With ‘5G’ (whatever that turns out to be) likely more than 5 years away (if it happens) this could be a good time to point out that high-performance, low-latency, low cost wireless is already here and it’s called Wi-Fi. So why wait for 5G to happen?
We’re betting that Wi-Fi (in all its forms) will continue grow at unprecedented rates in the coming the 5-year ‘wireless vacuum’ between 4G and prospective 5G. In fact, we think accelerated Wi-Fi growth is inevitable as consumers and businesses alike continue expect more & better connectivity at lower cost.
Here are some of the most important Wi-Fi developments we’ll be covering the rest of the year and of course in 2017:
WiGig is super hot with the certification program just launched by the Wi-Fi Alliance. I’m particularly interested in the City Wi-Fi applications (mostly backhaul) for WiGig. But shorter-range consumer WiGig will no doubt change the way we connect at home, too. Meanwhile, Facebook is already doing some pretty nifty work (Terragraph) with outdoor meshed WiGig in the City of San Jose.
We’re only a couple of years away from next generation Wi-Fi hitting the markets (expected 2019) and we’re already pretty confident that this is another connectivity revolution in the making. It looks like many of the persistent shortcomings of Wi-Fi as we know it today will be fixed in 802.11ax. What’s not to like? Let’s get it out there as soon as we can!
Say hello to HaLow! (802.11ah)
HaLow is LPWAN Wi-Fi-style: Low cost, low power, unlicensed (of course!), piggybacked on an ecosystem in the billions, and at least one kilometer of range. Not bad for starters. And HaLow may be just what many of the most creative IoT use cases have been looking for inside the home and out. Like everything else in Wi-Fi, HaLow is a license to innovate. We like it.
Return of the City Network
Yes, after a decade-long break (and mostly flops), City Wi-Fi is back with a vengeance and headed up by trailblazers Intersection now in both New York City and London UK (just announced) with their soon to be iconic kiosks. Meanwhile newcomer Veniam is building Wi-Fi’s Internet of Moving Things for public vehicles in Porto and Singapore. That’s real innovation. And it’s exciting.
Here at Wi-Fi NOW we’re also working very hard on supporting the European Commission’s free Wi-Fi for EU project (WiFi4EU). More about that soon.
Big data with Wi-Fi
Can big data and machine learning (think IBM Watson here) crack the Wi-Fi monetization challenge? We think there’s a good chance of it, yes. A handful of vendors that are starting to do pretty well with enterprise Wi-Fi, BLE, & analytics without the creepy ‘I know where you are and I’m watching you!’-problem. Ironically, we will be watching them closely 🙂
The battle for your home
Still got crappy Netflix reception in the bedroom? Well, all of that bad home Wi-Fi is going away very soon. Big carriers, big vendors, a host of startups – even mighty Google – are battling it out for home Wi-Fi domination. And they’re throwing a ton of technology at it including mesh, Cloud, and big data. It’s a multi-billion-dollar market in the making right now.
Connecting the next billion to the Internet – with 802.11af?
In case you still don’t know: A couple of billion people on this planet still don’t have Internet access. Low-cost Wi-Fi can fix this problem where mobile has failed. We’re also excited that (finally!) TVWS aka ‘Super Wi-Fi’ aka 802.11af looks to be moving ahead with Microsoft and D-Link.
Mobile & Wi-Fi convergence – is it real?
Are mobile & Wi-Fi services finally going to come together? Yes, absolutely. Will 4G (LTE) and possibly even future 5G invade the unlicensed bands? They might want to but we still believe they won’t be successful if they try. We believe it’s much more likely that convergence will happen OTT and not by the age-old and slow method of coordinating standards. And that’s a new paradigm in telecom.
The bottom line is this: Everyone wants more Wi-Fi. And if the carriers won’t deliver it (or are too late in realizing they need to) someone else will.