Above: ‘A Day without Wi-Fi’ – courtesy Wi-Fi Alliance.
By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
What would happen if all the Wi-Fi in the world all of a sudden disappeared? Well – it’s largely unimaginable of course, now that Wi-Fi is ingrained in so much of our world. We’re all conscious (or mostly conscious) of when we use it for personal connectivity, to connect the TV, and so on – but what about all places where it performs an invisible role?
Last week I learned that a major retail chain based in Denmark uses Wi-Fi not for personal connectivity or even enterprise networking, but for logistics tracking – and that the company has invested heavily into Wi-Fi networks just for this purpose. At our Wi-Fi NOW event in London late last year, we highlighted the role of Wi-Fi in industry and came to understand that countless factories around the world apply Wi-Fi to specialised and critical IoT-type use cases.
And those are just two examples of less obvious but important uses of Wi-Fi. In the near future, we also expect that Wi-Fi (in particular Wi-Fi 6E but also Wi-Fi 6) will become instrumental in ensuring the prospective success of mobile 5G services by providing much-needed offload capacity. Wi-Fi already carries by far the majority of phone traffic in – as far as we know – every country.
And the result of Wi-Fi everywhere? A staggering US$2 trillion of economic value is produced the world over every year. And we’ve only just started: In the US, 6 GHz Wi-Fi – which will triple the amount of spectrum available to Wi-Fi operation – has already been signed into law, and across the globe other nations are beginning to follow the FCC’s lead.
So will the global economic surplus value of Wi-Fi triple in coming years as a result of the 6 GHz band? My best bet is that it will. Indeed, the value of Wi-Fi as a technology may even quadruple – or more. We’ve only just begun what we believe is a paradigm shift in wireless. If you’re not already, this is great time to get involved in this exciting growth industry. Welcome aboard.