MiMo Technology – What is it and why do I need to know about it?

If you are planning on using an external antenna for your LTE broadband connection then MiMo Technology might be something to consider looking into first.

There are many factors that could affect your LTE broadband when using an external antenna, and MiMo is one of them.

If you’re already using an external antenna for LTE broadband and are experiencing lower download speeds than you thought, then read on. It might be just a case of poor reception, but there could be other factors too.

What is MiMo Technology?

MiMo means multiple in/ multiple out.

LTE is a multi-stream radio service so uses MiMo technology. Another example of MiMo Technology is 11n Wi-Fi.

One of the improvements in performance that you get from LTE is that it uses multiple data streams to and from the end client. The more streams of data that the client can take, the faster the broadband, just like 11n Wi-Fi.

The terminology used for MiMo as in 11n Wi-Fi is TxR, where T expresses the number of streams being transmitted, and R is the number of streams that can be received over the connection.

So, for example, if something supports 2×2 streams, then it can support twice the upload and download speed of a 1×1 device.

LTE offers devices from 1×1 up to 8×8, with mixtures in between.

For each radio stream, a client device needs to have an antenna. So for a 1×1 device, you would just need one antenna. To support a 2×2 service, you would need two antenna, etc.

This means that the number of streams a single connection can support depends on the capabilities of the service providers masts and the radio capabilities of the client device.

Just 5 years ago, you would have just seen LTE dongles and routers being supplied as 1×1 devices. Now however, tech has moved on (as always) and almost all dongles, phones and routers now support dual stream capabilities.


So if you are planning on using an external antenna for your LTE broadband connection then make sure that the number of antenna you have supports the TxR for your device(s), and also that the mast can support the number of antenna that you need.

Do You Offer Friendly Wi-Fi?

Have you heard of Friendly Wi-Fi? If not, then you are bound to start seeing their logo around soon.

Wi-Fi is quite literally everywhere you go – Not just a ‘nice to have’ but an expectation, wherever you are. The Friendly Wi-Fi symbol lets you know that the public Wi-Fi being provided has the necessary safety filters to protect people from harmful online content, especially young people.

Providers that proudly show the Friendly Wi-Fi symbol are showing that they care about your online experience. Most providers will already filter to a certain standard, but once they have been approved by Friendly Wi-Fi, you know that their service is enough to block pornography, child sex abuse images and videos and any web pages known to the Internet Watch Foundation.

Initially by the government, this safe certification standard for areas of public Wi-Fi is especially useful where children are present.

At home, you can put all of your security measures in place to make sure that the young people of your household cannot access inappropriate material online. But can you be so sure when out and about and using public Wi-Fi? Well, with the Friendly Wi-Fi symbol you can. If their symbol is displayed, then you know for sure that they are certified and your, and your children’s internet experience is safe.

If you’re reading this as a business that offers public Wi-Fi and are wondering how you can go about getting certified yourselves, you’ll be glad to know that it’s pretty straight forward.

In most cases your Wi-Fi provider will already filter to a level that matches Friendly Wi-Fi’s certification standards, and where it doesn’t, they can advise you what you need to do so that your Wi-Fi filters do meet their standards.

Once you’re certified, you can proudly display the Friendly Wi-Fi symbol in your business as well as your online presence, so that your customers and Wi-Fi users can be safe in the knowledge the internet is a safe space using your connection.

So as well as giving your users another layer of trust to your services, you can feel good knowing you are protecting young people from potentially harmful online content by operating in a responsible way.

So to be ahead of the crowd you could consider getting certified now. Friendly Wi-Fi are very quickly becoming the standard operating level of service for public and guest Wi-Fi providers. So why not have the symbol that the public will be looking for?

For more information head to their website: https://www.friendlywifi.com/be-an-approved-venue




Why Could Access Points Be Better for your Business Wi-Fi?

Home Wi-Fi set ups and business Wi-Fi set ups are very different, particularly if your business has a large office with heavy traffic.

At home, you can pretty much plug in a router and go, and you shouldn’t encounter many problems. But it’s not quite as simple for office environments. For the smaller business space, a router and range extenders might do the job, but for other, larger offices with more people accessing Wi-Fi, you typically be needing to utilise access points.

Here we’ll be taking a look at the features of both so you can see which the best Wi-Fi solution for your business would be.

What is an Access Point?

An access point is a nifty little device that enables you to connect an area of the business, e.g. Reception, to the Wi-Fi even if the router is out of range. Via an ethernet cable, the access point connects to a wired router, switch or hub, and can then project a Wi-Fi signal to your designated area, in this case Reception. In an office or large building, access points create a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

What is a Range Extender?

At the start we mentioned range extenders. So what are they? Well, the clue is in the name. They quite literally lengthen the range of an existing Wi-Fi network. Unlike access points, range extenders connect to the router wirelessly, so rather than being able to be placed in the actual dead spot, they need to be placed still in range of the router. A situation where you might use this is in a multi-storey building. If your router is in the basement, then the range might extend to the first floor but not the second, so you could put a range extender on the first floor where there is still a connection, to lengthen the range to reach the second floor as well. .

Which is Better for Businesses?

While a range extenders might sound like a great solution to your Wi-Fi woes and easy to set up, they are only great for home Wi-Fi networks rather than offices. Unfortunately, their efficiency in a modern business environment is very low due to only being able to support up to 20 devices at one time. With employees generally carrying 3+ wireless devices on their person at any given time, it’s easy to see how in a business environment the network can quickly become saturated. A range extender might extend the range of a Wi-Fi router, but it doesn’t increase it’s bandwidth so could actually end up weighing down your connection if too many devices are attempting to connect simultaneously.

In contrast, access points are a much better option for business environments and large offices. Each access point is able to support 60+ simultaneous connections each, and because you can install them throughout the building, your Wi-Fi users can freely roam the building without passing through any dead spots and thus not having their connection interrupted. Devices are able to connect to access points seamlessly without dropping a connection between each one, so no connection disruptions.

With internet an increasingly important tool for businesses, in many cases vital for business operations, it is really worth investing in a well design Wi-Fi network for your business and access points are definitely the best option.

Wireless Access Points – The Advantages

As we’ve just explained, a Wireless Network that can only support up to 20 devices can quickly become saturated – If every employee has 4 devices (e.g. desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet) then after just 5 employees in your office, you’re potentially going to start running into difficulties. Access points being able to support 60 simultaneous connections each is a huge advantage, but that’s not the only reason why they could benefit your business. Other ways access points can enhance your business network:

  • Thinking about how they would be installed? If you use a business-grade access point, then they can be installed anywhere you can run an Ethernet cable to. With newer models you can also avoid having to install a power outlet or running a power line as they are compatible with Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) which is a cord combo of Ethernet and power
  • Worried about security and guest access? There are additional standard features including Captive Portal and Access Control List (ACL) support which mean that you can limit guest access and manage users within your Wi-Fi network without compromising on security.
  • Wondering how multiple access points could be easily managed? There are some access points that include a Clustering feature. This enables an IT Administrator to view, configure, deploy and secure an entire Wi-Fi network from a single point rather than single, separate access point configurations.


If you’re sat there thinking that access points could be the solution to your business Wi-Fi needs, then give on of our Wi-Fi experts a call here at Geekabit. We work out of London, Cardiff and Hampshire and our engineers are ready to get your Wi-Fi network surveyed, designed and installed. You can get in touch with us here:

London: 0203 322 2443
Cardiff: 02920 676712
Hampshire: 01962 657 390


Wedding Wi-Fi

Planning your wedding?

Nowadays it’s not necessarily all about the traditional church and reception at a venue nearby. We are seeing more unique, innovative weddings where couples design their entire day around their own personal preferences.

From civil ceremonies in the woods, to partying the night away in a teepee on a vineyard estate, the only limit is your imagination.

But do these quirky venues have the Wi-Fi you’ll need?

With the rise of social media sharing, comes the trend of the wedding hashtag. Everyone (or almost everyone) shares their everyday moments with friends, family and followers with their social media following. And weddings are no exception. People want to take photos at weddings – The beautiful bride, the cute ring bearer, the gorgeous place settings, the pretty lights, the romantic atmosphere. All of these beautiful moments are just crying out to be shared on the likes of Facebook and Instagram. And more and more couples are opting for their very own #WeddingHashtag to collect all the fan photos from their big day.

But what if the Wi-Fi fails? What if their wedding guests take all these photos but can’t share them? It’s not the same adding a string of tipsy dancy videos the morning after the night before… Could no connection could lead to mass hysteria and frustration?

You might be thinking, if you’re opting for the tepee on a rural vineyard estate then you’ll have to let go of the idea of Wi-Fi and wedding hashtags. Well… Not necessarily. That’s where Geekabit and our Wedding Wi-Fi comes in.

Nowadays, people generally assume that they should get a wireless connection anywhere, anytime, even in the strangest, most remote of places. This seems to apply double for events, including weddings, where guests do tend to expect the wireless signal to be strong and reliable. When things are working fine, you won’t hear a cry or a moan, but if it dares run slow, or shock horror, fails altogether, you’ll certainly hear about it.

Whether you’re opting for a hotel reception or a fun-in-a-field kind of soiree, Geekabit can ensure that your Wedding Wi-Fi meets your needs.

Our passion is keeping you connected, so you can keep yours for your new husband or wife

All events depend on excellent communication and weddings are no exception. We are avid suppliers of reliable internet access for a whole host of events, big or small, and with some prestigious UK event names under our belts, your Wedding Wi-Fi is safe in our expert hands.

One of our specialisms is building temporary internet for anywhere between a handful of users at the most intimate of weddings, to thousands of guests worthy of a festival. We can provide Wi-Fi across sites from a few metres to covering thousands of users.

Even if you have a more traditional wedding planned, even the most established of hotels can’t always be trusted when it comes to Wi-Fi, especially if you are expecting hundreds of wedding guests.

If you are relying on your guests to share their experience of your wedding online using a wedding hashtag, then don’t rely on your venues Wi-Fi. Let us ensure that your Wi-Fi remains reliable throughout, so you have a story of your perfect day to cherish forever from all of your closest friends and family members.

We have a team of experienced Wi-Fi engineers who are experts in building temporary Wi-Fi networks for all kinds of events, including Weddings. Working across London, Cardiff, Hampshire and throughout the UK, we can ensure your wedding guests stay connected on one of the most important days of your life.

We would be delighted to discuss your special day and advise what Wi-Fi solutions we can provide for your wedding. Give us a call on 0203 322 2443 (London), 02920 676712 (Cardiff) or 01962 657 390 (Hampshire).


What’s Satellite Broadband and Why Is It Good for Rural Areas?

You might hear satellite and think space-age, but satellite is used for all kinds of things – One of which is broadband.

So firstly, what is satellite broadband?

It’s actually pretty self-explanatory. Satellite broadband is a broadband connection via a satellite.

Instead of plugging in a router, you require a satellite dish and a transmitter attached to your home. These connect to a satellite that orbits the earth in sync with the earth’s rotation – In other words, it always stays above the same place. The satellite can then transfer data to and from your dish, and then to and from the provider’s central hub on earth, which connects to the internet at ground level.

This type of satellite technology is what we use for satellite TV, GPS and forecasting the weather.

If you’ve not heard much about satellite broadband before, that’s because it isn’t very widespread at the moment. However it does provide a great solution to some particular internet issues.

Some places are just difficult to reach by cables mobile masts. Places like rural areas, mountains, islands, forests and jungles. Hard to imagine digging up some of these places to lay cables or erect a mobile mast. You’re just not going to get a traditional connection to these places.

For satellite broadband to connect, all you need is a satellite dish with a clear line of sight to the south sky, and thus can connect from almost anywhere! Ever used Wi-Fi on a boat or a plane? Chances are you were using a satellite broadband connection.

Satellite broadband on a consumer level is still in the early days but it is certainly looking at a big future. There are currently more satellites being made to enable broadband capability to almost anywhere in the world.

What are the pros for satellite broadband in rural areas?

  • It’s ideal for rural areas as it enables a broadband connection for places in the middle of nowhere, where cables really struggle to reach. Rural locations where fixed line broadband is extremely slow or non-existent could hugely benefit from satellite broadband.
  • You might be thinking a broadband connection is great, but what about the speed? Well, speeds are already comparable to standard ADSL broadband. In a few years time it’s expected that speeds will be closer to fibre optic broadband.
  • Due to the fact that all you need is a satellite dish, it is widely available.
  • In today’s mobile age, not everyone needs or wants a landline, but you often end up having to get one just to get an internet connection. Not with satellite broadband – It’s landline free!

Are there any downfalls of satellite broadband for rural areas?

Of course, there are a couple of downfalls. Lag, or latency, tends to be quite high due to the fact that the signal is travelling 22,200 miles into space and back. This means that if you were trying to play online gaming you might struggle. It can also be more expensive than the standard fixed line broadband, as well as restrictive on download limits. If you’ve got satellite TV, then you’ll already know how the weather can interfere with the signal sometimes, so during a storm you might find that your connection falters. While speeds are comparable to ADSL, they won’t be as fast as what you are used to elsewhere. As it’s still in it’s early days, there aren’t a huge number of providers so there’s not a great deal of choice when it comes to prices and packages.

All of that said, if you’re living in a remote, rural location and currently have little to no broadband, even the downfalls of satellite broadband are an improvement on your current situation.

If you live or work somewhere rural where it’s just not possible to lay cables or receive signal from a mast, then satellite broadband might just be to your rescue


The Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers Available in the UK Now

As you’ll have seen from previous blogs of ours, the features improvements with Wi-Fi 6 is the biggest thing to happen to wireless networking in years. With the reduced latency and theoretical speeds of 10.53Gbps, it should in theory be able to compete, if not better, gigabit wired connections.

Wi-fi 6 compatible routers have actually been available on the market for a while, but the problem has been that there are no clients currently available to use the new tech.

We’re now starting to see some devices with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility built in. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is possibly the first device that features this new standard and in April it was revealed that the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX20 module was on its way. Dell has just announced some XPS laptops that feature Wi-Fi 6 and many of the Wi-Fi enabled AMD X570 motherboards to feature it.

Now that we are seeing Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices entering the market, you may be starting to think about upgrading your router so you can benefit from this new technology.

So here are the options currently available in the UK. Brace yourselves, it’s going to get pricey… (But things always are with new technology aren’t they!).


ASUS RT-AX88U Wireless-AX6000 AiMesh

Price – £299 – pre-order

Technically this isn’t actually available yet, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.

RT-AX88U is a 4×4 dual-band Wi-Fi router that provides 160MHz bandwidth and 1024-QAM for dramatically faster wireless connections. With a total networking speed of about 6000Mbps — 1148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band — RT-AX88U is 2.3X faster than 802.11ac 4×4 dual-band routers.

One of the big selling points is AiMesh.  you should be able to pair it with other devices and create a mesh system.


ASUS GT-AX11000 ROG Rapture 802.11ax Tri-Band Gaming Router

Price – £379.99

In stock and available via Prime. If money isn’t an issue then the ROG Rapture 802.11ax might be for you. It is another router with AiMesh and it also features a 2.5GBase -T port which you will need if you want to make the most out of its wireless transfer speeds.

It has transfer speeds rated at:

  • 11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 1148 Mbps
  • 2 x 802.11ax (5GHz) : up to 4804 Mbps



NETGEAR RAX120 Nighthawk AX12


Price : £359.99

If you prefer your router to look like a stealth bomber over the arachnid style of the Asus then this flagship device may be preferable. This has a 5G ethernet port and dual gigabit port aggregation

This has up to 12 simultaneous Wi-Fi clients. and is rated at:

  • 4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps
  • 5GHz AX: 8×8 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/80+80MHz, up to 4.8Gbps


NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8 RAX80

Price : £283.96

This drops the specs a little to be a bit more affordable. You only get8-Stream Wi-Fi with up to 1.2 Gbps + 4.8 Gbps for ultra-fast wireless speeds. It does, however, keep the 5-gigabit port and has link aggregation.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4 Wi-Fi 6 Router (RAX40)

Price : £200

The most affordable Netgear at around £200, but not available on Prime and possibly not proper UK availability.

This has 4-Stream Wi-Fi with up to 600 Mbps + 2.4 Gbps for ultra-fast wireless speeds. There are 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports but no multi-gig or port aggregation.


 TP-Link Archer AX6000


Price : £345.68

The first of the two TP Link devices available, the other is the AX11000.

The stand out feature of this device is the 8-gigabit ports available plus one 2.5 gigabits reducing the need of a second switch to expand your ports.

Similar to the others there is :

  • 5GHz: 4804Mbps(802.11ax)
  • 4GHz: 1148Mbps(802.11ax)


Commercial Access Points

EnGenius EWS357AP Neutron Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6

Price : £240.34

Currently the only access point on the market with Wi-Fi 6.

This EnGenius EWS357AP Neutron Series Wi-Fi 6 indoor access point is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest chipset and features AX technology, which deepens and expands the capabilities of Wi-Fi as well as fortifying SMB networks. The new 802.11ax technology builds upon real-world deployment of 11ac. As next-generation Wi-Fi, 11ax is no longer just about speeds but also about stronger, steadier, and more efficient wireless connections.

This is a 2×2 access point and a 4×4 model will be launched soon.


With thanks to https://mightygadget.co.uk/the-best-wi-fi-6-routers-available-in-the-uk-right-now/

Free Hotel Wi-Fi And How to Protect Your Personal Data

It’s August, the holiday season is in full swing and holiday makers everywhere are taking some time off from the daily grind and heading for some R&R to re-charge. Whether you’re off on a staycation or venturing abroad, if you’re due to stay in a hotel with free Wi-Fi then don’t rejoice just yet!

I think it’s safe to say that Wi-Fi is one of the top things we check when we book something and when we first arrive at our destination. Is there Wi-Fi? Is it free?

Even with the best of intentions of having a digital detox whilst on holiday, the temptation to just post one photo of the pool with the caption ‘Enjoy your Monday’ with a cocktail emoji is just too much.

And those among us who have greater willpower might even get caught out – Did I pay that credit card bill? Did I send that money over to Joe that I owed him? Should I just transfer over a bit more money from savings incase we need it on holiday?

Posting on Instagram is maddening for your friends, but not particularly dangerous to you, whereas logging in to online banking using free, unprotected hotel Wi-Fi could be a disasterous start to your holiday.

So you’ve checked in and heard the words ‘Free Wi-Fi’. At this point there tends to be two camps of people – Let’s call them dogs and cats.

Dogs are trusting souls who like to see the best in everyone, especially that oh-so-helpful receptionist that’s offering them a bone, umm I mean free Wi-Fi, without having to faff around with passwords. Digital technology is all a little bit baffling to dogs so as they sit with their head tilted to one side, they fetch their phone and log straight in, afterall, who would be interested in what they were doing online anyway?

The cats are entirely more suspicious and paw anxiously at said receptionist, wondering if she realises that she’s offering a potentially dangerous service to her guests. Rather than see the best in people, they assume the worst, and a free Wi-Fi network without password protection smells very much like a rat to these fiesty felines.

Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, it’s the cats that will prevail in this situation – They are absolutely right to be suspicious and cautious. While the dogs are happily offering up their personal data without even realising, the cats are consciously choosing to not share anything remotely confidential.

Unfortunately in today’s digital world, there are hackers everywhere, and hotels are one of their biggest targets. Even the big name hotels have had data breaches. The main focus of these hackers is the Property Management Systems used for reservations, issuing room keys and storing credit card data. But that’s not to say that there aren’t hackers lurking, waiting for you to send your online banking details out into the ‘public’ domain via the hotel network.

So why exactly are hotels such a hot target for hackers? Well, technically speaking, their systems can be quite easy to penetrate so there’s the first hook. The second is in the name – hospitality. Hotels are trying their best to anticipate and satisfy the need of their potential guests and Wi-Fi is way up there on the list. Guests not only expect there to be Wi-Fi, but they expect to get it for free.

There’s nothing more frustrating and off-putting than long signing in procedures and faffing about with passwords when all you want to do is just log on. And while these procedures would be there to protect you, hotels seem to deem it more hospitable to get you connected as hassle-free and quickly as possible with no fumbling around with passwords.

So not only, from a hackers point of view, can hotel booking records be potentially easy pickings, but they also get the added cherry on top from dogs sending over their personal information using unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

So what can you actually do to protect yourselves?

Whether you’re a dog or a cat, the answer is a Virtual Private Network.

You would need to invest in, and install, the VPN on any device travelling with you that can connect to Wi-Fi.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network functions as an encrypted tunnel to a special server located somewhere on the internet.

So, for example, you want to connect to your online banking to pay that bill or post that pool selfie on Instagram, the VPN connects to those websites on your behalf.

The traffic between the website and the VPN is encrypted so anyone snooping on your data with the intent to hack only sees a load of gobbledegook.
Thus, it’s safe to use the hotel Wi-Fi and indeed any network wherever you are – Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls etc.

What’s the downside?

If it’s so simple to protect ourselves, why doesn’t everyone do this? Well, money. Nothing in this life comes free! To have this kind of unlimited protection does come with an annual fee.

There are some free services but there will be restrictions on how much data you can use and the number of devices.


So, be more cat. And if you know you can’t resist connecting to the Wi-Fi whilst on holiday, then at least consider getting a VPN. Happy holidays!

London Event Wi-Fi For Your Silent Auction

There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you’ve bid on something and you win! And there’s nothing like that feeling when you’re desperate to get a bid in before time runs out, and the Wi-Fi fails.

Which one will your guest be?

So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to make your next London event a Silent Auction. You could faff around with paper bidding, but there is also the option to run your event with seamless electronic silent bidding software utilising the interactive technology available to you.

Electronic bidding can help you organise your high-end silent auction, enhancing the professionalism and user-ease for your event as well as boosting fundraising profits.

Mobile bidding software is developed with you and your guests in mind. They provide the guest with an easy user experience, making the bidding process fluent and intuitive. Most are completely customisable as well, so you can keep everything on brand with your campaign whilst remaining stylish and user friendly. Even better, is that the software makes it easy for guests to see how they are doing with their bids – With real-time updates notifying everyone of new bids, the donations will be flying in.

Further along the lines of electronic event technology comes payment terminals. Taking payments needs to be as easy, simple and quick as possible. No one likes trying to pay by card only to wait minutes for the terminal to connect. And with today’s cashless society, not having the option of electronic payments is a bit of a no-no if you want to make sure you receive those donations.

And for all of that, you’ll need seamless Wi-Fi for your guests to access.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that whatever London venue you choose, the Wi-Fi will just ‘be there’. But unfortunately that’s not always the case.

Even just in Central London you’ll have a multitude of venue choice at your fingertips. Most venues do have Wi-Fi, of course, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s reliable and fast enough for you to use for your event and thus does take some consideration and forward planning.

How many guests will you have at your event – Maybe 100? All of those people will be accessing the Wi-Fi at the same time trying to view items and place their bids. Can the venue Wi-Fi handle that traffic? The last thing you want is for the Wi-Fi to go slow or drop out, as that will slow down the whole process. If people can’t place their bid, or miss new bids coming in, then the rate of bidding is going to be lower and fundraising profits start to take a hit.

There’s no point securing that prestigious London venue for your silent auction event, only to fall at the last hurdle – Failing to bring in the bids because of poor Wi-Fi would be catastrophic to the success of your event.

What if your chosen venue is at a hotel, and you’re competing with all the hotel guests as well?

Or maybe you’ve got your heart set on a beautiful ballroom venue in the centre of London, but it’s underground with poor mobile reception and you’re relying solely on the Wi-Fi.

This is where Geekabit come in. Our London based experts are here to provide a secure network for your Silent Auction guests, with no reliance whatsoever on your London venue.

As with all events, you are depending on excellent communication to make your silent auction a success. We are passionate about providing reliable Wi-Fi for all scale events, from the smallest intimate gatherings to the large outdoor festivals. So our expert London Wi-Fi and Network Engineers are on hand to build your bespoke network and ensure that your users stay connected throughout.

Your guests might feel uncertain about whether their bid will be enough – But you don’t need to feel that way about the Wi-Fi. We would be delighted to discuss your event with you – Give our London office a call on 0203 322 2443.

Leave your guests feeling like winners.

Your Wi-Fi 6 Questions Answered

We’ve blogged a couple of times about this but it really is the buzzword of the moment – Wi-Fi 6. There’s a lot of hype as well as a lot of questions to be answered. If you’re sat there wondering what all the fuss is about, or have a burning question you’re desperate to know the answer to, keep reading for the answers to some Wi-Fi 6 FAQ’s.

What’s actually the difference between 802.11ax and Wi-Fi 6?

Both of the above are referring to the next-generation of wireless technology, and many networking professionals use these terms interchangeably.
Technically speaking, 802.11ax is the official IEEE standard in reference to wireless technology. The IEEE first formed a committee in 2014 to start development of this standard.

Wi-Fi 6 is in reference to certified products and networks that support the .11ax standard as indicated by the WFA (Wi-Fi Alliance).

Historically, the WFA have used the names given by the IEEE (802.11) but late last year they introduced a new naming system to try and simplify terminology for users. The new simplified naming system refers to the wireless technology standards by generation – hence, Wi-Fi 6.
So using this system the standards are as follows:
– 802.11ax gear is Wi-Fi 6
– 802.11ac is Wi-Fi 5
– 802.11n is Wi-Fi 4

There are also 3 less relevant past IEEE standards that WFA renamed. These are 802.11g (Wi-Fi 3), 802.11a (Wi-Fi 2) and 802.11b (Wi-Fi 1).

Why Wi-Fi 6? Is it faster than 802.11ac?

Hailed as going to be the first wireless standard to reliably break the gigabit barrier, .11ax is faster than the predecessing standards, 802.11ac (5) and 802.11n (4).

However, it’s not just about the speed. Wi-Fi 6 also works smarter thanks to a new feature called OFDMA. Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access means that it can collect more clients to each access point. Essentially, it’s working harder and smarter by making a more efficient route between the device and the network.

Think about it like this – You need to get from A to B. The highways agency can either let you drive faster down a 3 lane motorway, or they can add some lanes and make it a 5 lane motorway so that it has better traffic flow.

That is what 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) is doing. It’s improving the efficiency of the route.

For any new Wi-Fi 6 gear to be compliant with the new highly efficient 802.11ax standard, it must support both OFDMA downlink (AP to client) and uplink (client to AP).

In addition to this, .11ax devices can utilise both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to transmit data, whereas .11ac only uses the 5GHz frequency band. This supports better throughput on the new standard.

When will the IEEE ratify the 802.11ax standard?

This is why the hype is steadily growing and you’re seeing Wi-Fi 6 mentioned here, there and everywhere. Later this year, it is anticipated that the IEEE will ratify 802.11ax. Due to the previous 2 drafts of the standard failing to be approved by the committee, this ratification is almost a year behind schedule. Hence why people are on tenterhooks.

This month the group voted to pass the 3rd draft and thus is currently preparing it’s final draft to be submitted to RevCom (the IEEE Review Commitee). In December we are expecting to see whether RevCom recommend that the IEEE Standards Board aprrove or reject the new standard.
Around the same time, the WFA is expected to give it’s stamp of approval to compatible products through it’s Wi-Fi 6 certification program.

Is it too early to upgrade to the new standard – Should I be replacing my network gear?

Industry experts consider the new standard as being investable and stable enough to be adopted early, especially as most firmware has the ability to work with the previous standards as well as the new one.

However, the benefits of going out and replacing pieces of kit at this stage is rather minimal. As we’ve just said, most products will have backward compatibility, and so if it’s not able to utilise the new standard it will automatically go to the next compatible one down.

OFDMA will only work if the hardware is compatible, so for example it needs next-generation AP’s and end-user devices.

With IEEE set to ratify 802.11ax in December, and the WFA following suit with it’s certification late this year, it’s likely we won’t start to see compatible products appearing in volume until we’re into 2020.

You could however beat the rush and get ready now so that when Wi-Fi 6 does come into use, you’re already compatible and ready to go.

Who should consider Wi-Fi 6?

The ones that are going to see the biggest benefits due to the wonders of OFDMA, are going to be high density areas like stadiums, universities and festivals. However any network manager who is struggling with traffic management issues and a lot of congestion should really be considering an upgrade sooner rather than later.

Large office buildings, hospitals, and anywhere you have a large number of wireless devices will benefit from the opportunity to segment virtual LANs and better manage the large amount of traffic from having lots of IoT devices.

Another new feature we haven’t mentioned yet (in this blog anyway) is Target Wake Time (TWT). This enables IoT devices to spend more time asleep by scheduling short windows of engagement, thus conserving battery and bandwidth. Big pluses.

An example of this in action could be a smart thermostat from which an AP collects performance data. Rather than it being engaged unneccessarily all the time, the AP could collect the data once a day which would allow the gadget to spend the rest of the time in low-power mode.

Mobile devices would also benefit from TWT.

If you are currently using 802.11n and looking to upgrade, then it would probably make sense to skip .11ac and head straight for .11ax.

It’s also worth noting that .11g, .11a and .11b are near obsolete (if not so already) so if you have networks on any of these it would probably be wise to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Who doesn’t need to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?

There are a few cases where it might not be necessary to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6.

For example, if you manage a .11n and .11ac network in a low-density environment then you are unlikely to experience many connectivity problems. In which case you probably don’t need .11ax just yet.

Another thing to consider is your WAN. A wide area network that runs slow will run slow regardess of how good your Wi-Fi is. Upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 won’t sort out a slow WAN issue so it’s a good idea to sort this out first. Your WAN needs to be as fast as your Wi-Fi.

Will Wi-Fi 6 work with legacy clients?

According to the IEEE, 802.11ax (or Wi-Fi 6) will be completely backward compatible.

However, like all new tech installations, it’s probably a wise idea to test an isolated deployment before rolling it out organisation wide. If you’re a network manager, you want to be gaining some experience with the new technology before rolling it out.

You could perhaps give it a try in a different building? The most important thing to check would be how backward-compatible it really is with anything on 802.11n or 802.11ac.

Do you have any more questions about Wi-Fi 6 / 802.11ax? We’d love to hear them! @WiFiExpertUK

Wi-Fi Problems and How To Troubleshoot

Are you having trouble with your Wi-Fi? Trying desperately to send an email with a hefty attachment, or keep losing connection on a video call? It can be really frustrating when a Wi-Fi connection keeps dropping out or runs really s l o w l y.

So first things first – Was your network designed by a professional? If not, then there could be something fundamentally wrong with your set up. It’s straightforward enough to plug in a router at home and get going right away, but offices require a bit more thought than that, and that’s often where people go a bit awry.

Or maybe you are unfortunate enough to have inherited a problematic network in a new job or new office? A site survey could identify any flaws and help to design a new, more reliable WLAN.

Here at Geekabit, our Wi-Fi experts can help resolve your Wi-Fi woes, whatever the cause of the problem.

To diagnose the issue(s) we would often collect data from your network on-site by investigating your Wi-Fi infrastructure and performance.

Questions we would be asking include, are the access points working? Are the access points seeing other access points nearby? Are the ethernet cables connecting to the access points working properly?

Whether you are an IT professional or not, you don’t want to be struggling with unreliable Wi-Fi.

Getting to the bottom of what’s causing the issue isn’t always an easy process, there are a number of things you could be experiencing. For example:
• Gaps in coverage
• Interference across channels
• A user device causing problems whilst trying to connect
• Configuration problems with the infrastructure of the Wi-Fi network itself

What’s going on can look very different between the access point and the floor. These potential issues aren’t usually the types of things you can identify yourself as they require specialist tools to capture and analyse the data.

That’s where our Wi-Fi experts come in. We can walk around on floor level to explore your network and measure site survey to data to identify exactly what’s going on.

With the information we find, we can then design a new Wi-Fi network that will reduce the interference you’re experience, or close a coverage gap. Whatever the problem, it can be solved.

Working days are busy as it is; you don’t have time to be wasting on slow, unreliable Wi-Fi. For most organisations, Wi-Fi is now business critical, and getting a well designed, trustworthy network is a very worthwhile investment.

If you’re struggling with your Wi-Fi then don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our Wi-Fi experts to see how best Geekabit can help. We work out of London, Hampshire and Wales and are on hand for all your business Wi-Fi needs.

You can call us on 0203 322 2443 (London), 01962 657 390 (Hampshire) or 02920 676712 (Cardiff).