The future of Wi-Fi: The best is yet to come

Twenty years since the first Wi-Fi standard, the technology is poised for a surge of innovation

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With today’s gigabit-plus speeds, broad features and capabilities, and impressive price/performance, one might assume that we’re approaching the time when we can close the wireless LAN patent office.

And yet a remarkably high level of activity continues in numerous dimensions of Wi-Fi technologies, including new physical layers, advances within the IEEE 802.11 Working Group, at Wi-Fi Alliance, and in a broad range of applications, from mission-critical real-time enterprise requirements to the Internet of Things.

In fact, there are no signs that the rate of Wi-Fi innovation is even slowing. Indeed, the next five years will reveal a remarkable number of advances, with new generations of products that keep pace with a broad range of real-world requirements beyond just higher throughput. This article will describe the current major activities in Wi-Fi technologies and products, and explore the key issues and challenges that remain.

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