Wi-Fi: Unleashing the Next Generation Connected Experiences

Janifha Evangeline | Thursday, 08 July 2021, 03:03 IST

Wi-Fi not only one of the significant success stories of the technology era but also a key and essential element to continued social and economic growth. While everyone today including the governments and organizations across the world, schools, citizens, families depend on wi-fi for various constructive purposes, it has not only connected each other but has also entertained and helped users during a crisis. Furthermore, wi-fi technology has transformed the education sector and has extended the capabilities of healthcare providers. What is more significant about this technology is that it has also aided in the development of new and advanced technologies, industries and careers, worldwide. Some of the Wi-fi solution categories offered by top players include Wi-Fi for Networks, Wi-Fi for Mobile, Wi-Fi for Automotive, and Wi-Fi for the IoT.

Besides the societal benefits it offers, Wi-Fi also provides remarkable rewards and advantages to economies across the globe. According to Statista, it was estimated that 22.2 billion devices will be connected using WLAN in 2021, globally. As stated by a study commissioned by Wi-Fi Alliance, the economic value of Wi-fi is estimated at USD 3.3 trillion in 2021, globally, while it is anticipated to reach USD 4.9 trillion by 2025.

Trends in the Indian Wi-Fi solution market

While the very 1st reference of Wi-Fi can be traced back to 1985, this technology since the last decade has started to grab the attention the Indian consumers which include both the business as well as general users. The managed Wi-Fi solutions market size in India is anticipated to register an impressive rate until 2025. Factors bolstering this market in the country include the need for high-speed internet connection, proliferation in the number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, that comprise mobile phones, laptops, i-pads, tablets, etc.

Apart from, rise in adoption of enterprise mobility solutions accompanied by the penetration of connected devices, Bring Your Own Device concept, is further anticipated to drive the managed Wi-Fi solutions market growth in the coming years. However, there are certain factors that would result in restraining this market growth over the forecast period. This includes the lack of interconnectivity and interoperability regulations and norms.

India-managed Wi-Fi solutions market is classified on various factors. Some of which are components, the size of the organizations, end-user industry, & region. The market can be divided into retail & E-commerce, IT & telecommunication, government & defense, Banking Finance Service & Insurance, healthcare, etc. on the basis of end-user industry. Owing to the reliable, cost-effective solutions provided by the managed Wi-Fi solutions for the management of centralized WLAN networks, the healthcare industry is anticipated to gain remarkable growth in this market.

Some of the main players in the managed Wi-Fi solutions market include:

Cisco Systems (India) Private Limited

Sify Technologies

Comcast India

Fujitsu Consulting India

Vodafone Idea Limited

Verizon India

Purple WiFi

PM-WANI initiative to bring a massive Wi-Fi revolution in India

Last December, PM’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI) scheme was approved by the cabinet.  This scheme is intended to improve wireless connectivity across the country through means of offering free wireless Internet in public places, part of the Digital India program. The Central Government’s scheme PM-WANI aims to proliferate internet connectivity across the country, with the implementation of a decentralized system of public access points.

Strengthening broadband take-up in rural India

HFCL Limited – a leading manufacturer of optical fiber cables, power electronics, and broadband equipment, etc. for the telecommunication sector has supplied indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured 100000 wi-fi systems in a record time. The company believes that Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (WANI) scheme along with the Indian Government’s BhartNet initiative would strengthen broadband consumption in rural India.

“We have developed a carrier-grade Wi-Fi system. It is 100 % indigenous R&D including hardware and software. Within a few months, we have already supplied 1 lakh units of Wi-Fi products in 2020, Mahendra Nahata, managing director, HFCL told ETTelecom.

India’s voracious appetite for data

P D Vaghela, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) stated, “There is a tremendous opportunity in India for the proliferation of public Wi-Fi hotspots. PM WANI (PM Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) can result in rapid scale-up of the internet in rural areas, which will be transformative given the low level of penetration (there) compared to urban areas,” while speaking at a virtual event organized by industry body Broadband India Forum (BIF).

With India possessing over 750 million broadband connections, the country’s appetite for data appears to be voracious.

“However, the growth potential is still very high. I think, probably over 500 million more to be connected, especially in rural areas,” he pointed out. “Terming the internet as one of the most powerful socio-economic engines of growth, Vaghela said this is true not only for India but for the rest of the world. Wi-Fi 6 and 5G expand opportunities for digitization across all industries…and enables organizations to be just everywhere while increasing productivity and offering the best user experience,” he added.

This initiative is aimed at bringing a massive Wi-Fi revolution in the country and the public Wi-Fi networks, under WANI, have an architecture that involves numerous players such as the Public Data Office, Public Data Office Aggregators as well as app providers.

Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6, the latest generation of extensively scaled technology, is set to play a major role in both the consumer as well as enterprise connectivity trends in the coming days.

Carlos Cordeiro, Intel’s Wireless Connectivity Chief Technology Officer, described Wi-Fi as a “revolution compared to any other previous generations.” “It will transform the experiences in both homes and enterprises because it’s going to offer much greater scalability in terms of the number of devices. Wi-Fi 6 also delivers much better reliability with the latest and greatest security. It’s going to be the technology that will enable the smart home and enterprise, connecting all of your devices whether its laptops, handsets, monitoring systems, or thermostats,” he added. 


Power drones in the sky

As Wi-Fi Aware allows for proximity-based discovery, it enables applications in discovering one and other while they stay within a specific range, without the necessity for network requirements.  Wi-Fi Aware opens the door for numerous innovative as well as new interactions since it does not need an infrastructure connection.

Healthcare improvement

After revolutionizing internet access in the workplace and at homes, Wi-Fi technology is all set to play a crucial role in the healthcare sector. Comcast predicts, “we’re at an amazing crossroads of Wi-Fi and healthcare, with what we’re wearing on our wrists to what the technology will eventually be sensing in our homes. I think it’s going to bring endless possibilities in the healthcare space.”

Other trends include the expectation of Wi-Fi to become a foundation for ambient computing, the Prediction of Wi-Fi to become a more stable and accepted infrastructure for mission and life-critical applications, and many others.

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