I love new toys. Every year when the new iPhone is released, I get it the first day and cannot wait to check out all of the new features. That extends to all of the technology I am so lucky to work with every day. As part of my “eat the groceries” philosophy (live with the product you sell), I am very fortunate to be a beta-tester for many of our industry partners, which allows me to play with the product well in advance of it hitting the market — and gives me the opportunity to possibly have an influence on the final iteration. Even when I am not on the beta-testing team, I still purchase the product as soon as possible to get my hands on it and bench test it extensively before selling it to a client.
That is why I am so excited for the eero Wi-Fi 6 product coming out next month. I cannot wait to actually get 1 gigabit over Wi-Fi. How often do you deploy a robust, reliable, amazing network and the first thing the client does is whip out their phone and run a Speedtest? Then they say that something is wrong with the network because they are not getting the full gigabit they are paying for. I then spend 10-15 minutes explaining the limitations of the current Wi-Fi spec. Now I won’t have to worry about that scenario. And you know that I’ll have a Wi-Fi 6-capable client device with me at all times to prove the gigabit speed, since most clients will not have a compliant device right away.
Related: Mesh Networking Is Here to Stay
I do realize that I will need to recalibrate my internal distance meter. I have gotten very good at walking into a site or looking at floor plans and knowing where we will need access points, taking into account distance, wall construction, appliances, etc. My intuition is almost always proven out with the formal site survey. With the reduced range for Wi-Fi 6, I will need to get used to a new signal radius, much as we all needed to do with the proliferation of the 5 GHz spectrum after being used to 2.4 GHz.
As I have written about before, it is a little disappointing that, in our industry, the consumer-grade products seem to have the latest and greatest features first and then it trickles to our professional-grade product. Other than Ruckus, I am not aware of another product used by many integrators that is Wi-Fi 6 compliant. For now, we will be specifying a lot of eero Wi-Fi 6 product starting next month to ensure our clients have the most up-to-date technology available. We have had enormous success with eero in our product mix. It works flawlessly with our Crestron and Crestron Home installations, providing robust, flawless, always up-to-date solutions that our clients love.
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Considering we do a lot of work in Manhattan high-rise apartments, where there is often no opportunity to run cable in retrofit situations, having a reliable mesh solution has been a game changer for us. In fact, I just ordered the Luxul Epic mesh product to give it a try. I would prefer to support a dealer-focused manufacturer, and am very hopefully that Epic Mesh is successful in our tests, although at this time it is not Wi-Fi 6 capable, so deployment would need to wait until that product rolls out.