WiFi Trends 2023
We unpack the latest trends in wireless internet technology
Is WiFi a basic human right? The idea isn’t as odd as you might think…
In 2011, the United Nations stated that it believed disconnecting people from the internet represented a violation of human rights.
In 2019, Jeremy Corbyn, then-leader of the Labour Party, promoted a policy of “broadband for all” as part of his election campaign, citing the internet as a basic utility.
Then, in 2021, Martin O’Malley, an early contender for the Democrat presidential candidacy, alluded to an increasing belief that “WiFi is a human right”.
If so, a large proportion of the world’s population is still being denied this basic right, while in developed markets, the ubiquity of WiFi certainly means it is increasingly taken for granted.
And although WiFi is simply an enabling technology for hundreds of millions of people – a service they glimpse only briefly as they head online – it has become an indispensable one. And as WiFi matures and penetration increases, it offers a string of high-growth opportunities. Here are just seven to consider:
1. 5G network rollout
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology and will bring with it a major change to the mobile landscape.
The increased user-end speed delivered by the 5G network will mean that daily tasks like remote working, file sharing and communication will be vastly improved.
2. Enhanced 4G
For those of us with devices not 5G-ready, enhanced 4G offers users a better experience when streaming or downloading. It also has improved performance in terms of latency, meaning that there will be less delay when sending or receiving data.
3. WiFi sensing
WiFi sensing is the ability of devices to detect the presence of WiFi networks and gather information about them. This information can be used to determine the location, the type and the number of devices connected to the network.
This can enable people to find available WiFi networks in their area and also to help businesses understand how their customers are using WiFi and to troubleshoot WiFi problems.
4. Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)
This is a type of wireless network that is designed to enable devices to communicate with each other over long distances using very little power.
LPWANs are often used in applications where devices need to be able to communicate with each other over long distances, but where power is limited, such as in sensor networks. They are also well suited to applications where data needs to be transmitted over long distances, as they can cover much larger areas than other types of wireless networks.
5. Software defined radio
A software defined radio is a wireless device that can receive and transmit radio signals using software instead of hardware. This enables it to be reconfigured to support different standards and frequencies, making it a versatile tool for radio enthusiasts and experimenters.
6. IoT growth
Internet of Things (IoT) environments, including homes with dozens or more connected devices and industrial settings, continue to drive demand for high capacity, low latency WiFi. This is pushing the WiFi community to adopt new features and add capabilities to its solutions.
7. Digital divide
The digital divide manifests itself in many different ways, often creating inequalities that must be addressed long term.
For example, limited access to education and public services risks excluding vulnerable groups of society, so many WiFi companies are aiming to combat this, trying to bring quality, secure WiFi connections to all communities.