The evolution of Wi-Fi as a primary necessity of life, Wi-Fi as a killer app!?
Our basic needs are changing
In this day and age, it is completely normal to have access to Heat, Water, Electricity, and Food. We cannot imagine a day without these basic needs. With a push of the button we create light in darkness, turn on fire in the kitchen, and heat water to make tea. However, new to these basic needs is Wi-Fi (technical term ‘Wireless’).
Wi-Fi used be considered a gadget, yet nowadays it is a ‘business application’. Like the other four necessities of life, we cannot imagine spending an hour, let alone a day, without it. It has become an integral part of our daily lives.
What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is a wireless IP technology which allows people to communicate with each other. The increasing system capacity and data speed has helped integration with the internet, allowing people on moving objects (think cars, planes, and boats) to access their corporate networks, download games or play them online, and find information about their trip, such as traffic information or route changes.
Traditional circuit-switched wireless networks are evolving into wireless IP networks, which are better suited to support the fast growing mobile data and multimedia applications. IP technologies, like mobile IP, are the most promising solutions currently available.
The birth of Wi-Fi
The story of Wi-Fi begins in the late 1990s when the IEEE 802.11 standard was introduced. The first Wi-Fi devices operated on the 802.11a and 802.11b standards. They offered wireless connectivity but at relatively modest data rates compared to what we have today.
Going mainstream with 802.11g and 802.11n
The early 2000s witnessed a significant leap in Wi-Fi technology with the arrival of 802.11g. This standard allowed for faster data rates and more reliable connections. It was followed by 802.11n, which introduced Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, improving both speed and range. Suddenly, streaming and online gaming became accessible to a wider audience.
Dual-Band and MIMO
The introduction of dual-band routers enabled users to operate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, reducing interference and improving performance. MIMO technology, which used multiple antennas to transmit and receive data simultaneously, further boosted Wi-Fi's capabilities. These developments made buffering and slow connections a thing of the past.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) - A game changer
Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, marked a new era in wireless connectivity. It offered gigabit-level speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity to accommodate the ever-growing demand for wireless devices. This standard was designed to handle smart homes, IoT devices, and the rapid proliferation of mobile technology.
Wi-Fi 6E and the spectrum expansion
Building on the success of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E took things a step further by utilizing the 6GHz band, offering even more bandwidth and reduced interference. This provided a solution to the congestion problems faced by many networks in densely populated areas.
Wi-Fi 7 is on the horizon. This next-generation Wi-Fi is expected to introduce groundbreaking innovations, including faster speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability. It promises to further revolutionize how we connect and communicate.
What does the future of Wi-Fi look like?
Advanced mobile data and multimedia applications such as MMS, real time online games, Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN and VoIP conversations), and audio and video advertisements to mobile phone users (such as wireless IP radio and video on demand) will rapidly increase in the future. New IP broadcasting techniques such as DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds) will make it possible to bring broadcast services to mobile handhelds.
However, the grow of the advanced mobile data and applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP)(VoWLAN) will drastically increase the compression of the wireless network. Wireless IP can thus become a killer. Which is why it is important to make certain that wireless IP networks are future proof and capable of dealing with this increase without congestions or other problems.
In other words, these networks should be monitored (for instance by using QoS parameters or other specific protocols) and set up with enough bandwidth to be able to support all these services. Wireless networks and their IP technologies should continuously be evaluated and evolved.
The traffic flow on wireless broadband is becoming more and more IP!