Wi-Fi 'still essential' in 5G era, industry body says

Wi-Fi 'still essential' in 5G era, industry body says

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There will still be a strong need for Wi-Fi connectivity in homes and businesses in the coming years, despite the expected emergence of high-speed 5G mobile capabilities, one industry group has stated in a new study.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has released its 'Next generation Wi-Fi: The future of connectivity' report, which states that 5G will be a complementary technology to Wi-Fi rather than a replacement, as Wi-Fi remains the only technology to deliver the "unique blend of characteristics" that users have come to expect from their connectivity.

It said that new developments to the standard, such as the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, will broaden the technology's ability to deliver advanced use cases, while maintaining the inherent strengths that have made it so successful over the past 20 years.

Edgar Figueroa, president and chief executive at the Wi-Fi Alliance, said: "Excitement around new technologies will come and go, and meanwhile, Wi-Fi maintains its strong track record and commitment to core competencies that will continue to deliver mission critical connectivity and to carry the bulk of the world’s data traffic."

The report highlights five key advantages of Wi-Fi that will ensure the technology continues to be relevant for years to come.

These include its ability to deliver affordable performance, its use of unlicensed spectrum, the simplicity of deployment, ease of use, and its long-term compatibility.

Wi-Fi will also be the primary connectivity choice for many advanced use cases in situations such as connected homes, connected enterprises, the Internet of Things, smart cities, and public venues.

Meanwhile, new low-power developments such as Wi-Fi HaLow are opening up new opportunities for deployments in power-efficient applications such as connected car, digital healthcare, and industrial scenarios.

Commenting on the report, Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president of wireless strategy and standards for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said: "Wi-Fi is in a unique position as the ideal connectivity medium to support a wide range of emerging, innovative, next-generation use cases, including those expected from 5G." 

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