February 11, 2016 — There is more and more progress, on almost a daily basis, on the Wi’s — the many flavors of Wi-Fi — such as WiGig. That is music to my ears. That means that the Wi’s are proving to be a solid platform, and the industry is confident in its resiliency and ability to be a significant part of the wireless infrastructure of tomorrow.
And it should be. Flavors are gaining traction – enterprise, carrier, private and public networks (although the carriers would prefer it to go away in favor of LTE-U), and evolutions such as WiGig.
Wi-Fi is the original, perfect small cell. It is now emerging, big time, in the 5 GHz band, and that band is fast becoming the frequency of choice for the enterprise. Both Apple and Cisco are supporting that in a big way because that band has some breathing room.
Intel and Qualcomm are working on the new WiGig interoperability. That is very good news. And, since it is two industry giants, one can pretty much count on it going forward. This means that the 802.11ad standard is solid and soon, we can see WiGig devices that will, seamlessly, communicate with each other at speeds of up to 4.6 Gbps.
That has enormous ramifications. Now the Starbucks where you, mostly, get a paltry rate of 16 Mbps – 32 Mbps (yes, seems that is their motive to get you out of there) can really be working hotspots. So can many other similar environments. But, the real gains from this will be seen in networks in places like hospitals, city centers, malls, campuses and so many other environments – for both business and consumer.
Wi-Fi calling is starting to gain some traction. Although it has a ways to go, 2016 looks like the year it will get some of the problems ironed out and see MNOs deciding how to implement it.
Another challenge that has plagued Wi-Fi, rather relentlessly is how to make money off of it. once you go free, it’s hard to go back to charging without a really attractive reasons. So carriers, MNOs, and others (venue operators) are starting to come up with new and creative business models that will directly monetize free Wi-Fi service. Ideas include such options as sponsored access, advertising based on the user’s profile, and present location, and culling information from Big Data analytics to target user’s revenue.