The Future of Wi-Fi: 5 Trends Which Could Shape the Future

Wireless technology is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. The way we use the internet has completely and radically altered the lives and businesses of billions of people over the globe. But what does the future of Wi-Fi hold? We’ve brought together 3 of the biggest trends in the future of Wi-Fi:

1. The Internet of Things

Over the last few decades, we’ve seen Wi-Fi being used from only a handful of large, bulky computers to a plethora of slim, powerful laptops, tablets, and most of all smartphones. In recent years, we’ve also seen other devices (such as printers, home assistants, wearable tech) connect to Wi-Fi networks to improve the ease with which we work, study and play.

This expansion of connected devices has been dubbed ‘The Internet of Things’; a network of essentially any product you can think of imbued with wireless connectivity. Although this concept is no newcomer, what is only emerging now is a generation of tech that changes our lives quite considerably.

Already on the market are home appliances such as fridges, kettles and printers that can automatically reorder your groceries, boil up water on demand, or buy fresh ink. The concept of a truly connected, ‘smart home’ may feel futuristic, but in reality it is already becoming a way of live (albeit in a piecemeal way). As the adoption curve follows its arc, we expect daily life to change quite drastically as this new tech becomes more mainstream, and its benefits are more touted.

Wi-Fi will be the conduit for this change, since it is the automatic choice for supporting the higher bandwidth requirements of this next-gen tech.

2. Ever-increasing speed and reach

One trend we can all bank on is increased browsing speed. We’ve witnessed the demands on Wi-Fi networks explode, both in terms of the number of users connected, and the amount of data each connected device downloads per millisecond (think your trusty 3210 vs the latest iPhone). In line with this demand, we’ve also witnessed speeds skyrocket, from struggling to download a small image file to millions of people streaming HD video (8K looms), social media and the rise of gaming.

In addition to personal use, businesses have been heavily investing in wireless connectivity for many years, achieving improved efficiency, accuracy and a superior customer offering. All this additional traffic has – over the last decade – caused a growing concern over levels of congestion and associated limitations on performance.

It was estimated that by 2020, Wi-Fi networks would be struggling to handle traffic demands due to the spectrum being too busy. Enter WiFi-6E. Opening up additional spectrum has been a major step towards easing congestion, and as WiFi-6E devices become more widespread, this will hail a new era of connectivity.

We’re now on the verge of bigger changes; AI, automation, robotics, and IoT becoming part of mainstream working, living and playing. Huge strides are being made forward in wireless technologies, but it still isn’t entirely unimaginable that technology itself will exceed the potential of the Wi-Fi that needs to underpin it. One thing is for certain – the volume of traffic is set to rise, so speed, bandwidth and the balance between 5G and Wi-Fi will have to match demand.

3. Wi-Fi 7

Wi-Fi 7 will be another leap forward from the innovative steps made by Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. It will bring even faster speeds through 320 MHz channels (twice the size of previous Wi-Fi generations), as well as dramatically improving responsiveness and reliability with 4K QAM and a maximum data rate of almost 5.8Gbps (almost 2.5 times faster than Wi-Fi 6/6E. With MLO, Wi-Fi 7 devices will be able to connect on 2 bands, using aggregation for faster speeds, or employing dual band for improved reliability with the lowest and most precise latencies. We predict this will hugely impact the streaming and sharing of 8K video, and other huge files currently limited by download speeds. Wi-Fi 7 is going to be vital for future use cases that require the best performance possible, which begs the question – why will users remain content with unequal performance?

4. Unbottling the oncoming bottlenecks

With the huge increase in throughput promised by WiFi-6E and onwards (hello WiFi7), the underlying switched network risks becoming a bottleneck to future Wi-Fi networks. Deploying mGig capable switches will mitigate this, providing connectivity speeds of 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps and 10Gbps to access points and help futureproof your wired network for the new Wi-Fi standards. We see this being a huge component of network design in the coming years.

5. The move towards personalisation

The power of big data has started to change the way the world works. Targeted ads, specialised content and various other uses of this valuable resource are commonplace today. But as Wi-Fi networks, potentially using AI technology and machine learning, get smarter at predicting what type of speeds we’re looking for, the kind of experience we expect, and even the content we consume, we’ll start to expect a higher standard of personalisation from our Wi-Fi providers. It remains to be seen just how intrusive these changes will feel, and how widespread, especially as GDPR and other societal shifts seek to protect privacy and confidentiality.

If you want to upgrade your Wi-Fi ready for the latest technological innovations, or simply want to meet the demands of your workers, customers or students in the here and now, get in touch with us at Redway Networks today.

If you want to upgrade your Wi-Fi ready for the latest technological innovations, or simply want to meet the demands of your workers, customers or students in the here and now, get in touch with us at Redway Networks today.

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