Telcos and their IT suppliers are confident of seeing big investments in Wi-Fi connectivity in 2018, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
Among wireless broadband providers, levels of confidence in Wi-Fi investments have never been higher, with important implications for the IoT.
That’s the view put forward in the latest annual report from the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), an industry consortium that comprises telcos and mobile operators, along with leading technology companies including Cisco, Microsoft and Huawei.
The consensus found in the report, which was compiled by analyst firm Maravidis on behalf of the WBA, is that with Wi-Fi positioned to support 5G-type performance and use cases, there’s good reason to be confident that investment levels will be healthy in 2018. More than four out of five respondents say they feel as confident or more confident in these than they did a year ago.
Read more: Ford to install Wi-Fi smart benches across London
Not just Wi-Fi
When looking at unlicensed spectrum more broadly, almost half of respondents (47 percent) feel more confident, they say. In other words, many technologies operating in unlicensed and shared bands will play a part here, as Maravedis senior analyst Adlane Fellah points out.
“Wireless use cases are expanding rapidly, enabled by new technologies and spectrum in the unlicensed and shared banks,” he said. “These innovations are laying the foundations for the 5G era, in which Wi-Fi will play a central role.”
The survey also looks at questions around monetizing Wi-Fi and finds that three use cases in particular look set to drive near-term revenue: extending internet access and media to a full smart home; richer and more efficient enterprise services driven by cloud-managed networks and security; and expansion of the Wi-Fi roaming model.
The report also claims that Wi-Fi, along with low power wide area network (LPWAN) technologies, will provide a rapid and cost-effective deployment of various IoT applications, including the deployment of smart cities.
But interoperability between different technologies, independent certification of devices and equipment and collaboration between different city stakeholders are identified as areas that connected city ecosystems must urgently address.
Read more: Cisco chosen to provide free Wi-Fi to City of London