Many people are surprised to learn that wireless networking isn’t a new technology; it’s been around for over 100 years, starting with the wireless telegraph in 1907. Today wireless networks have become a ubiquitous part of modern communication systems, radar systems, and two-factor authentication.
Christopher Grammer, Director of Solution Architects at Computex, explains that the development of wireless owes much of its progress to the world wars. “After the television, we went through a period of the major world wars, which enabled a lot of communication progress because they needed the progress,” Grammer explains.
Currently, enterprises are using wireless communications based on the 802.1AX standard. However, in the future, wireless technology could extend from its current use cases to become a Vehicle-to-everything (V2X), becoming a requirement for all cars, long-range wireless power, low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, and wireless sensing.
The 802.11 Standard
The technological advancements made during the world wars were critical to the development of wireless technology. “Grammer says that “the necessity to communicate on the battlefield” was the mother of all progress leading to the 802.11 standard.”
802.11 is a standard set up by the IEEE to unify the specifications and requirements necessary for a wireless network. The 802.11 standard comes in many forms, such as the 802.11AX standard used today.
802.11AX delivers 1.1 Gbs of throughput at a 150-foot range, and 4.8 Gbs at a 50-foot range. The connection speeds provided by the 802.11AX standard have been instrumental in building wifi networks and supporting the digital services that enterprises rely on each day.
The Future of Wireless: 5G
Despite the progress made, WiFi is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of emerging communication technologies. Emerging technologies like 5G promise to redefine mobile connectivity and augment the wireless experience while delivering speeds competitive with WiFi.
According to Grammer, 5G is “the fifth generation of cellular,” which delivers “a lot of throughput for mobile phones.” The speed of 5G means that within 1 mile of a 5G tower, users will be able to get between 1-20 Gbs of throughput, 1-3 Gbps if 3-4 miles away, and 30-250 Mbs within a 10-mile radius.
It’s important not to underestimate the disruptive nature of 5G, as it enables enterprises to connect everything from mobile phones to laptops, tablets, and IoT devices to a high-speed internet service.
Are WiFi’s Days Numbered?
Wifi is still evolving, and while 5G threatens to be a disruptive influence for enterprises, the development of Wifi 6 and the broader push toward V2X will grant companies more communication options than ever before.
The increased speed and low latency of new WiFi solutions will secure its status as a solid choice for enterprises for the foreseeable future. Over the next five years or so technologies like 5G and WiFi will not only coexist, but co-evolve together and redefine the end-user experience.