If there is one thing that’s ubiquitous in today’s society, it’s Wi-Fi. Whether at home, at school, or in the grocery store, chances are, you have access to Wi-Fi.
Because we’ve become so used to having access to the Wi-Fi wherever we happen to be, it’s easy to forget that the technology is actually relatively new, and still developing all the time. In fact, there are new developments happening regularly, and the Wi-Fi of today is likely to only be a distant memory in just a few short years.
It might be hard to imagine how Wi-Fi will change in the next few years, but these are some of the things in the works that will change Wi-Fi and how we use it in the not too distant future.
The Future of Routers
Most home Wi-Fi relies on routers, which have gotten progressively larger over the years in an effort to pack in the technology that allows the device to send as strong a signal as possible from a single location. Depending on where the router is located in the home, the construction of the home, and how many devices are using the Wi-Fi, that signal can be strong and reliable, or slow to nonexistent and spotty.
New Wi-Fi routers that offer an option called Mesh Wi-Fi could change that for the average user. Instead of blasting Wi-Fi from a single spot, mesh systems use a system where one small router is connected to the broadband modem, and additional “receivers” are placed around the home to provide additional signal. The result is Wi-Fi that is consistent and high quality – even if it’s not as fast as other routers. For most users, the system is adequate though, and eliminates the issue of Wi-Fi working great in one room and terribly in another.
Wi-Fi Will Become Even More Important for Mobile Users
Wi-Fi access is already a key concern for mobile customers, who vastly prefer to use Wi-Fi signals over their plan’s data allowances. In fact, many providers are already using data offloading of mobile traffic to Wi-Fi signals to improve reliability and reduce congestion on cellular networks. However, mobile users are increasingly expecting better Wi-Fi experiences on their mobile devices, especially indoors. Therefore, indoor Wi-Fi coverage is going to continue to improve, as will the ability to seamlessly and automatically connect to the best Wi-Fi networks on a mobile device.
Different Wi-Fi for Different Purposes
Currently, Wi-Fi typically comes in a one-size-fits-all format. In other words, the Wi-Fi used for a mobile device is the same as used for a laptop is the same as the Wi-Fi on a desktop. As more devices come to rely on Wi-Fi as the Internet of Things expands, the need for different types of Wi-Fi is increasing. Already, we are seeing several different versions of Wi-Fi becoming available, each designed with a different frequency and range to best meet the demands of specific devices. For instance, IoT devices like smart TVs and other appliances might rely on Wi-Fi that has more power but less range, while the longer-range White-Fi signals will be further reaching to better serve mobile devices, albeit with slightly less speed and power. It won’t be long before users will be able to select the Wi-Fi frequency that works best for a specific device, improving overall performance.
Public Wi-Fi Will Improve
Public Wi-Fi his often viewed as a stopgap measure, given its often unreliable performance and security concerns. Public Wi-Fi is constantly improving, and many providers are improving their infrastructures to better meet customer demands and expectations. As part of this improvement, many businesses are outsourcing Wi-Fi network development to service providers, who are better equipped to not only expand Wi-Fi networks, but provide the service and infrastructure required to improve Wi-Fi coverage.
Some of the changes to Wi-Fi in the future are simply unimaginable. Who knows what connectivity will look like in 10, 15, or 20 years from now. For now, these are some of the major changes and trends we can expect, which will set the stage for even more growth and improvement in the future.