5 Questions To Ask Wi-Fi 6 Access Point Providers During Evaluation

5 Questions To Ask Wi-Fi 6 Access Point Providers During Evaluation

When evaluating Wi-Fi 6 access points, be sure to ask these five critical questions to potential solution providers.

The next generation of wireless hardware, 802.11ax (colloquially known as Wi-Fi 6), is finally here. Developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), this new Wi-Fi standard promises greater speed and capacity for wireless networks — two very tantalizing prospects for business and enterprise owners. Network hardware providers have stepped up to the plate to design and provide access points, routers, switches, etc. that allow customers to take advantage of the new Wi-Fi standard.

To help businesses narrow down solution providers, we listed five critical questions to ask Wi-Fi 6 providers during the evaluation process. By asking these questions, your company can ensure a potential solution provider is a good fit for its Wi-Fi 6 access point needs.

What kind of technical support do you offer?

Whenever a problem occurs on your network, you need to know how much support your hardware vendors can provide in case your network or IT engineers are unprepared to deal with issues. Most network vendors offer a dedicated service for wireless hardware customer support, granting users technical help whenever they need. Since Wi-Fi 6 access points are still relatively new, early technical issues will arise — so you want to understand how your vendor will help you overcome them.

How do I manage 802.11ax access points, routers, switches, etc.?

A network device does your company no good if you can’t manage it remotely to ensure it’s working properly. Some vendors may offer their own proprietary software that can connect with their devices, offering in-depth access to statistics and metrics. Others rely on universal protocols like Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which can be configured to work with your system. Knowing how to manage your network hardware ahead of time will help during the installation and onboarding phase.

How often do you come out with new wireless hardware?

As vendors continuously upgrade their wireless hardware to add improvements or fix critical issues, potential customers should know what the life expectancy for their hardware is so they can appropriately accommodate for product life cycles. While many vendors already have several pieces of network hardware that support Wi-Fi 6, they may produce more in the future; knowing the vendor’s 802.11ax roadmap can help you determine when the best time to purchase is.

What native security protocols/services are available for your hardware?

Network devices must come equipped with security protocols (including WPA3 and Enhanced Open) so your business can ensure that your wireless network is protected from internal and external threats; knowing which security protocols are installed is critical for your company. In addition, many networking vendors have also created their own native security technologies and applications that give users piece of mind when installing and onboarding hardware.

Do you rely on external manufacturers or perform your own manufacturing in-house?

The majority of wireless hardware vendors, especially larger companies, rely on external manufacturers to build and ship their wireless hardware. If this is the case, it would be helpful to know who manufactures the devices so you know what exactly the chain from the vendor designing the plans for the device to the customer getting it looks like. Some vendors, however, perform their own manufacturing in-house, showing they have a handle on both the design and building stages.


Looking for a solution to help you improve your network performance? Our Network Monitoring Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top network performance monitor vendors, as well as questions you should ask providers and yourself before buying.

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Daniel Hein