Insight: What's Up With Wi-Fi?

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Monday, May 18, 2015 with No comments

Wi-Fi Alliance is applying its experience managing coexistence of multiple networks in unlicensed spectrum to ensure Wi-Fi and LTE play together nicely in the 5 GHz band. The organization is overseeing a consensus-based process involving service providers, users, enterprises, and other stakeholders—discussed in a recent RCR Wireless Analyst Angle interview (part of an upcoming report about LTE-Unlicensed and Wi-Fi). 

In the interview, Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa said the conversation is shifting quickly toward ensuring that whatever happens in 5 GHz doesn't impair the band's current tenants. It's a pivotal time requiring cooperation of traditionally divergent industries. 

Meanwhile, public Wi-Fi as a service is undergoing a shift, said Boingo Wireless VP of product Marc Patterson in an RCR Wireless article. Customers want free service, but venue owners need a way to offset network costs. 

The solution could be tiered service offerings tailored to customers' needs, and priced accordingly. For example, some customers may care mostly about bandwidth for streaming or downloads, while others may be more concerned about security. Asking users to pay for service that addresses their particular needs, could be a viable business model. 

Another thing impacting Wi-Fi is the consolidation of the cable market. Recent event illustrate changes in the industry, noted Fierce Wireless. Comcast and Time Warner Cable aren't merging, but it's possible Charter Communications may buy TWC instead. This raises the question: how will consolidation affect cable companies' growing Wi-Fi efforts?

Some cable operators are considering adopting Cablevision's 'Wi-Fi first' approach by offering voice over Wi-Fi. A special report by Fierce Wireless looks in-depth at this trend. 

What changes do you see ahead for Wi-Fi?
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