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The Future of Wi-Fi: Trends That Could Shape the Future of India With the introduction of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, the advancement of Internet connectivity will elevate further

By Marthesh Nagendra

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In today's age and time, the Internet plays a major role in one's everyday life. Our country is moving towards digitization and has proven to be a front-runner when it comes to Internet users and its usability. We have come to a point where it can be reasonably argued that Wi-Fi has become essential part of our life along with food, water and shelter. Just as every person needs to have access to the basic elements that support life, Internet connectivity is now considered a must-have by people from all walks of life.

Deployment of 4G technology has brought cellular performances to unmatched levels of data speed, coverage, mobility and security. With the introduction of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, the advancement of Internet connectivity will elevate further, the use of these technologies will play a dominant role in the way people work, watch and play.

According the recent report by Gartner, around 8.4 billion connected things would be in use worldwide this year, with that number reaching 20.4 billion by 2020. A significant number of these connected devices are an integral part of our daily lives, or play an essential role in ensuring our safety and well-being.

Today, you can find Wi-Fi networks just about anywhere, whether homes, offices, shopping malls or public spaces. In India, majorly people are shifting to Wi-Fi enabled devices more as it provides higher speed and better connectivity. According to a recent study, it is estimated that India is having close to 600 million consumer devices which are being used for communication, productivity, entertainment and other smart and connected use cases.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a technology that uses radio waves to allow you to wirelessly connect to the Internet.

You knew that, but did you know that the term "Wi-Fi" is a trademark by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit organization that makes sure that Wi-Fi products meet the IEEE's 802.11 wireless standards? The IEEE (pronounced "I Triple E') is a technical organization that is the "trusted voice for engineering, computing and technology information around the globe".

In short, the IEEE sets wireless standards, and the Wi-Fi Alliance ensures that companies make products that meet those standards. The first wireless protocol set by the IEEE was released in 1997, and they named it "802.11'. By 1999, that protocol was upgraded to what was called 802.11b. In 2009, the main protocol used was 802.11n, and then in 2013, it was called 802.11ac. Now, in 2019, the newest protocol falls under the standard called 802.11ax.

Think all of these are confusing and difficult to remember? The Wi-Fi Alliance thought so too, that's why they recently introduced a new generational naming system. So, 802.11n is now called Wi-Fi 4, 802.11ac is now known as Wi-Fi 5, and 802.11ax is now known as, you guessed it, Wi-Fi 6.

As all of these standards and protocols progress, so generally do the strength, efficiency and throughput of the Wi-Fi network.

With the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, governments and businesses are hopeful it will pave the way for an efficient flow of communication with the rest of the world. Before we begin, let's understand what these emerging technologies are all about and why they're exciting for the future of Internet-of-Things (IoT).

The Future: Wi-Fi 6 Technology

Wi-Fi 6 uses OFDMA, which is Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, which can divide a wireless channel into many sub-channels. Each sub-channel can then carry data for different devices, which battles congestion. Moreover, Wi-Fi 6 also uses improved MU-MIMO, Multiple User Multiple In/Multiple Out. This means it uses multiple antennas to talk to multiple channels at once, allowing the router to not only talk to multiple devices at once, but also allows those devices to respond at the same time.

The Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) empowers you with faster Wi-Fi speeds with reliable connections, so you can enjoy buffer-free streaming, faster downloads, and add more smart home devices without slowing down your Internet experience. It also provided better coverage and, more importantly, has the power and capacity to handle the dozens of devices in the typical congested smart home.

Given that Wi-Fi 6 is on its way to transforming the way we interact and do business. Some of the key elements include providing the highest level of performance in busy multi-device households and provides the fastest real-world speeds and range.

The 5G Era

Recently we have seen the Wi-Fi networks dominating the country all over. The next-generation mobile network is designed to deepen the roots of networking by offering higher speeds than the currently available LTE speed. The 5G networks will simplify mobility with seamless open roaming capabilities between cellular and Wi-Fi access.

The 5G network is expected to help power a massive rise in mobility and the IoT ecosystem providing the necessary tools the infrastructure needs to carry vast amounts of data that would allow for a sharper, smarter, safer and more connected world

With all of the smart devices being used daily in homes across the world, WiFi has truly had to evolve to meet our growing needs. WiFi not only allows us access to entertainment, education, and research, it also has increased our household conveniences and comforts.

Marthesh Nagendra

Country manager India, Middle East & SAARC, NETGEAR

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