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What To Expect From Wi-Fi
You’ve likely started seeing a variety of potential new standards popping up in news about new Wi-Fi protocols, but a clear winner has yet to emerge as the standard that will support a new generation of connected devices. In fact, there may be a tie of multiple “winners” in the end.
Building on the 802.11ac standard and SU-MIMO with beamforming, Wave 2 802.11ac is expected to support the transition of spatial streams to multiple devices simultaneously. “Very soon (less than two years), 802.11ac will be available in all but the lowest-cost Wi-Fi devices,” Finneran says. “It just means that IT directors will need to be budgeting for new access points, but also for upgrades to the wired infrastructure to support those higher air link capacities. Thanks to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi is one of the great success stories in technology.”
Beyond this standard, look for 802.11ax to multiply wireless speeds to significantly greater degrees. In addition, the 802.11ad certification, designed to enable “WiGig”-certified devices, will operate within the low-latency 60GHz frequency band.
Peter Crocker, founder and principal analyst at Smith’s Point Analytics, says “the reality is that Wi-Fi will be part of 5G, and it’s going to bring together a bunch of different transport technologies from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi to LTE and 3G, making all these things work together.”
In terms of truly understanding your environment and what wireless networks are available in the future, Crocker says “leveraging the best networks to do what you’re trying to do requires context, analytics, and intelligence. It’s very evolutionary and not revolutionary because you have to experiment and see what works. It’s not going to be big changes right away, but five years from now the experience will be unrecognizable from today.”
He also cites WebRTC technology, “which allows two computers to exchange real-time data and voice,” as another technology that will impact the enterprise.
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