Wi-Fi® in 2019

Wi-Fi Alliance® celebrates 20-year milestone, industry momentum continues

Austin, TX – February 21, 2019 – For two decades, Wi-Fi® has been connecting users around the world. Wi-Fi has increased speeds, enhanced capabilities, and expanded to deliver peer-to-peer connectivity and multi-gigabit performance, smart and efficient home networks, and seamless authentication and roaming. Wi-Fi has helped bridge the digital divide in underdeveloped areas, enabled more productive and flexible work environments, and opened entirely new markets because of its ability to deliver flexible, affordable connectivity. Wi-Fi will continue this momentum in 2019 with cumulative device shipments reaching 30 billion – more than 4 billion Wi-Fi devices will ship this year alone, expanding Wi-Fi’s installed base to over 13 billion.

Below is a preview of what is ahead for Wi-Fi in 2019:

  • Wi-Fi Alliance® celebrates 20 years of Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi celebrates 20 years in 2019. 2019 will be a year to reflect on the incredible success story that Wi-Fi has become as the industry celebrates #20yearsofwifi throughout the year. Twenty years ago, Wi-Fi was a nascent technology and now achieves gigabit speeds and is responsible for critical business operations around the world. Wi-Fi Alliance member companies will be celebrating Wi-Fi’s impact in 2019, introducing innovative new products, and setting the vision for the next 20 years.
  • Next generation Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi Alliance introduced new Wi-Fi terminology which has seen rapid industry adoption, particularly with the latest generation of Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi 6. In 2019, Wi-Fi 6 will begin making its way into more access points and consumer products to increase their speeds and performance – and offer improved capabilities in congested environments including stadiums and even home environments with many devices. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™ will be available later in 2019 and will be an inflection point for wide-scale adoption of Wi-Fi 6, ensuring the latest devices meet industry agreed standards for interoperability and security.  
  • Evolving Wi-Fi security: Homes and devices continue to get smarter and more feature-rich, propelled by technologies like Wi-Fi that help mobile devices interact with a range of smart home objects and bring more efficiencies and greater productivity through connected services at the office. While smart devices have become more common, users are no less concerned with securing their personal information. With greater adoption of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3™, the marketplace will begin seeing an enhanced level of security in home and enterprise networks. Public venues with open Wi-Fi networks will also get a boost with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Enhanced Open™, providing data encryption that maintains the ease of use of open networks.
  • The quest for mid-band unlicensed spectrum: Due in large part to Wi-Fi, unlicensed spectrum has become one of society’s most valuable resources. Last year, Wi-Fi contributed nearly $2 trillion in global economic value, and that number is expected to surpass $3.47 trillion by 2023. Wi-Fi plays an understated role in society but is critical to many businesses and services that users rely on every day. Additional unlicensed spectrum will be important to maintaining a good user experience with Wi-Fi devices. In 2019, Wi-Fi Alliance will continue advocating for additional unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi in both the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands and will further its global efforts to communicate the value of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance looks forward to working with policymakers and regulators around the world, in addition to groups like the U.S. congressional Wi-Fi Caucus, to ensure Wi-Fi continues to innovate and provide a good user experience for years to come.
  • Advanced Wi-Fi use cases become “reality”: In 2019, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies will start moving beyond marketing trials to broader adoption where they will begin impacting experiences in offices, sports arenas, and homes. Wi-Fi will deliver more robust AR and VR experiences, leveraging technologies like Wi-Fi 6 for higher performance and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WiGig™ for multigigabit speeds and low latency. Leveraging its inherent strengths, commitment to security, and efficient operations in unlicensed bands, Wi-Fi will continue to reinforce its ability to serve advanced use cases and to provide better throughput, lower latency, more advanced network management and optimization, and enhanced user access.
  • Whole-home, Wi-Fi coverage: As homes become increasingly more connected, Wi-Fi mesh systems have increased in popularity to deliver reliable coverage to every area of a home. A variety of vendors have introduced Wi-Fi mesh solutions, and a wave of mesh products are beginning to incorporate Wi-Fi 6 to meet the surge in home network traffic. Device vendors will leverage Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™ to bring a standards-based approach to Wi-Fi networks that utilize multiple access points, allowing greater flexibility in device choice that comes with interoperable Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ devices. New home buyers can also purchase homes that integrate professionally designed Wi-Fi networks directly into builder floorplans with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Home Design™. Enhancements to Wi-Fi Home Design™ coming in 2019 will expand the types of homes which can deliver move-in-ready Wi-Fi optimized to allow for a growing array of future smart home devices and systems.

For more information on 20 years of Wi-Fi, please visit: www.20yearsofwifi.com.

2019 Wi-Fi insights from Wi-Fi Alliance members:

“Historically speaking, most predictions miss the mark as the result of a technology in constant flux with disparate organizations and vendors driving Wi-Fi’s strategic and tactical advancements. However, there are some undeniable truths, and mine is that 2019 will be the most transformative year since Wi-Fi’s inception. The launch and embracement of Wi-Fi 6, WPA3, and the explosion of wireless IoT devices will fundamentally change the way Wi-Fi operates, how it secures, and the devices it must now support, with IoT adding a whole new generation of wireless products. Wi-Fi systems are done getting faster since networks have grown even larger and more mission critical than before. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, insightful analytics, automated onboarding, classification, control, and mitigation are now the key innovations targeted for 2019. You will see Wi-Fi advancements from Wi-Fi Alliance, as well as individual vendors including Aerohive, focused on simplifying and optimizing the operation of Wi-Fi networks. If you have been watching closely, some have already started to appear. Bottom line: Key innovations in 2019 will be solutions that leverage AI to augment, enhance and simplify the life of network administrators.” – Perry Correll, product management director, Aerohive Networks

“2019 will be the year of Wi-Fi 6 - bringing increased speed and capacity to more efficiently support the increasing density of devices in the connected home with lower latency and enhanced battery life. We expect Wi-Fi 6 to be coupled with AirTies’ solutions so operators will be able to upgrade Wi-Fi performance and coverage, proactively fix and monitor Wi-Fi issues, and improve overall customer satisfaction for the super connected homes of tomorrow.” – Metin Taskin, CTO of AirTies

“It’s taken 20 years of innovation and evolution, but consumers and businesses will experience dramatic changes this year as the Wi-Fi 6 standard unlocks new possibilities for how we stay connected. We’ll see retail shelves stocked with advanced Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers that will bring consumers multigigabit speeds to every device in every room of the home. We will see IT and enterprise decision makers upgrade their WLAN infrastructure to Wi-Fi 6 for increased efficiency, more capacity, and improved connectivity at work, in hotels, schools, and stadiums. Wi-Fi 6 access points will provide enhanced QoS to enable high-resolution, latency-sensitive video in ultra-high density user environments. ISPs will update their flagship services with Wi-Fi 6, and we’ll also see the first smartphones and tablets emerge to take advantage of new performance capabilities. Perhaps more importantly, we’ll see lab trials of 6GHz Wi-Fi 6 driving new product introductions for the second half of 2020 bringing non-collision access to new bandwidth levels. This will replace the need for any wires in the home.” – Charles Cheevers, CTO, Customer Premises Solutions at ARRIS

“There’s no doubt about it — 2019 will be the year of Wi-Fi 6. We will see a rapid rollout of the full Wi-Fi 6 ecosystem, including smartphones, routers, and access points. In fact, with the launch of the world’s first Wi-Fi 6 smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S10, 2019 is off to a great start. Consumers will experience the more immersive social media experience that they crave. It’s an exciting time for Wi-Fi!” – Vijay Nagarajan, Vice President of Marketing, Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division at Broadcom

“At Comcast, we operate the largest Wi-Fi network in the country and in 2019 will continue to be focused on enhancing and evolving our nationwide Wi-Fi network so customers will always be connected and have the best overall Wi-Fi experience for our customers. With Xfinity xFi we are helping our users change the way they Wi-Fi by offering the best speed, coverage, control, and now, security to over 15M families across the US.” – Eric Schaefer, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Xfinity Services

“I believe that in 2019, we will see the next generation of low-power Wi-Fi platforms driving IoT innovation. We have been addressing a growing demand from designers for low-latency, cloud-independent decision-making based on contextual awareness, coupled with requirements for longer battery life. This has been fueled by always-on human-machine interfaces using touch, voice, mobile apps, or environmental prompts.” – Brian Bedrosian, vice president of marketing for the IoT Compute and Wireless Business Unit at Cypress

“Since Aruba’s founding almost two decades ago, we have watched Wi-Fi evolve significantly, from its initial role as a secondary network designed to enable mobility to the mission-critical position it holds today as the primary connectivity method for billions of devices, users, and things. As we celebrate Wi-Fi’s 20th anniversary, we look back at how far this critical technology has come in terms of speed, coverage, capacity, and security, and we look ahead with excitement to the vast array of possibilities it holds for improving user experiences across all manner of industries and geographies. With developments such as Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Enhanced Open, and innovative new use cases and progress in important areas such as gaining access to additional unlicensed spectrum, the future of Wi-Fi is bright.” – Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president of wireless strategy and standards for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

“Wi-Fi will continue to evolve from a stand-alone technology to becoming an integral part of a whole ecosystem of radio technologies, each fulfilling specific requirements. In particular with regard to IoT, Wi-Fi vendors will provide solutions integrating support for other wireless systems, thus allowing users to benefit from highly integrated platforms catering for even the most diverse wireless needs.” – Jan Buis, Vice President Business Development, LANCOM Systems

“We’d like to congratulate Wi-Fi Alliance on 20 successful years of revolutionizing wireless connectivity and driving standardization across the whole industry. As a founding member and leader in Wi-Fi technologies, Marvell is also celebrating our success in providing state-of-the-art solutions and technologies to our customers and the Wi-Fi community. We are looking forward to another 20 years of continued collaboration with Wi-Fi Alliance in bringing secure and higher performing technologies, such as Wi-Fi 6, to market.” – Mark Montierth, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at Marvell Semiconductor

"NETGEAR, a pioneer of Wi-Fi technology, has been at the forefront of each generational transition of Wi-Fi and expects 2019 to big a big year for the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 products. We are excited to help drive adoption this year and enable the increased capacity and bandwidth of Wi-Fi 6 networks." – David Henry, senior vice president of Connected Home Products for NETGEAR

“The past two decades of Wi-Fi have brought about many transformations and the best is yet to come. 2019 marks the beginning of a new era of wireless connectivity as Wi-Fi 6 takes performance, capacity and efficiency at range to new levels and 60 GHz Wi-Fi gains momentum, harnessing unlicensed mmWave spectrum to deliver unprecedented double digit gigabit speeds and imperceptible latencies. As a global leader in the shipment of Wi-Fi enabled products, we look forward to continuing our longstanding support of Wi-Fi Alliance driven technology advancements and to providing our customers with next generation Wi-Fi toolkits for a new era in connected experiences,” – Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“Wi-Fi has constantly evolved over the past 20 years, serving the ever-growing need for faster speeds and more reliable connectivity. For 2019, we see Wi-Fi 6 becoming mainstream by making use of advanced features such as 8-stream MIMO and multi-user MIMO. The next big innovation will happen with the opening of 6 GHz spectrum that will add a lot of unobstructed spectrum for Wi-Fi, allowing for even higher performance and quality of service.” – Ambroise Popper, VP of Strategy & Corporate Marketing, Quantenna


About Wi-Fi Alliance®
Wi-Fi Alliance® is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience. Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 45,000 Wi-Fi certifications. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval designates products with proven interoperability, backward compatibility, and the highest industry-standard security protections in place. Today, Wi-Fi carries more than half of the internet’s traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi Alliance continues to drive the adoption and evolution of Wi-Fi, which billions of people rely on every day.

Media contacts: 
Andrea Torres
Highwire PR for Wi-Fi Alliance
+1-415-963-4174 ext. 13