Wi-Fi accessibility and services continue to boom as more people around the world are connected to the internet than ever before. The B2B research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates that the size of the Wi-Fi market will hit $15.60 billion by 2022 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2 percent. This is up significantly from $5.96 billion in 2017.
In its press release, Top 10 Wireless Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond, Gartner says that Wi-Fi will continue to be the “primary high-performance networking technology for homes and offices through 2024,” and that the technology will continue to take on new roles.
Each year brings a new array of advances, issues, and trends, and 2019 has been no exception. To better understand what the future may hold, let’s first understand what’s been happening so far this year in the world of cellular connectivity and Wi-Fi.
A Gartner survey revealed that 66 percent of organizations plan to implement 5G by 2020 and that communications within the Internet of Things (IoT) will its primary use; 59 percent of surveyed companies reported that they’ll use it for this purpose.
The next-most-common use is video, with 53 percent of respondents reporting this priority with the adoption of the fifth-generation cellular network technology. Gartner predicts that the full deployment of 5G will take five to eight years, but some cellular systems are already starting to use it in 2019 and into 2020.
McKinsey estimates that there are 127 new devices connected to the internet every second around the globe. Additionally, the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that the IoT has the potential to bring $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion in economic value by 2025.
Aside from just the IoT, more Americans are getting cellphones as well as other connected devices. Pew Research found that 96 percent of Americans have a cellphone of some kind, and smartphone ownership is at 81 percent. Almost three-quarters of adults own a desktop or laptop, and around half own an e-reader.
On top of the already expanding smartphone and tablet market, the IoT has brought a wide range of new devices that continue to gain traction, including smartwatches and other wearables and smart home devices. With all the devices out there trying to connect, both personal and enterprise Wi-Fi networks are seeing more traffic and density at any given time than ever before.
The new IEEE 8011.ax standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6, will soon be implemented on a wide scale. While internet access will be faster using Wi-Fi 6, the most significant impacts will be seen around greater security and the density of devices that network routers can handle, according to CNET. This new Wi-Fi standard makes it easier and more efficient for routers and other connected devices to send and receive signals.
Wi-Fi 6 was “officially” rolled out in mid-September 2019, just before the iPhone 11 launch. Wi-Fi 6 had already been around and deployed by certain companies, however; the announcement signified that the Wi-Fi Alliance launched its certification program (meaning that brands can soon advertise that their products support Wi-Fi 6).
The alliance says that Wi-Fi 6 delivers almost four times the capacity of Wi-Fi 5, which means it can better support a wide variety of devices and applications on a network at the same time. It will also be able to deliver better coverage for 5G service.
Last year, the Wi-Fi Alliance introduced WPA3, an upgrade to Wi-Fi security that aims to improve protections in both personal and enterprise networks. New features focus on simplifying security, enhancing authentication, and delivering greater cryptographic strength for more sensitive data markets.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, all Wi-Fi certified devices are still required to use WPA2 while WPA3 is being adopted—but WPA3 will eventually become mandatory security for all devices.
As Wi-Fi standards change to keep up with new devices, security considerations, and cellular tech rollouts like 5G, make sure you’re deploying the latest tools and technologies to maintain the health of your network. 7SIGNAL offers a variety of wireless network monitoring services to ensure that your network is continuously high-performing and reliable.
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