficient service and enhanced security. 

Efficient Service

Digital kiosks can help to reduce queues and offer passengers a quick way of buying their tickets when they are in a rush and don’t need any additional assistance. High speed 4G/5G networks ensure that these digital kiosks can get relevant updates in real-time, checking arrivals and departures status. 

Enhanced Security

4G/5G video surveillance means rail networks can monitor and track any suspicious behaviour anywhere on the train station or depot premises – Even without wires or Wi-Fi / ethernet connections. 

The 4G/5G network can transmit the data anywhere it is needed, providing timely monitoring and interventions where necessary. 

This type of data is invaluable for railway managers who can analyse what is collected from different locations and use these insights to improve operational efficiency, safety and the passenger experience. 

4G/5G Connected Trains

Passenger Experience

Not only do 4G/5G connected trains improve the passenger experience, they also open the door for more revenue opportunities. Selling data plans to your passengers and offering them access to reliable 5G Wi-Fi hotspots on trains means commuters can connect their mobile devices and laptops to a strong, reliable internet connection for the duration of their journey. 

Operations

The more reliably connected the train is, the more efficient the operations. 

Operations managers can effectively monitor the status of trains in operation by relying on accurate, real-time GPS tracking. Likewise, train operators can communicate with operations if any issues arise. Various colleagues on the railway system connected to the same reliable 4G/5G network improves communications.

Particular parts of the train can be fitted with sensors that are connected to the network. This means that the technology itself can communicate with the maintenance teams and notify when that part needs to be repaired or replaced. This helps to reduce the costs associated with delayed or cancelled trains due to unscheduled maintenance and improve service. 

Using smart cameras connected to the 4G/5G network means that train security can rely on high-speed wireless communication, particularly in locations tricky to monitor or wire to. They automatically record footage as well as identify potential suspicious activity and provide alerts to members of staff. 

Why Use 4G/5G for Connected Railway Networks?

4G/5G networks offer an ideal model for railway networks as they offer super-fast speed, low latency and reliability. 

It’s important to ensure that the 4G/5G connection available will be stable and of good quality. This is where 4G/5G testing comes in. 

Here at Geekabit we can provide 4G/5G mobile signal testing to check coverage and performance both in static locations and on the move. We can also determine which Mobile Network Operator would offer the best coverage for your user location(s). 

Geekabit can carry out a 5G survey along London roads, parts of the capital’s transport network and throughout leisure facilities in London and the surrounding areas. Other locations may be available on request, please feel free to contact us on info@geekabit.co.uk.

In today’s world, we don’t just stay in one place – Even while we’re working. We take our need for connection wherever we go – And it needs to be strong and reliable. Gone are the days where we are tethered to a desk – We need the 5G mobile coverage to be available on the go. Whether we are using a smartphone, tablet or other internet enabled device, we need to stay connected – And we need to know that the signal will be strong and reliable. 

Geekabit’s 5G survey can tell you how strong the cellular coverage is in certain areas of London, and which networks would work best for those locations. This information is invaluable.

SpeedScore by Geekabit

Your internet speed has never been so important. Connectivity is as important as electricity, water and gas to a home or business. Decisions are made based on the speed you can offer, yet connectivity is often overlooked until it’s too late.

House buyers, tenants, hospitality customers and even employees are getting more tech savvy and starting to ask questions about internet speeds and reliability.

With a decade of providing connectivity solutions to UK markets, we have launched our innovative Internet Connectivity Measurement Platform.

SpeedScore by Geekabit gives you a variety of tools to help provide an independent certification of your internet speeds and connectivity.

Most internet speed tests are not accurate, as they become affected by the use of Wi-Fi, old devices and different test endpoints. You can’t expect them to provide the same results test after test due to a variety of factors.

Our hardware and software is different, resolving these issues and providing a balanced and independent view. We have no affiliation with any connectivity provider or hardware manufacturer, allowing us to create a truly impartial scheme based on scientific measurement and reporting.

Who is SpeedScore for?
Perfect for Estate Agents looking to prove internet connection speeds in properties for sale, landlords looking to provide accurate broadband measurement for potential tenants, and hospitality hosts giving confidence to those looking for a connected stay.

What does SpeedScore include?
The core platform consists of the SpeedScore ConnectBox – plugged directly into your broadband router (available for purchase or hire) and the SpeedScore Platform and App. You can show live scores within your own online marketing, provide exportable reports and download certificates to provide an independent and balanced view from our experts.

Prove your internet speed and connectivity status, when and where you need it with SpeedScore by Geekabit.

We have limited availability for the first rollout of our platform, and are looking for a final few customers for our initial shipping batch. If you would like to take part, please email .

What’s Different About Wi-Fi 6?

Wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Wi-Fi 6? If you’re questioning what the differences are and whether it’s worth making hardware device changes, then read on.

The next generation of wireless standard is here (actually, it’s been here since the end of 2019). Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax has the following main differences:

  • It’s faster
  • It provides better performance in congested areas (think anything from your own device-packed home, to stadiums)

We know it informally as Wi-Fi 6 – Wi-Fi versions have now been assigned simple numbers to replace the more complicated code-like names that we saw before.

What are the Wi-Fi Version Numbers?

The new Wi-Fi version numbers are much more user friendly, but for the fellow geeks among us, here are what the new version numbers correspond to, plus (whilst not being officially branded) what all of the old versions would have been.

Wi-Fi 1 – 802.11b (released in 1999)

Wi-Fi 2 – 802.11a (also released in 1999)

Wi-Fi 3 – 802.11g (released in 2003)

Wi-Fi 4 – 802.11n (released in 2009)

Wi-Fi 5 – 802.11ac (released in 2014)

Wi-Fi 6 – 802.11ax (released in 2019)

You might start to see these newer version numbers appear in software when connecting your smartphone, tablet or laptop, to enable you to see which Wi-Fi networks are newer and faster. This is what the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that they would like to be seeing across networks. It’s worth noting that it isn’t mandatory for manufacturers to label their products with Wi-Fi 6 instead of 802.11ax, but we’re hopeful that most will. Re-naming products from 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 5 might be another matter though!

Wi-Fi That’s Faster

As with most technological advances, the latest development in Wi-Fi standard is faster in terms of data transfer speeds. In comparison to Wi-Fi 5, a Wi-Fi 6 router would provide one device with up to 40% higher speeds.

What Makes Wi-Fi 6 Faster?

The reason Wi-Fi 6 can achieve such faster speeds is due to more efficient data coding which thus results in higher throughput. Basically, the radio waves are packed with more data. With each Wi-Fi standard, the ability for the chips to encode and decode the data gets more powerful, hence why Wi-Fi 6 is faster than Wi-Fi 5, and can handle extra work.

You may be aware that we have 2 frequenceis used for networks – 5GHz and 2.4GHz. 5GHz is more commonly used as it is subject to less interference, however 2.4GHz is still a good option for being able to penetrate solid objects. Wi-Fi 6, the new standard, even increases speeds on these 2.4GHz networks.

How Will Wi-Fi 6 Affect the Battery Life on my Device?

Many Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices will have a new ‘target wake time’ feature. This means that an access point can define a specific set of times when devices connected to the internet need to have access to the wireless network. This new efficiency should mean that your Wi-Fi enables devices should have a longer battery life.

Let’s take your smartphone, for example. When the AP is talking to your phone, it can tell it when to put it’s Wi-Fi radio to sleep and when to wave it up to receive the next transmission. Because your device can spend more time in sleep mode, you should find your battery lasts longer.

It also means that devices that connect via Wi-Fi with lower power can benefit from longer battery life.

Wi-Fi That Performs Better in Crowded Areas

We know there hasn’t been much opportunity for it as late, but picture trying to get online at an airport, hotel or live event at a stadium. When an area is as congested with devices as these, you can suffer with slow Wi-Fi and even struggle to connect.

Wi-Fi 6 tackles just this problem. With new technology, superior to previous Wi-Fi standards, it’s purported that Wi-Fi 6 will improve the average speed of each user by at least 4 times. Even in crowded areas with lots of devices.

This isn’t just something that will benefit you when out in public places – It could be a huge help in your home as well. If you have a large family all with multiple devices connected to Wi-Fi, then this could be just the solution to stop the slow-down. Or perhaps if you live in a densely populated place, like a block of flats.

How Does Wi-Fi 6 Tackle Congestion from Multiple Devices?

There are various features that help Wi-Fi 6 better tackle the problem of heavily crowded networks. Just knowing that a Wi-Fi 6 device connected to a Wi-Fi 6 access point will work better may well be enough for you!

For those who want all the geeky details, here’s what’s going on to make Wi-Fi 6 better for networks with multiple or many devices.

Wi-Fi 6 technology is able to create a large number of sub-channels within one wireless channel. Date intended for each individual device can be carried by each sub-channel. This technology is called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). Essentially this means that a Wi-Fi 6 enabled access point can talk to more devices at once.

Wi-Fi 6 also has improved MultipleIn/Multiple Out (MIMO). Again, this lets the access point talk to multiple devices at once through multiple antennas. The difference between this and Wi-Fi 5, is that while the latter enabled an access point to talk to multiple devices at the same time, it couldn’t allow the devices to respond at the same time, thus slowing things down. The new improved MIMO on Wi-Fi 6 is a multi-user version (MU-MIMO) which enables devices to respond to the access point at the same time.

Let’s look at another potential scenario. Wireless access points that are locating close to one another may transmit on the same channel. This means that the radio needs to listen and wait for a clear signal before it can reply. Wi-Fi 6 uses spatial frequency re-use which allows you to configure Wi-Fi 6 wireless access points with different Basic Service Set (BSS) colours, which consists of a number between 0 and 7. The device can then determine whether a particular channel has a weaker signal, and thus ignore it and transmit without waiting. This is another way in which Wi-Fi 6 will improve wireless performance in congested areas.

These are just a couple of the improvements to be seen from the new Wi-Fi 6 standard. There are many more, smaller enhancements which will improve the speed and performance with Wi-Fi 6.

How Do I Know If Something has Wi-Fi 6?

Luckily, thanks to this handy article, you’re now familiar with all the technical names of the different Wi-Fi standards, so you’ll know exactly what to look for. Right? Don’t panic! We’re only kidding. Thanks to the new versions, it’ll be easy for you to find devices that are certified Wi-Fi 6 (rather than hunting around for 802.11ax!). Device manufacturers are able to say whether their product is Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5.

You may also start to see a logo saying ‘Wi-Fi 6 Certified’ on relevant devices. This means that the product has gone through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification process. The old Wi-Fi Certified logo simply told you it was Wi-Fi Certified, rather than what generation of Wi-Fi a product was. The new logo will make it clear if it is Wi-Fi 6. So there will be no need for trawling through product specifications!

When Can I Get Wi-Fi 6 Enabled Devices?

The new Wi-Fi 6 standard was finalised in 2019, with hardware being released in the latter part of the same year and into 2020. So you should be seeing Wi-Fi 6 enabled products in the market now. It’s shouldn’t be something you need to put too much thought into – As new routers, smartphones, tables and laptops are released into the market, they will just start to come with this new Wi-Fi 6 technology.

It’s worth remembering that to benefit from the improvements on the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, you need both the sender and receiver devices to support this latest generation of Wi-Fi 6. Whatever the connection, it will only operate in the mode that your device supports. For example, you may have a Wi-Fi 6 enabled router, a Wi-Fi 6 enabled smartphone, but a laptop that only supports Wi-Fi 5. You’ll see the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 on your smartphone, but the laptop will only work at Wi-Fi 5 capacity.

The Wi-Fi Lifecycle: How to Boost Wireless Performance at Every Stage

Managing a wireless network is a non-stop task. A wireless network is a lifecycle – It is constantly moving through the processes, and every stage gives you the chance to troubleshoot and optimise your Wi-Fi.

What is the Wi-Fi Lifecycle?

If you are responsible for deploying a Wi-Fi network and then doing the ongoing management, then you will likely be familiar with the stages you see throughout this process. It starts with the wireless network design, and then continuing maintenance, optimisation and troubleshooting, which can lead you back to those design stages. To ensure that your wireless network reliably performs at its optimum levels, you need to understand these stages and equip yourselves with the right tools.

Let’s have a look at each stage of the Wi-Fi Cycle.

Wi-Fi Design

First up, it’s design. Do not skip this step. It’s so important for your wireless network to carry out surveys and design according to the results. You likely won’t get a high-performing, reliable Wi-Fi network without doing this stage properly!

Designing your wireless network gives you the opportunity to translate the Wi-Fi needs of your business (or home) in a way that meets or exceeds all of your requirements. Do not just deploy and hope for the best – Wi-Fi is a vital first stage in any wireless network deployment.

If you’re not sure where to start, then get in touch with us here at Geekabit. Our Wi-Fi experts have all the knowledge needed to carry out a Wi-Fi survey and use the information identified to design a high-performance wireless network that provides reliable Wi-Fi for your business-critical applications. For more information on Wi-Fi surveys and what they entail, you might like to read this blog.

Network Validation

Once you’ve got your Wi-Fi network designed, taking things into consideration like walls, end user requirements, positioning, high footfall areas etc you need to validate it. The aim of this stage is to make sure that your Wi-Fi design behaves in the way you have predicted it to.

Using AP on a Stick technology, you can test out the locations for access points in your design and make sure that things like capacity and coverage are what you expected. This stage is also a bit of a safety net to catch any possible sources of interferences that didn’t pop up in your survey or design stage, for example differences in wall materials.

This stage is also vital if you want to make sure your network will be successful before complete deployment, saving you valuable time (and money) later on fixing problems. If you’re having to run new cabling, you really want to make sure that all your access points and antenna are in the best locations first.

You may find yourself returning to this stage multiple times. Perhaps you identify some potential issues with access point placing which sends you back to the design stage. You’ll find yourself re-validating those changes. Remember, this is a constant process and you will go through the Wi-Fi lifecycle time and again.

You don’t just validate post-design – You will also need to validate your network following its deployment. But hopefully, having done an initial design and validation stage, you will find your network running at its optimum performance for your end users.

Wi-Fi Optimisation

So you’ve designed your network, validated it and went ahead with deployment. Surely that’s it done? We’re afraid not! Even if your network seems to be working well and providing reliable Wi-Fi to your users, it’s something that needs constant monitoring and maintenance in order to optimise the Wi-Fi your business provides.

This isn’t a quick process or ‘box-ticked-next’ sort of stage. Continuously monitoring and tweaking your Wi-Fi network allows your to react in a timely manner to any changes. Perhaps you have an increase in staff members, or a rise in multiple device usage. Maybe there are physical changes made to the building, a reshuffle of office layout or a warehouse with wildly fluctuating inventory.

The Wi-Fi Optimsation stage allows for proactive wireless network improvements to be made for any known impending changes. Constant monitoring also enables a reactive approach to any adjustments that need to be made due to reported issues from end users.

Carrying out regular RF surveys of your Wi-Fi network will provide you with data that becomes invaluable when it comes to making adjustments and troubleshooting issues.

There may be times when a change of requirements is too large for just a few tweaks here and there, which will send you back to the design stage in order to create a new deployment.

Network Troubleshooting

No one wants Wi-Fi woes in their office if they can help it. Disgruntled employees that are complaining of slow Wi-Fi aren’t just demotivated and unproductive – They may not even be able to carry out business-critical tasks. If your business depends on reliable Wi-Fi, then you need to make sure your wireless network meets requirements by following the stages mentioned above.

But unfortunately, there will be times when issues slip through the net. Troubleshooting is probably the most stressful stage of the Wi-Fi Lifecycle. Everyone knows how frustrating it is to have dodgy Wi-Fi, and nobody wants to be on the receiving end of those complaints.

Thankfully, with the right tools you can keep these incidences to a minimum, ensure swift implementation of fixes and get straight back to the optimisation stage. Spectrum analysers are a big help during the troubleshooting process by helping identify Wi-Fi strength and interference.

 

Wi-Fi Design – Yes, we’ve gone full circle!

The nature of wireless networks is everchanging. Requirements change fairly regularly with the needs of the business. Sometimes these will be small, quick fixes and sometimes they will require complete re-design and deployment right from the beginning of the Wi-Fi lifecycle.

Luckily for you, you now know the process – Wi-Fi Design, Wi-Fi Validation, Network Optimisation and Troubleshooting.

 

Whichever stage your wireless network is currently in, Geekabit can help ensure your business Wi-Fi is high-performing and reliable for your end users. For more information or to discuss your requirements, get in touch with out one of our Wi-Fi experts today.

UniFi vs Meraki vs Aruba

If you’re in the market for a bit of wireless kit then you’re rather spoilt for choice nowadays. Whilst it’s great to have a choice of products, it does beggar the question, how do I choose the right wireless product for my business?

Some of the big players when it comes to wireless network products are Ubiquiti, Meraki and Aruba. But which one is right for your specific deployment? Let’s have a look at them one by one.

Ubiquiti Network Wireless Products

We’ve spoken a lot about Ubiquiti and their range of wireless products – They are a firm favourite with our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit. Ubiquiti provide a range of wireless networking products including access points, wireless controllers, antennas and wireless bridges. Whatever your Wi-Fi requirement, they’re likely to have a product solution.

Product Portfolio

  • Ubiquiti have the product range to meet a complete enterprise network
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

The Benefits for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • They are easy to deploy and use
  • Lots of features
  • One intuitive User Interface to make the human-computer interaction as simple as possible
  • Unbeatable value

The Benefits for Enterprise Networks

  • All access points, switches and routers are easy to manage from one Use Interface
  • It has central management capabilities and troubleshooting
  • It is straightforward to use for network admin staff, with no certification needed
  • Cloud and on-premises management available
  • Very high access point performance
  • Good HD Wi-Fi control capabilities

The Benefits for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • They can provide arena access points with integrated high gain antennas
  • One access point can have up to 3 5GHz client serving radios
  • Multi 5 GHz radio access points save in installation and cabling costs
  • Outstanding performance in a high traffic environment

User Experience

  • Quick and easy deployment with no licenses required
  • A single, intuitive user interface for all Ubiquiti elements with secure remote access
  • It’s easy to expand the network if and when needed without additional licenses
  • They provide free support (without needing a support agreement) plus a community of Ubiquiti users for extra support, buffered by Ubiquiti employees

Price-point

  • The price-point for Ubiquiti wireless products is low compared to other brands, offering fantastic value for money

Meraki Wireless Products

The Meraki MR series from Cisco delivers Wi-Fi 6 access points, faster access point deployment, simplified administration, and richer visibility.

Product Portfolio

  • Meraki have the product range to meet a complete enterprise network
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

How it Fares for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • They are easy to deploy and use
  • You have to pay a subscription fee, which renders the product useless if not paid
  • It works well for smaller businesses and enterprises, apart from it being expensive
  • For better prices, you need to commit to several years and pre-pay

How it Fares for Enterprise Networks

  • It is easy to deploy and use cloud infrastructure
  • There is no on-premises option
  • Performance falters with high traffic
  • Ongoing licensing is expensive

How it Fares for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • There are no capabilities specifically targeted to venues of this size or type
  • For focused radio frequency, external antennas are required which will incur extra costs and will need mounting
  • There are no multi 5 GHz radio products, and RF tuning capabilities are weak
  • HD Wi-Fi performance is weak

User Experience

  • Quick and easy deployment but a lack of flexibility may cause problems
  • Licensing is required, but all features are included
  • It has a single, intuitive user interface
  • Support services are available from Meraki, but a service subscription is required. Without it there is no support
  • Additional support is available at an additional cost

Price-point

  • The price-point for Meraki MR wireless products is high compared to other brands, with licensing and subscription fees pushing it up.

 

Aruba Wireless Products

The range of Aruba Access Points deliver a fast, reliable Wi-Fi solution with great performance levels and a boost to network efficiency. They will also support the growing mobile and IoT density demands on your network.

Product Portfolio

  • Aruba have most of the product range to meet a complete enterprise network need
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

How it Fares for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • Controller based products can be difficult to deploy and use
  • Instant access points lack features unless you have other Aruba products such as Aruba Central or Aruba AirWave licenses
  • Aruba Central has a good cloud-based product for small to medium sized business, but it is very expensive

How it Fares for Enterprise Networks

  • Large configurations can handle large networks
  • The base product is a traditional single tenant hardware controller which can make it difficult to deploy and use
  • For adequate reliability, you will need redundant controllers which are pricey
  • The Aruba instant access points are not sufficient for larger enterprises or multisite premises
  • Aruba Central provides a cloud alternative but uses separate licenses for features. This means that you may require additional licenses for future functionality which could prove very expensive
  • The ongoing admin of handling expiring licenses is time consuming

How it Fares for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • As with Meraki, for focused radio frequency with Aruba products, external antennas are required which will incur extra costs and will need mounting
  • There are a maximum of 2 5 GHz radios per access point
  • The Aruba multi 5 GHz access points have filtering
  • HD Wi-Fi performance is weak

User Experience

  • Deployment is difficult, with added complexity of ensuring you have the right licenses which can be time consuming
  • Depending on the products used, you may require multiple user interfaces
  • Expanding your network or adding new features may require additional licensing and subsequently more costs
  • Aruba does provide support within a 90-day product failure warranty. Additional support after that requires a paid support agreement. If you don’t pay, you don’t get support

Price-point

  • The price-point for Aruba wireless products is lower than Meraki but medium compared to other brands. As with Meraki, the costs involved with licensing and subscription fees with Aruba pushes the price up.

 

Still not sure what wireless products you need for your network?

If you’re unsure what wireless products would be suitable for your network – Whether it be small or arena sized – Our Wi-Fi experts would be happy to chat through the options. Our experienced Wi-Fi engineers can match the right wireless network products with your requirements to get you the most reliable Wi-Fi possible. Let’s strengthen your connections today – Get in touch now.

Amplifi Alien – The New Wi-Fi 6 Router from Ubiquiti

In this week’s blog we’re going to take a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 router from Ubiquiti – The AmpliFi Alien. With attractive performance features, this router could be great for a busy household working and learning from home as well as the intrepid gamer.

This Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router brings a revolutionary Wi-Fi 6 benefit into your home along with an elegant design.

What are the key features of the AmpliFi Alien?
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatible
  • It has a scalable mesh system. This is great for gamers! The Wi-Fi 6 standard Mesh system can easily cover any home, providing 4K/8K UHD streaming and online gaming to multiple users in any room
  • It has true Gigabit mesh
  • An 8×8 super antenna system
  • You could get up to 4 times your current network capacity (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Boost your coverage by up to twice your current network (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Reduce battery drain in mobile devices
  • It has 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios
  • From this single unit, they deliver a total capacity of 7685Mbps and 16 spatial streams
  • Build a virtually unlimited Wi-Fi capacity within your home by easily meshing multiple units over the air
  • It has a convenient touchscreen which displays the network status and provides instant controls
  • The AmpliFi Alien has a single Gigabit internet interface and internal power supply
  • It is integrated with a LAN switch with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • You can use Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity and the LAN ports for local wired connectivity
  • It takes just one minute to set up using their easy-to-use app.

 

What performance features could make the AmpliFi Alien a good choice for remote working and home learning in a device heavy household?

There’s a lot of households across the UK that are suddenly finding themselves in a network nightmare at home. Families where both parents are working from home, plus multiple children doing home learning lead to multiple Zoom / Microsoft Teams / Google Meet video conferences all needing to happen at the same time. And this can cause some big issues with internet and Wi-Fi. The AmpliFi Alien has some performance features would be enticing for anyone currently in this predicament.

  • The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien is optimised to provide your home network with the highest possible performance – Irrespective of how many users or devices are connected at the same time
  • The AmpliFI Alien can eliminate dead spots and increase the total capacity in your home network by 4 times through utilising MU-MIMO and OFDMA for communication across 12 Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams
  • Got a video meeting you just cannot have interrupted by lag or loss of video? The AmpliFi Alien has 5Hz radio with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) speeds which you can choose to dedicate to performance critical devices
  • Using the above features can help you to avoid competing for bandwidth with any other devices on your home network
Sounding good, but worried you don’t have the technical know-how to set something like this up?

The AmpliFi Alien comes with the AmpliFi App – A simple app that allows you to set up your network in just a minute. It’s user friendly yet full of controls and statistics to enable you to configure the AmpliFi Alien for your environment.

For more information and detailed specifications on the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, head to their website.

What other products are in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi range?

The AmpliFi Alien is the latest router that Ubiquiti have added to their extensive range of Wi-Fi products. You can find out more about their range of products by heading to their website, plus see real-life reviews of how Ubiquiti AmpliFi products have changed home networks for the better including all the stats.

 

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited to see the AmpliFi Alien in action!

 

 

4G Broadband and the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular Router

If you live in a rural area, you may know only too well how slow the BT Openreach service can be. And we all know how frustrating patchy Wi-Fi can be, especially when so many of us are currently relying on it for work, home learning and socialising.

We’ve had quite a few clients recently that have asked us to install 4G broadband as a more reliable alternative to the slow BT Openreach service they’ve had previously.

The really great thing about 4G broadband is that we can use our equipment to test whether it will work for you before fitting any kit.

It’s becoming a more popular choice for home Wi-Fi networks, so we thought we would share with you our top product for 4G broadband installations – The Teltonika RUT950 4G LTE Wi-Fi Dual-SIM Router.

 

What’s it all about?

Here’s where we’re going to get technical. To skip past the tech jargon, scroll to the next section where we explain why the Teltonika RUT950 is our preferred choice for 4G broadband installations.

This industrial cellular router can be used both as a backup in-case your normal broadband fails, or as your main internet source. It guarantees a reliable internet connection with high data throughout (the amount of successfully moved data, usually in Mbps) and data redundancy (permits the correction of errors).

Connectivity

  • 4G/LTE (Cat 4), 3G, 2G.

 

WAN Failover

  • Automatic switch to available backup connection.

 

Wi-Fi

  • Wireless Access Point with Hotspot functionality. This router can support upto 100 simultaneous connections. Perfect if you’re currently a family of 2 working parents sitting on Zoom calls with 2 teenagers needing to be on virtual lessons via Teams! You can also balance your internet traffic over multiple WAN connections.

 

Dual Sim

  • With auto failover, backup WAN and other switching scenarios. If one SIM has a weak signal, reaches its data limit, has no network or network is denied, the data connection fails, or the SIM becomes idle, the router will automatically switch to the other SIM to limit disruption to signal. Custom data limits can be set up for both SIMs.

 

Ethernet

  • X4 Ethernet interfaces with VLAN (Virtual LAN) functionality. Ethernet adaptions can come in really handy, especially at the moment when households are fighting over their connection.

 

RMS

  • Compatible with Teltonika remote management system, which makes for simple and secure monitoring by us, for you and your network.
  • RutOS is a unified operating system that works across all of the Teltonika Network routers. Being powered by RutOS makes this cellular router highly secure and easily customisable.

 

Security

  • Unlimited configuration and pre-configured firewalls. WPA2 Enterprise (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Still considered the gold standard for wireless network security). Attack prevention. Mobile quota control.

For more detailed information and the complete specification on the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router, you can head to their website.

 

Why is this product our preferred choice?

This 4G router enables us to have remote access to the network. This means that should any problems arise, we can provide support to our clients from where we are, rather than having to go to their premises.

The Dual-SIM functionality means that there is a backup should one of them fail, giving the client resiliency and reliability.

The units are powered by an operating system called RuTOS. This interface, a little bit like the way you use your smartphone, means that the manufacturer can send through newsletters and updates when new features have been added to the operating system.

Essentially, it’s a really powerful bit of kit, and well trusted by our Wi-Fi experts and engineers.

If you are struggling with a slow BT Openreach connection and would like to find out more about 4G broadband, head to our website. Or you can give our Wi-Fi experts a call and we can chat through whether 4G would be a good option for you.

Optimise Your Home Network for Remote Learning and WFH

Got network issues at home? Haven’t we all. Suddenly the majority of households are relying on their Wi-Fi a lot more.

 

Many of us are now working from home – We’re sat on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom. Video calls for work aren’t the only thing clogging up your network – Odds are you’ve also got children sitting on virtual lessons, learning remotely.

We’ve gone from using our broadband to stream movies, scroll social media, send some emails and play games to families all using the bandwidth at the same time for multiple video conferencing all at once. Plus all those leisure activities on top!

So what can we do about it?

Understand Your Bandwidth

Here’s a little metaphor for bandwidth, in case you’re not familiar. Imagine you’re drinking through a straw. If you’re slurping on a diet coke, then it’s a simple suck. If it’s a milkshake you’re drinking then you’re either going to need more suction, or a bigger straw. Coke is speedy, milkshare can be slow.

If you’re sending a quick text-based email, it won’t need much bandwidth. If you want to press play on a 4K video and watch it immediately, then you’re going to need a bit more bandwidth.

Right now, with Zooms and other video conferencing taking centre stage in our home networks, we’re needing both upload and download bandwidth. For effective video conferencing you need both upload and download bandwidth capacity (you’re watching and transmitting video at the same time so you need Mbps both up and down).

Try doing a speed test (upload and download). To handle 2 or 3 Zooms at once, you’ll need around 11Mbps upload speed. Yo can also talk to your ISP to check how much upload bandwidth you have on your current plan. .

What Is Your ISP Giving You?

The more capacity you have, the bigger your bill will be.

If you are really struggling with your network, then consider chceking your plan with your ISP, and if needed, upgrade it to include more upload bandwidth. It’s also worth noting that you should also make sure that your ISP is capable of delivering these bandwidth promises. Most speeds to vary and are rarely guaranteed.

You may also want to check whether your ISP is ‘throttling’ you. If you are using (or trying to use) too much data, they may be restricting how much milkshake gets through your straw by biting on the end of it. Sometimes there is the option to pay a fee to stop them throttling you.

QUICK TIPS
  • Check your plan with your ISP
  • Consider upgrading bandwidth, if possible
  • Check you’re not being throttled
  • Check if your ISP offer dedicated fibre lines to each house or whether it’s shared between a cluster of homes

What If You Can’t Upgrade Your Plan To Get More Bandwidth?

Sometimes it’s not as straight forward as just upgrading your plan. It may be too expensive, or it may not even be possible in your location. Thankfully there are some things you can control within your home.

Let’s think about the devices that may be taking up bandwidth, but may not be needed all the time.

  • Smartphones – If you’re working on a video call or doing remote learning, then you probably don’t need your phone. It’s always doing things in the background. Switch them to Airplane mode when they’re not being used, or you know there are several of you trying to use video.
  • Smart TV’s – Let’s face it, Netflix and productivity don’t really go hand-in-hand (unless your Toddler is watching it while you work!). Any TV’s that are not in use, need to be powered down (not in sleep mode).
  • Wi-Fi enabled smart devices – Our homes are full of these nowadays. Anything using WI-Fi and running in the background can be switched off to try and save as much bandwidth as possible.
QUICK TIPS
  • Create a video schedule for your family and try where possible to avoid conflicts (both online, and offline…)
  • Schedule back-ups and auto-updates for during sleep time
  • Ban Netflix etc at capacity-critical times

What if none of this helps much – What then?

Consider Getting Wired

There is another way to optimise your home network – And that’s to run wires with ethernet cables.

A wired connection is always going to provide you with more reliability. It’s usually faster than wireless too!

We’re not suggesting installing wires all over your house – The situation we find ourselves in currently is only temporary. But if you’re happy to run cables along your skirting boards for a couple of months then great!

QUICK TIPS
  • If you can work close to your router then you can keep costs down by using a simple and relatively short ethernet cable from router to laptop.
  • If there’s no improvement when wired in, consider checking if your router is working how it should be.

For more ways to troubleshoot Wi-Fi problems at home, check out our previous blogs. You might find these ones particularly helpful!

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

When Should I Use an Ethernet Cable?

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

The importance of being well-connected in 2020 is continuing into 2021 – No surprises there!

This week has seen the nation face another complete lockdown, with the majority of primary and secondary school pupils back to remote learning from home.

But what about all the families that can’t afford internet at home, or don’t have enough data for their children’s home-learning needs?

If you are home-schooling but can’t afford broadband or the additional mobile data needed to meet remote learning requirements, you may be able to get government assistance.

Under a new temporary scheme, schools, trusts and local authorities are able to request an increase in mobile data for those children and young people who meet the criteria.

Disadvantaged children can get help to get online via free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers. These will be provided by the Department for Education and can be applied for by schools, trusts and local authorities.

What is the criteria for getting help with internet for remote learning?

Schools, trusts and local authorities can ask for support if each of the following applies:

  • Your school is experiencing disruption to face to face education
  • You are responsible for disadvantaged children who do not have access to the internet at home
  • Your school has been invited to order laptops and tablets
How can I increase my data allowance on my mobile phone to use for remote learning?

On certain networks, this temporary scheme allows mobile data to be increased. The mobile ohone can then be used as a hotspot so that other devices can also connect to the internet, helping to aid young people to access remote education, if their face-to-face learning has been disrupted like so many have.

This support is available to all schools with children in years 3 to 11 and is currently available on the following networks

  • Tesco Mobile
  • EE
  • Three
  • Smarty
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Sky Mobile

You can find out more information on how to ask for a mobile data increase by clicking here.

What if increasing mobile data isn’t an option?

In some cases, increasing mobile data may not be a viable option. In these situations schools can request 4G wireless routers.

Schools, trusts and authorities in England can ask for 4G wireless routers for:

  • Disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11
  • Who are experiencing disruption to face-to-face education
  • Who do not have internet access at home

More information on how to go about ordering a 4G wireless router through this government scheme can be found here.

 

The government website has plenty of information regarding internet access for remote learning and how to go about requesting support for these needing access: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/internet-access

 

If you already have internet in place, but are finding that it’s not quite working well enough for the online lessons, maybe one of our previous blogs can help.

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

Access to the internet has never been more important than now – For social interaction with friends and family, team meetings on Zoom and virtual lessons on Microsoft Teams and Google classrooms.

Here at Geekabit we know it’s so imperative that we stay connected. You might not need the government help, but could do with getting your home Wi-Fi up to scratch. Or perhaps you’re intrigued about 4G mobile broadband and want to know if it’s right for you – Please get in touch and our Wi-Fi experts will be happy to help.