7 key points that will define the future of Wi-Fi
Since its birth in 1985, the Wi-Fi “industry” has grown exponentially. Although originally designed to replace Ethernet cables in local computer networks, nowadays Wi-Fi’s use is ubiquitous. Fon, a carrier Wi-Fi provider, believes that Wi-Fi has to be an integrated and customer-centric technology.
Here, Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon, highlights seven key points that will define the Wi-Fi revolution in the coming years:
- Wi-Fi Offloading will increase dramatically as mobile data traffic booms fueled by video. Cisco expects a sevenfold increase in growth of mobile data traffic by 2021, and more than 60% of traffic will be offloaded this year via Wi-Fi networks.
- Driven by carrier Wi-Fi managed hotspots, the number of hotspots will grow exponentially. The number of carrier-grade hotspots will soon outnumber other access points installed, a significant step forward for the convergence of cellular and Wi-Fi. Today there are close to 100 million hotspots globally, and Cisco expects more than 500 million by 2021.
- Leveraging Wi-Fi for neutral host deployments in highly frequented spaces. Wi-Fi infrastructure already exists in the majority of these locations, such as arenas, malls, and airports, so it will be a win-win solution for all involved parties. Host providers, mobile operators, and venue owners can all take advantage of the cost savings and the efficiency of sharing infrastructure. Wi-Fi also enables a lot of value-added services such as proximity marketing, indoor positioning, advertising, and analytics.
- Network Functions Virtualisation will impact the Wi-Fi ecosystem. The separation of Wi-Fi software from hardware functions, and provisioning from a centralised management plane, will lead to many advantages. The most sought-after benefit, service agility, will enable quick commissioning and decommissioning of new services.
- Wi-Fi will be essential for IoT connectivity. According to the WBA, during the last year, more than 85% of companies have increased the priority level of IoT on their roadmap. Wi-Fi will be the technology of choice for any higher bandwidth requirements.
- Home Wi-Fi will be the basic battleground for the Connected Home. A significant proportion of consumers are dissatisfied with the quality of their Wi-Fi connection at home. ISPs are challenged to address the issues effectively or new players will win in that field.
- The Wi-Fi disruption by over-the-top (OTT) players has only just begun. Google, Amazon, and Facebook, among others, are entering the Wi-Fi space. Through different approaches, they intend to improve overall Wi-Fi usability, use Wi-Fi to bring internet to the next billion people, and offer WiFi solutions with a customer-centric and data analytics-driven approach.
With these trends in mind, Fon has evolved its Wi-Fi Service Management Solution, providing Communications Service Providers (CSPs) with the necessary end-to-end functionality needed to deploy and manage Wi-Fi services and unlock new business potential.
The carrier-grade solution enables CSPs to deliver Wi-Fi services that are managed just like cellular and fixed services, helping them to differentiate and achieve business goals through multiple use cases, such as Wi-Fi Offload, Wi-Fi Calling, and WiFi Monetisation, and Wi-Fi as a Service, with advanced guest Wi-Fi functionalities.
On the other hand, Fon’s Enhanced Connectivity Solution allows CSPs to offer an always-best-connected experience for their users by connecting them automatically to the best network available. The solution collects valuable data, that gives operators complete visibility of network performance from the perspective of the end-consumer.
The author of this blog is Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon
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