It’s been quite the journey for WiFi so far. Consumers have now had access to wireless internet service for 20 years and the technology continues to evolve. In fact, with the latest WiFi update, we are moving away from WiFi 802.11ac to make way for WiFi 6.
There are now more than 279 million public WiFi hotspots worldwide, a figure that is slated to nearly double to 549 million by 2022, according to Statista. After all, WiFi is becoming a bigger part of our day-to-day lives, as individuals often use it for work, entertainment and creative purposes.
The new wifi update will make it faster for consumers to browse the internet and easier for businesses to undergo a digital transformation. Here’s what you need to know about WiFi 6.
How Has WiFi Evolved?
The first iteration of WiFi, originally known as 802.11b, was released in 1999. Now renamed as WiFi 1, the wireless internet technology was capable of churning out speeds of 11 Mbps at a range of up to 150 feet. WiFi 1 was the slowest version and home appliances or other networks at the same frequency would sometimes create interference.
WiFi 802.11b was followed by 802.11a (now known as WiFi 2). This version offered a more complex way of providing a wireless signal. It operated in a 5GHz frequency, which reduced the chances of interference and was capable of reaching 54 Mbps.
In 2003, 802.11g (or WiFi 3) was released. It used the same technology as 802.11a and could reach speeds of 54 Mbps. However, WiFi 3 existed in 2.4 GHz frequency (much like WiFi 1), so wireless signals were sometimes bogged down by interference. WiFi 3 is backward compatible with WiFi 1 devices and vice versa, but WiFi 1 devices could only connect to WiFi 3 access points at the former’s speed.
WiFi 4, originally called 802.11n, was faster and more reliable than its predecessor. Launched in 2009, this iteration could support wireless internet speeds of 300 Mbps, offering increased data without the need for a higher bandwidth. It can operate in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands.
The WiFi that many of us use now is 802.11ac, released in 2014 and also labeled WiFi 5. Speeds can reach anywhere from 433 Mbps to several gigabits per second, operating on 5 GHz frequencies. WiFi 5 uses beamforming technology, so its antennae can transmit radio signals to specific devices and direct them to multiple clients at once while still offering lightning-fast speeds.
And now, the best version yet, WiFi 6, is on the horizon.
Why Did the Name Change?
The WiFi Alliance changed to a simple numeric naming system for several reasons, including the fact that it will be easier for consumers to understand what WiFi they’re connected to. Moving forward, if you try to connect to a network, the device will inform you if one network is a “5” while another may be a “6.”
Also, businesses will likely use numbers to describe WiFi types moving forward since the WiFi Alliance represents most major companies. The Alliance usually makes decisions based on the direction of these companies, so the rebranding move will make it easier to market wireless connectivity.
The WiFi Alliance added that the decision to rename WiFi was done in a very transparent manner and no one will be forced to adopt the branding. Still, it’s likely that most businesses will opt to change WiFi names to keep up with the times. Adoption of the new numerical names is likely to happen gradually, and WiFi 6 devices will start coming out next year.
What Can You Expect from the New WiFi Update?
The upcoming iteration of wireless internet will offer some considerable improvements, including:
- Higher data rates and faster speeds.
- The ability to handle higher load capacities while still maintaining high connection speeds.
- Lower latency due to improved medium access control (MAC) signaling.
- Devices supported by WiFi 6 networks will consume less battery power.
- Improved outdoor network connectivity.
That’s what we know so far about WiFi 6, but don’t be surprised if it has other advantages that will be revealed later.
How Will the New WiFi Update Affect Your Mobile Strategy?
A digital transformation can be an integral move for a business seeking to become more efficient, while a strong mobile strategy allows you to integrate mobile technology into every facet of your corporate strategy. WiFi 6 could be a game changer for companies that are embracing the digital age.
Thanks to the increased wireless connectivity speeds, companies will be able to complete tasks faster. Developers will create new machine learning algorithms that can compile and analyze data at a faster rate. These insights will then be used to bolster a company’s applications, marketing strategy and user experience more rapidly than ever before. And for companies that have developed mobile apps, it will be easier to provide a positive user experience as consumers will enjoy faster speeds and lower latency.
Many retailers now have WiFi systems that advertise their products or services whenever a patron enters a store or is nearby. When a consumer’s phone connects to the store’s internet, employees can garner valuable customer information, including how long they spend in the store, whether it’s their first time there and what aisles they visited. Retail businesses can then use this data to market products in a more targeted fashion. With WiFi 6, store owners will be able to analyze customer data and unearth such insights at a faster rate.
There’s plenty to be excited about as we move closer to the release of WiFi 6 devices and routers. From faster speeds to lower latency, businesses around the globe are set to benefit from the new WiFi update.
In order to capitalize on WiFi 6, though, you will need the right developer by your side. 7T specializes in custom mobile app development and helping businesses develop the perfect mobile strategy. We’re also well-versed in many emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual reality.
Reach out to our team today!