Fon, the world’s leading carrier WiFi provider, has analyzed the future of WiFi and has concluded that WiFi must be an integrated and customer-centric technology. Since its birth in 1985, the WiFi industry has grown exponentially. Although originally designed to replace Ethernet cables in local computer networks, nowadays WiFi’s use is ubiquitous. Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon, highlights seven key points that will define the WiFi revolution in the coming years.
Firstly, WiFi Offloading will increase dramatically as mobile data traffic booms, fueled by video. Cisco expects a sevenfold increase in growth of mobile data traffic by 2021, and more than 60% of traffic will be offloaded this year via WiFi networks.
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Secondly, the number of hotspots will grow exponentially driven by carrier WiFi managed hotspots. This is a significant step forward for the convergence of cellular and WiFi. Today there are close to 100M hotspots globally, but Cisco expects more than 500M by 2021. Given the prevalence of WiFi infrastructure in the majority of highly frequented spaces, such as arenas, malls, and airports, WiFi will be leveraged for neutral host deployments in highly frequented spaces. A win-win solution for all involved parties, host providers, mobile operators, and venue owners can all take advantage of the cost savings and the efficiency by sharing infrastructure. WiFi also enables a lot of value-added services such as proximity marketing, indoor positioning, advertising, and analytics.
Network Functions Virtualization will also have an impact on the WiFi ecosystem. The separation of WiFi software from hardware functions, and provisioning from a centralized management plane will lead to many advantages, such as service agility, enabling quick commissioning and decommissioning of new services.
Another key point is that WiFi will be essential for IoT connectivity. According to the WBA, during the last year, more than 85% of companies have increased the priority level of IoT on their roadmap. WiFi will be the technology of choice for any higher bandwidth requirements. The WiFi revolution will also be defined by home WiFi, the basic battleground for the Connected Home. Many consumers are dissatisfied with the quality of their WiFi connection at home and ISPs are challenged to address the issues effectively or new players will win in that field.
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Finally, the WiFi disruption by OTT players has only just begun. Google, Amazon, and Facebook, among others, are entering the WiFi space. Through varying approaches they intend to improve overall WiFi usability, use WiFi to bring internet to the next billion people, and offer WiFi solutions with a customer centric and data analytics-driven approach.
With these trends in mind, Fon has evolved its cutting-edge WiFi Service Management Solution, providing Communications Service Providers (CSPs) with the necessary end-to-end functionality needed to deploy and manage WiFi services and unlock new business potential. The carrier-grade solution enables CSPs to deliver WiFi services that are managed just like cellular and fixed services, helping them to differentiate and achieve business goals through multiple use cases, such as WiFi Offload, WiFi Calling, and WiFi Monetization, and WiFi as a Service, with advanced guest WiFi functionalities.
On the other hand, Fon’s Enhanced Connectivity Solution allows CSPs to offer an always-best-connected experience for their users by connecting them automatically to the best network available. The solution collects valuable data, which gives operators complete visibility of network performance from the perspective of the end-consumer.