The Beacon

Wi-Fi Alliance® member insights: The state of Wi-Fi®

Boingo, Broadcom, Comcast, Intel and Qualcomm weigh in on 802.11ax, 5G, IoT and beyond

Wi-Fi® is the backbone of tech innovation today and that role will continue well into the future. We recently spoke with leaders of several Wi-Fi Alliance® member companies about the importance of Wi-Fi in their business and the larger ecosystem in 2018 and beyond. From the ever-growing number of connected devices to the arrival of 5G, it’s difficult to imagine any industry excelling without Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is important for business and is a critical technology that consumers use every day. Wi-Fi Alliance’s recent consumer survey of more than 1,000 respondents found that nearly twenty-nine percent of consumers are using Wi-Fi more than nine hours a day - for many, that’s more time on Wi-Fi than sleeping.

The survey found that nearly half of consumers would move if they didn’t have a Wi-Fi connection at home. Fifty-six percent of consumers are planning on purchasing connected devices this year, with Wi-Fi being the essential technology fueling the great user experience they expect.

Wi-Fi Alliance has worked diligently to make Wi-Fi one of the world’s most valued and widely used technologies. Our efforts as an industry have made life without Wi-Fi unimaginable for many consumers and businesses. As we’ve outlined in a recent post, the Wi-Fi industry is moving at full speed and it’s an exciting time as we’re finding new ways to provide a high-quality, seamless, and secure experience.

What is the future of Wi-Fi? From 5G to 802.11ax and IoT, here are a few takeaways from our members:

Derek Peterson, CTO, Boingo

Higher speeds, better connectivity, and the idea of not just connecting devices but also connecting ourselves. Peterson discusses what we can expect from Wi-Fi and the future of connectivity.

“The future of Wi-Fi is 802.11ax, opportunity to take advantage of higher speeds and better connectivity. We’re going to get the connection we want for all the devices we have.”

“Convergence is the key… we need to collaborate better together so we can have Wi-Fi and cellular working together. We’re seeing that happen with a lot of different things like multi-path TCP and being able to keep both radios on. For Boingo it’s really about trying to bring the best connectivity for the use case you’re deploying.”

“Wi-Fi is key to the 5G landscape. It’s about trying to find the right use case and solving the use case with the technology available. There are a lot of different ways to deploy Wi-Fi. Different frequencies, different ways, different channels to deploy Wi-Fi… there are a lot of ways to take advantage of Wi-Fi.”

Vijay Nagarajan, Senior Director, Mobile Connectivity Business Unit, Broadcom

Without Wi-Fi , would we have laptops and smartphones? Could we use Facebook and WhatsApp? Nagarajan shares just how integrated Wi-Fi is into everyday life.

“I rely on Wi-Fi for almost everything. I have about 27 Wi-Fi connected devices at home. Laptops, tablets, phones, thermostats and even a lawn watering system that relies on Wi-Fi.”

“Wi-Fi is synonymous to connectivity. Wi-Fi for me epitomizes the notion of connecting everything, which incidentally is the tagline from Broadcom.”

Eric Schaefer, GM, Wi-Fi Connectivity Business, Comcast

Schaefer discusses how the industry has worked together to bring enterprise technology to the consumer, and how Wi-Fi is as important to customers as air.

“Wi-Fi has been life changing for both us as an operator and for our consumers. We launched a product called xFi… the average xFi customer has more than 11 devices connected to their network every day, and almost nothing is connected via ethernet jacks anymore. Wi-Fi is not just a protocol or a technology, it’s a way of life. It’s as important to our customers as air.”

“Wi-Fi is different things to different people. For us as technologists, it’s an opportunity, it’s a playground or a grey mass so we can continue to improve that technology, prove that protocol, make the technology better.”

Eric McLaughlin, GM, Wireless Business Unit, Intel

From imaging a life without Wi-Fi to the importance of interoperability and 802.11ax, McLaughlin reviews the state of Wi-Fi and what’s ahead for Intel and the wireless industry.

“I see a life without Wi-Fi being very difficult to live...business would be slower...Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we communicate each and every day.”

“Interoperability has allowed competing businesses to get together to work out really difficult problems...one of the great things Wi-Fi has done is bring industries together that may have not otherwise got together to make sure these devices work.”

“The future of Wi-Fi is bright...as we move into the next generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax not only gets faster but much, much more efficient. We see .11ax as an important part of the unlicensed portion of 5G...802.11ax will play a huge role in taking Wi-Fi to the next level.”

Rahul Patel, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Connectivity, Qualcomm

Patel discusses home networks, the latest innovation from Qualcomm and its partners, Wi-Fi’s role in AI and machine learning and more.

“I don’t believe there’s anything on the horizon that can displace Wi-Fi; very important...not only to lives but the entire world, making a world without boundaries...Wi-Fi is no different than electricity, oxygen and water.”

“The consumer interaction with networks will be more voice driven. It’s becoming a mainstay...you can talk to the networks and the networks will talk to you... Consumers will have a much easier time, not trying to be an IT manager but a consumer and enjoying the experience of the Wi-Fi network.”

“Compute, security and connectivity are going to be essential components to what we now call the world of AI and machine learning...you have to create a secure environment to transfer these data points...but the importance of connectivity is paramount…as a result Wi-Fi plays a huge role going forward for delivering the experience.”

 

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to info@wi-fi.org.

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