'Don't overlook Wi-Fi amid 5G hype', businesses warned

'Don't overlook Wi-Fi amid 5G hype', businesses warned

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The chief executive of networking firm Cisco has warned businesses that they should not be overlooking new developments in the Wi-Fi industry due to an overly-narrow focus on 5G technology.

In a keynote address at the recent Mobile World Congress trade show in Spain, Cisco's Chuck Robbins said enterprises and wireless network operators need to find ways to ensure that developments such as Wi-Fi 6 are still at the heart of networks and are able to integrate and work together with 5G cellular solutions, Light Reading reports.

"WiFi 6 and 5G are made to work together," he told the audience, but acknowledged that so far, the industry has not done a good enough job of achieving this.

Mr Robbins argued that businesses will need to find a way to leverage both WiFi and 5G as they work to connect employees and IoT systems to increasingly complex and crowded wireless networks.

For example, when it comes to security, users will want to be able to apply a single policy that covers both Wi-Fi and 5G solutions, rather than having to manage two separate systems for each technology. 

However, Light Reading noted he is not the only expert calling for a greater focus on Wi-Fi and what role it will have to play in a 5G-enabled future.

Claus Hetting, chief executive of WiFi advocacy group WiFi Now, recently observed there will be some scenarios where Wi-Fi 6 is much better suited to delivering wireless services than 5G.

He noted, for instance, the virtual reality applications will be much easier to deploy via Wi-Fi than relying on cellular networks.

"Why spend billions when you can do the same with a low-cost router and fibre broadband," he wrote on Twitter.

Despite emphasising the need to keep Wi-Fi at the forefront of thinking, Mr Robbins did note the transformative effect 5G is set to have once it goes live, adding: "The hype is going to be reflected by the reality."

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