Wi-Fi® is a critical complement to cellular, with its own unique advantages
Wi-Fi carries more than half of today’s mobile data traffic and will continue to complement cellular – LTE or 5G – networks to serve critical business operations. Wi-Fi and 5G are strong complements in many next generation connectivity scenarios. For example, the future of the digitally connected car will depend on a combination of cellular data services and in-vehicle Wi-Fi capabilities. The connected car might use in-vehicle Wi-Fi for connectivity between riders and streaming infotainment services, while the car itself may rely on 5G for vehicle-to-vehicle communication with someone in their carpool or to maintain a connection to cloud navigation services while driving down the highway. Wi-Fi and 5G together will accelerate next generation connectivity trends, but next generation use cases may require capabilities that are unique to one or the other. In particular, Wi-Fi 6 has a strong set of powerful advantages, and Wi-Fi’s overall inherent strengths like affordability, ubiquity, and ease of use make it the most compelling choice for certain use cases. Three areas where Wi-Fi brings a strong value proposition include indoor networking, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and dense public deployments.
Wi-Fi will continue to be a predominant technology for home and business environments1 because it is affordable, easy to maintain and update, and has the ability to scale to accommodate multiple access points to serve more users. Indoors, Wi-Fi can accommodate large numbers of devices, and technologies including Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E provide higher data rates, greater capacity, efficiency, and coverage for the network. Wi-Fi 6 provides the foundation for a host of current and emerging indoor uses – from streaming ultra high-definition movies to video conferencing and other business applications requiring high bandwidth and low latency. Wi-Fi also provides a robust connection with the ability to penetrate walls. Wi-Fi 6 now includes advanced features and delivers enhanced performance for emerging applications such as virtual and augmented reality.
Wi-Fi offers advantages over cellular for IoT use cases. Wi-Fi is today’s technology of choice to connect users to the internet and is an obvious choice when considering IoT technologies that connect devices to the internet and to each other. Wi-Fi already plays a foundational role in home networks and provides pervasive connectivity that is readily available around the world. IoT devices often need to send significant amounts of information each day and cellular data plans may limit this ability. Wi-Fi is extremely cost-effective to deploy and there are no cost limitations on the amount of data transferred. It is also simplistic and easy to use. Today’s Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E offer a greater level of sophistication which impact both network efficiency as well as diagnostics, management, and optimization of IoT networks. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E include the strongest, enterprise-grade security protections with WPA3™, allowing IoT networks to affordably connect multiple devices in a home or office. Additionally, for IoT devices that require a high volume of data to be transferred in real time, such as with video security systems, Wi-Fi 6 provides the necessary speeds, capacity, and performance and is available today.
Dense public deployments
Wi-Fi 6 has strong advantages for delivering high-density wireless services in public environments like concert venues and stadiums. Wi-Fi brings quality connectivity in locations with hundreds or thousands of connected devices, and Wi-Fi 6 helps ensure each connected device performs at an optimum level. Wi-Fi 6 delivers higher data rates, enabling a large number of connected users to more quickly access the network without lag time. Wi-Fi 6 also offers unprecedented capacity, allowing users in crowded environments to perform demanding applications while still receiving good Wi-Fi quality. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E help deliver the optimal “fan experience”, and connectivity improvements during Super Bowl LVI were attributed to deployment of the latest Wi-Fi.2
Where and how users, enterprises, and network managers deploy Wi-Fi or 5G will likely depend on the use case, and Wi-Fi offers clear advantages for indoor networking, IoT applications, and dense public deployments. Wi-Fi is affordable and ubiquitous and is continually evolving to meet the connectivity demands of today and tomorrow.
2 RCR Wireless News, March 29 20002, ‘Technology saved the game,’ Extreme Networks on the digitalization of the NFL
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