Marking a wireless network industry milestone, the Wi-Fi Alliance on January 5, announced that more than 12 billion Wi-Fi products have been shipped worldwide to date. Moreover, the industry association expects Wi-Fi shipments will surpass 15 billion come year-end 2016.
With more than 6.8 billion devices installed, Wi-Fi is one of the most prolific technologies in history, the Alliance highlights in a news release.
Aiming to keep momentum up, the Wi-Fi Alliance 2016 technology roadmap charts a path that includes programs to increase Wi-Fi performance and network capacity, as well as provide unique capabilities to meet connectivity needs across an expanding variety of applications and markets.
Soon to be released, new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac features will increase Wi-Fi network performance and capacity. These will be important if the expected jump in the number and usage of in-home connected devices materializes over coming years.
More than 10 billion devices capable of connecting to a home router are expected to be installed in households worldwide by 2019, Wi-Fi Alliance points out. A second wave of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac features that includes improvements, such as wider channels and Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), is expected to translate into enhanced performance not only in homes, but in large businesses and among network carriers.
Complementing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED ac will be WiGig CERTIFIED, which will deliver gigabit speeds within rooms. WiGig will enable a variety of envisaged usage scenarios, such as streaming multiple ultra-high definition or 4K videos simultaneously.
In addition, tri-band Wi-Fi devices will be able to make use of 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 60 GHz frequency spectrum. That, in turn, will further facilitate Wi-Fi and WiGig’s ability to support a growing range of applications, as well as contribute significantly to enhancing overall network performance.
Location features have become increasingly important aspects of Wi-Fi networks over the past decade, expanding to include screen mirroring, seamless hotspot authentication and proximity awareness, Wi-Fi Alliance points out. Coming soon is a Wi-Fi location program that will enable supporting devices to determine their precise location both indoors and outdoors when within the coverage area of a location-enabled network. Such capabilities will afford a variety of benefits to consumers, retailers, enterprises, and service providers, Wi-Fi Alliance says.
A Wi-Fi Technology Roadmap
Commenting on the importance of the technology roadmap, Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgara Figueroa stated: “The foundation for Wi-Fi’s success is a set of core technologies which constantly evolve to meet market connectivity demands.
¨Wi-Fi technologies keep getting better, and increased network capacity, higher performance, and enhanced capabilities will enable Wi-Fi to continue to meet the needs of existing and emerging markets, and continue to deliver the best possible user experience.”
ABI Research research director Phil Solis pointed out that Wi-Fi shipments growth has paralleled growth of Wi-Fi Alliance certification programs. “With more than 12 billion Wi-Fi products shipped to date, another 3 billion expected in 2016, and shipments of dual-band devices operating in 2.4 and 5 GHz increasing year-after-year, Wi-Fi momentum shows no signs of slowing down.”