The Need for 5G WiFi: The Media Challenge

In this two part series, I will attempt to make a case for 5G WiFi. The first part talks to the challenge that the exploding amount of media content poses for current Wi-Fi.

For the past few years Wi-Fi has grown on us.  We have been using Wi-Fi for emails, instant messengers, browsing the web for information, news, on-line shopping, uploading/downloading pictures etc.  And now we have begun to use a lot more of Wi-Fi for sharing our personal videos with family and friends, on-line gaming, watching sneak previews of movies on YouTube, streaming movies and favorite shows from Netflix and watching our favorite sporting events from anywhere in the world over the internet.   In fact, video/real-time media content consumption forms the majority of the internet traffic today, and this category of traffic is becoming increasingly wireless in-home and is only growing faster all around the world.

Wi-Fi has thus enabled us to watch internet content on any and possibly every display screen at homes and enterprises.   Wi-Fi has also enabled productivity gains by providing mobile network connectivity to various gadgets. Thus devices such as PCs, smart phones, tablets, TVs, home theaters, Blu-Ray Disc players, set top boxes, cameras, gaming consoles are all becoming Wi-Fi enabled today.   Further, Wi-Fi will be in more gadgets, appliances and ‘things’ we come to use in our day to day lives such as cameras, cars, washers/dryers, in-home security systems etc. to name a few.

As the appetite for content-rich internet media consumption and distribution in the home and enterprise grows, the question of adequacy of the current networks for delivering a quality video stream without compromise of the mobility experience remains.   Further, with more networked Wi-Fi devices than people in the homes today, the question of bandwidth availability also arises.

In the next part of this series, I will make the case for 5G WiFi given this media and device explosion challenge.

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