The Future Of WiFi Is Here (infographic)

Ninety years ago, Nicola Tesla predicted that one day soon people would be walking around with devices in their vest pockets that would allow them to communicate wirelessly with other people across the world. Just about the only thing his prediction got wrong was that vests aren’t terribly popular anymore, pockets or no. These days we can communicate wirelessly thanks to the internet, satellites, and WiFi, among many other inventions. We can also use our pocket computers to control our thermostats and answer our doorbells remotely thanks to the WiFi enabled internet of things. There’s just one problem — now that literally everything we own is connected to the internet, WiFi is having trouble keeping up. What’s next for WiFi and the internet of things?

Where Did WiFi Come From?

In 1941, Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr invented and patented Frequency-Hopping Spread-Spectrum to help navigate torpedoes without being detected during WWII. Lamarr’s invention was forgotten for decades until it was discovered it could be used to power WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigby, and more.

In 1969, the United States Department of Defense developed the ARPANET, the first working prototype of the internet which allowed multiple computers to work at the same time. In 1983 TCP/IP was invented, which allowed multiple networks to be connected into a network of networks, the first prototype for the internet. This led to the invention of the World Wide Web by 1990, and by 1993 AT&T had created the first wireless internet network at Carnegie Mellon University. Standards were developed and eventually WiFi was trademarked and became a household name by 1999.

The Current State Of WiFi

WiFi5 brought the fastest speeds yet, but as WiFi speed grew people began to find even more uses for wireless internet. As the internet of things was developed the WiFi signals began to get bogged down. The problem? Current WiFi technology only allows the router to connect to one device at a time, sending and receiving small packets of information from each device before moving on to the next one. This means that the more devices there are on a given WiFi network, the slower the signal will appear to be as each device has its turn connecting.

WiFi6 Will Be A Game Changer

The biggest improvement WiFi6 brings to the table is the ability to connect to multiple devices at a time, something that has never before been accomplished. The average household has 5 connected devices, which is enough to bog down current technology significantly. But the number of connected devices is growing significantly and rapidly. Currently about 90% of Americans have at least one connected device, but by next year there will be 20 billion IoT connected devices worldwide - more than 2.6 times the number there are today.

These devices include things like IoT speakers and assistants like Google Home and Alexa, Philips HUE smart lighting, the Nest Thermostat family of products that can turn lights on and off among other things, and the SmartThings Hub. Add these devices to your mobile device, tablet, laptop, smart TV, and more and the need for a faster WiFi connection becomes easily apparent.

The Future Of WiFi Is Coming

Whenever a new gadget comes out, many of us stop to think whether this is something we really need. With WiFi6, if you have even just the average five devices in your home or office, the increase in speed and connectivity is going to be noticeable, meaning it might be a good bet to adopt this technology early on. Learn more about the history and future of WiFi from the infographic below.

The History And Future Of WiFi - Infographic

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