Wi-Fi Alliance® spoke to several member companies at #CES2020 earlier this month and identified some of the biggest Wi-Fi® trends expected in the coming year. Below is the top list of Wi-Fi trends according to our members. You can watch the full video predicting the 2020 Wi-Fi trends here.
In the past 20 years, Wi-Fi rapidly evolved to meet the needs of both consumers and businesses. Wi-Fi has proved to be a revolutionary technology, enabling innovators to innovate and achieve amazing feats that would have been unimaginable before Wi-Fi. Looking ahead to 2020, Wi-Fi Alliance® expects this year will continue to build on the amazing Wi-Fi achievements of the past two decades. Below are eight of the most exciting Wi-Fi trends expected this year according to our member companies.
1.Wi-Fi 6 products proliferate
Since Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ was announced in September 2019, companies have quickly gone to market with new products. In 2020, that trend will continue, with CommScope predicting “we’re going to see a lot more Wi-Fi 6 devices, both in the core gateway, the core AP and also in the extenders in the home.” Intel agrees: “Wi-Fi 6 is going to explode. We’re forecasting about quadruple or even quintuple, 5X growth in our Wi-Fi 6 shipments this year. We’re going to continue to see that trend in clients, as well as APs.”
Qualcomm predicts enterprise Wi-Fi 6 deployments will increase dramatically in 2020, also stating “we’ll be seeing a lot of 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, launches in the year from the client side, which is handsets, PCs and many other things.”
The average consumer will soon experience greater benefits of Wi-Fi 6. AirTies forecasts, “Wi-Fi 6 is the biggest change in the home networks next year and the impact for the consumer experience is going to be being able to support very demanding applications, like virtual reality, online gaming and really fast internet access. Wi-Fi 6 enables us to provide the best consumer experience over Wi-Fi.”
2.Wi-Fi 6E in 6 GHz
One of the most exciting developments in Wi-Fi in 2020 is its potential expansion into the 6 GHz band. This portion of unlicensed spectrum may soon be made available for Wi-Fi use by regulators around the world, providing necessary real estate for Wi-Fi to continue to deliver innovation and valuable contributions to individual consumers, businesses, as well as economies.
In January 2020, Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wi-Fi 6E to identify devices that offer the higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates of Wi-Fi 6 extended into the 6 GHz band. The announcement was followed by Wi-Fi Alliance members like Broadcom and Celeno highlighting new Wi-Fi 6E products that will be available as quickly as the regulatory landscape permits.
Intel predicts Wi-Fi 6E will see explosive growth in 2020. “We’ll see the advancement of Wi-Fi 6E. We’re really excited for that as well. Wi-Fi’s going to continue to evolve to meet and exceed the expectations of a lot of people.”
3.Evolving WPA3™ security
Privacy and data security have grown in importance as people take more and more of their daily lives online. WPA3 – the latest Wi-Fi security – will become mandatory for all new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ products. This will help ensure Wi-Fi devices keep pace with the evolving security landscape.
Linksys expects security to continue to be a primary consideration for companies as they develop new Wi-Fi products throughout 2020. As Linksys notes, “…we do expect to see WPA3 to take a wider adoption in 2020, and we’re also going to be driving that trend.”
4.Wi-Fi as infrastructure for mission critical applications
ASSIA, predicts Wi-Fi will become a more stable and accepted infrastructure for mission and life critical applications. Expect to see Wi-Fi as the preferred technology to power operations that are essential for businesses, including database systems and process control servers in large corporations, electric power grid systems, and even first responder communications systems.
5.Wi-Fi for ambient computing applications
Wi-Fi is expected to become a foundation for an emerging concept in the tech space: ambient computing. According to ASSIA, this means “context and behavior aware devices and network interactions.” Wi-Fi will continue to enable many different applications, and Wi-Fi users will live in a more intelligent homes with many “smart” experiences because of Wi-Fi.
With ambient computing, ASSIA predicts Wi-Fi will provide the platform to link information across devices consumers already own. As a result, online services will be seamlessly integrated with your smartphone, television, and even appliances for a consistent experience at home, at work, or on the go.
6.Expanded Passpoint® deployments in public spaces
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint® streamlines access to Wi-Fi hotspots in public places by eliminating the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they connect. Seamless Wi-Fi connectivity is becoming more and more of a consumer expectation.
While Passpoint solutions have existed for several years, Boingo predicts that in 2020 they will expand even more. Boingo “has been pushing Passpoint technology across all of our venues, and we’re going to continue to push that and advance the seamless connectivity that consumers have at airports, stadiums, military bases, and other locations that we serve” in 2020.
7.Wi-Fi improves healthcare
Wi-Fi has revolutionized internet access at home and in the workplace. Wi-Fi is now poised to move further into the world of healthcare and is set to play a larger role in improving our fitness and overall well-being. Comcast predicts, “we’re at an amazing crossroads of Wi-Fi and healthcare, with what we’re wearing on our wrists to what the technology will eventually be sensing in our homes. I think it’s going to bring endless possibilities in the healthcare space.”
8.Wi-Fi Aware™ powers drones in the sky
Wi-Fi Aware allows for proximity-based discovery, enabling applications to discover each other when they are within a certain range without the need for network infrastructure. Because Wi-Fi Aware does not require an infrastructure connection, it opens the door for many innovative, new interactions.
In 2020, DJI is expecting to pioneer the use of Wi-Fi Aware in drones because of its capability of acting as a remote ID solution. As drones become more prevalent, DJI notes that “it is more critical than ever to consider the safety and security of the airspace.”
Watch the 2020 Wi-Fi trends video here. Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to see what 2020 will bring for Wi-Fi. Are you ready for the journey?
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