NCTA

The Future of Wi-Fi

wifi

The Future of Wi-Fi

It’s in your laptop, it’s in your smartphone, it’s in your watch, it’s everywhere. It’s Wi-Fi and even though it's barely 15 years old, it’s already become the glue binding our digital lifestyles. But if you’ve ever tried getting a good Wi-Fi signal in a coffee shop, on the street, or in a busy airport, you know that Wi-Fi has limitations. When too many people are using the same connection, Wi-Fi quickly overloads and becomes sluggish.

Wi-Fi is everywhere because it runs over unlicensed spectrum which isn’t reserved for any specific user or technology. But the future is cloudy - some new technologies could begin to interfere with Wi-Fi and it’s popularity means we need more spectrum to let it grow. There is a solution. We can solve this Wi-Fi crunch by freeing up more spectrum for unlicensed use and ensuring that new technologies work politely.

Wi-Fi is the most used technology for accessing the Internet. In fact, more data is carried over Wi-Fi than mobile and wired combined. Watch the video to learn more about how with better spectrum management, we can make sure Wi-Fi works better for our broadband needs today, and for our ever-increasing needs in the future.

As our technological and digital demands increase and devices expand, so will our need for more spectrum. Fortunately, there is a solution to the Wi-Fi crunch. By freeing up more spectrum and allowing it to be used by unlicensed public technologies, we could jump start a new generation of Wi-Fi with huge coverage areas and speeds up to 10 gigabits per second.

Facts: Future of Wi-Fi

Facts: Future of Wi-Fi

Fact
500k
national public cable Wi-Fi hotspots
Fact
11
Wi-Fi devices in an average U.S. home
Fact
86%
of in-home broadband usage will be via Wi-Fi by 2017

Part of what makes Wi-Fi great is that it’s a polite technology. It works well with others that use the same unlicensed spectrum. Unfortunately, a new wireless Internet technology called LTE-U doesn’t play nearly as well with others. LTE-U’s poor manners puts all unlicensed technologies at risk by not following the same spectrum sharing protocols.

There’s room for everyone to win. That’s why it is so important that we insist that LTE-U and other new players share unlicensed spectrum well, so that we can all enjoy a future of speedy, reliable wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi.