Extreme Connect 2024: Wi-Fi 6E to drive connectivity revolution in infinite enterprise

Kicking off its annual Connect event with chief product and technology officer Nabil Bukhari (pictured above) stressing how Wi-Fi 6E has changed Wi-Fi for good and forever, Extreme Networks claims to have become the first supplier with outdoor Wi-Fi 6E deployments to receive a standard power grant allowing customers to leverage faster speeds, increased range of coverage and expanded capacity for outdoor connectivity.

Setting the scene for the three-day event in Fort Worth, Bukhari said that in a world of constant and rapid change, every enterprise, government agency, school, healthcare department and city in the world was on a journey to becoming what he called an infinite enterprise.

“Demands are changing. And in that changing world, we all have to transform [into] the infinite enterprise. There are [key] imperatives that we must all together deliver to our users and our customers, and they start with infinite connectivity,” he told the audience.

“Today, everything needs to be connected – people, applications, devices. No matter where they are, they must be connected securely. They must be connected reliably, because our world, our society, evolves – and it is based on connectivity. Imagine a world without connectivity. We cannot, because that is who we are – a society built on infinite connectivity. This is the biggest imperative for any business that wants to grow and succeed.

“Wouldn’t it be great if every business had infinite resources to do so. But in today’s world, we are asked to do more with less. So, the [next] imperative is to do it at scale, but within your resources of time, money and people. We have limited budgets, but we need to bring that innovation faster. In some cases, we really can’t find resources to do it. But we still need to deliver that infinite connectivity.

“Why? Because we need to deliver that experience to our consumers. Patients and clinicians in the healthcare system. Students, educators, parents attached to a school system. Citizens attached to local government and the local city. People working in manufacturing or buying the products produced. All of those people are consumers and we must deliver an experience to them. Those are the [key] imperatives to become an infinite enterprise.”

Imagine a world without connectivity. We cannot, because that is who we are – a society built on infinite connectivity. This is the biggest imperative for any business that wants to grow and succeed
Nabil Bukhari, Extreme Networks

As he continued, Bukhari emphasised Wi-Fi as a huge part of the company’s portfolio, saying everything has changed forever with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6E and the use of 6GHz spectrum. He noted that Extreme Networks was the first to bring out enterprise-grade Wi Fi 6E, and that with its new product range it would be lighting up 6E from indoors to outdoors, delivering a “seamless” experience, despite having to accommodate the regulatory challenges of 6GHz communications in the US.

The new AP5050 Universal Wi-Fi 6E access points are designed to enable standard power operation in the key 6GHz band for outdoor environments in the US. The devices are said to be uniquely engineered and optimised to meet the challenges across outdoor environments like stadiums, concert venues and university campuses.

Through its collaboration with Wi-Fi trade association Wi-Fi Alliance Services, Extreme said it could now deliver secure cloud-based Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) across the US, ensuring protection of incumbent users in the 6GHz spectrum, while maximising transmission power. Working with Wi-Fi Alliance Services, Extreme said it could now provide uninterrupted 6GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, expanded coverage, lower latency and improved performance of devices across outdoor environments.

“With Wi-Fi Automated Frequency Coordination, we’re enabling industry leaders like Extreme to rapidly and cost-effectively activate outdoor standard power 6GHz Wi-Fi for customers,” said Kevin Robinson, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance Services.

“This marks a significant time in the history of wireless as it will create new experiences and open opportunities for applications, services and immersive experiences that require robust, high-performance connectivity; it will deliver these benefits even in densely populated stadiums and arenas,” he added.

Great connectivity in the great outdoors

The technology has already been deployed at customers such as Brigham Young University, Cedar Fair and the San Francisco Giants.

Cedar Fair, which operates regional amusement parks, resorts, hotels and recreational properties throughout North America, entertaining approximately 27 million guests each year, deployed ExtremeCloud IQ and Wi-Fi 6E solutions across its properties.

“Our new, blazing-fast network will help improve real-time monitoring of ride performance, park infrastructure and crowd and line management, as well as optimise energy usage and provide a best-in-class guest experience, while remaining connected without disruption,” said Cedar Fair Entertainment Company chief information officer Ty Tastepe.

“Extreme Wi-Fi 6E takes connectivity to another level and we’re just scratching the surface of the possibilities of innovation now and into the future. Wireless connectivity is critical to our digital evolution and is an essential pillar of our park operations and overall guest experience…we are one of the first deployed outdoor 6GHz venues in the nation, providing our associates and guests with next-generation connectivity whether at work or play,” added Tastepe.

The San Francisco Giants (Oracle Park) and BYU (LaVell Edwards Stadium) deployed Extreme Wi-Fi 6E-ready networks in 2023. BYU, which accommodates roughly 64,000 fans, uses its Wi-Fi network to improve fan engagement, creating what is described as seamless streaming capacity and support for mobile food ordering.

Casey Stauffer, associate athletic director at BYU, said: “Deploying Wi-Fi 6E at our stadium will mark a significant milestone in our commitment to innovation and improving the gameday experience. Whether it’s accessing real-time instant replays, streaming, or capturing and sharing memorable moments on social media, we expect our Wi-Fi experience to be like a high-octane engine for our fans. By partnering with Extreme, we’re not just building networks, we’re shaping the future.”

Bukhari concluded: “Using 6GHz for outdoor Wi-Fi isn’t just about expanding coverage, it’s about unleashing connectivity and transforming outdoor spaces into hubs of innovation and next-gen experiences. The spectators want their phones to work inside the stadium and also slightly outside. The people who come to events like Cedar Fair want to be able to send that picture of the kids to the grandparents anywhere in the premises.

“We can deliver seamless experiences anywhere – indoor, outdoor – not just to check your email and stuff, but also to enable applications like augmented and virtual reality at the edge that are very bandwidth intensive and require reliability. We are getting to a point where Wi-Fi can now reliably support mission-critical applications.”

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