Wi-Fi Trends

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Hotspot 2.0, Gigabit Wi-Fi, and Business Wi-Fi

How Trends in Wi-Fi Are Shaping Business

This white paper will examine the developments in Wi-Fi and the current market trends and forecasts. The development of new technologies promising faster and more reliable speeds will be discussed, as well as the adoption of Hotspot 2.0 technology. Business Wi-Fi, which may consist of public areas and internal corporate use, will also be reviewed. New Wi-Fi technologies are being touted as potential rivals to the now dominate mobile wireless broadband market.

The development of new technologies can have a disruptive effect on how people and businesses interaction with each other, and in the case of Wi-Fi and the Internet, these interactions are widespread. There are three main trends occurring in the Wi-Fi market, which includes Hotspot 2.0, changes to public area Wi-Fi supplied by businesses with on-site customers, and new technology (i.e. 802.11ac).

There is a shift occurring in the Wi-Fi market with the introduction of Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 technology that includes faster speeds and more reliability. Currently, the majority of Wi-Fi hotspots are viewed as best effort access to the Internet supplied by large broadband providers. Mobile phone carriers are increasingly deploying SIM-based Wi-Fi that serves as an extension of the wireless broadband network.

Changes to Wi-Fi technology may offer new opportunities for businesses to improve their own internal network coverage. In addition, companies with public area lobbies, or customer Internet use locations (e.g. cafés) will have opportunities to improve speed and reliability.

The development of 802.11ac (i.e. Gigabit Wi-Fi) is a technology that is orders of magnitude faster than current 802.11a/b/g technologies, while even surpassing 802.11n. The 802.11a/b/g technologies are being phased out for the replacement with 802.11ac, both of which operate at the 2.4 GHz frequency. 802.11n, however, operates at the 5 GHz frequency and therefore is likely to remain in use as either the sole or secondary network. The advantages and disadvantages of these shifting technologies will be examined.

The Wi-Fi market will continue to make an impact on how businesses and consumers access the Internet. With new technologies and competition, the Wi-Fi market will influence many changes.

The push by mobile carriers into the Wi-Fi market has not gone unnoticed by large broadband providers like Comcast and Time Warner, who want to development their own method to monetize and usurp some of the mobile wireless market with Hotspot 2.0 technology.

New Wi-Fi technology, along with existing internal wireless networks, is integral to the adoption of Unified Communication (UC) technology. UC allows businesses to free employees from their desktop computer and desk phone to create a completely connected mobile workforce both internally and externally. Also, customer-facing Wi-Fi should be viewed as an opportunity to connect with customers who are a willing captive audience (e.g. login splash page for access).

The increase in speed and reliability has many applications in terms of new monetization models, more widespread adoption of VoWiFi (digital voice over Wi-Fi), and a new era of competition between large broadband providers and mobile wireless carriers.