6 WiFi megatrends to consider as we gear up for 5G

5G promises a telecommunications revolution rather than just an evolution. But, in order for this revolution to take place, 5G will have to make use of a variety of different technologies in an ecosystem of heterogeneous networks. It will include new, as well as existing, access technologies, including satellite, fiber, and WiFi, rather than relying solely on mobile technology. 5G will also address a broad range of new use cases from augmented reality to IoT and Smart Everything.

At Fontech, we know that WiFi will play a fundamental role in this ecosystem, acting as the link between fixed and mobile networks. It goes without saying that service providers must focus on improving existing WiFi services to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain market share. But they can also benefit from offering a broader portfolio of services to existing clients, as well as meeting the needs of new verticals.

In this blog we highlight six current trends that WiFi players should take into account:

The first of these is related to the boom we have seen in home WiFi solutions that address issues such as interference and coverage. Operators are aware of these problems and are starting to react accordingly. While OTT providers are already targeting the consumer retail segment, CSPs want solutions that will empower them to improve customer experience as well as maintain visibility and control over the experience of their subscribers.

When considering enterprise environments, WiFi has also become vital and will continue to enable new ways of working. BYOD and other popular mobility initiatives present a huge opportunity for providers of cloud-managed WiFi-as-a-service. In fact, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance, the market for cloud-managed enterprise WLAN infrastructure and managed services is expected to triple from 2015-2020, growing from $1.1 billion to $3.3 billion.

The rise of machine learning algorithms is facilitating better WiFi connections. Service providers need algorithms that can learn, make predictions, and make decisions based on the inputs are key in order to carry out real-time monitoring of network performance. With this information, they can anticipate and identify issues and implement corrective measures before a problem occurs.

One of the most important changes in the industry is that CSPs are becoming digital companies with an increasing range of services. Operators are using value-added WiFi services to target new verticals such as IoT, Smart Cities, MDUs, and transport. In addition to offering new, innovative services to end users, digitization means delivering these services in a way that gives the end user more visibility and control over their management, for example through easy-to-use apps such as our Home WiFi App or Merchant App.

Selling managed guest WiFi services to businesses and venues represents an exponential opportunity for growth. As well as driving new revenue for CSPs, selling these services gives them the chance to further engage with high-value enterprise customers. In addition to providing connectivity, they want to gain valuable insights about their own customers by offering guest WiFi services.

Finally, WiFi is enabling cost-effective MVNO approaches and improved customer satisfaction through increased coverage. WiFi has an increasingly important role within the MVNO scope. Operators in the US are already broadly using WiFi networks to enable WiFi-First strategies, and this is picking up speed in other regions too. MNOs and MVNOs can also use WiFi to increase coverage, especially indoors, and therefore provide a better customer connectivity experience.

The WiFi industry isn’t static. In fact, it’s continuously evolving towards more powerful standards such as 802.11ax and 802.11ay. As our collective demand for connectivity rises, WiFi will remain an essential technology that enables service providers to meet the needs of their clients and customers in a cost-effective way. It will also open the door to many additional revenue opportunities. Operators and enterprises interested in taking advantage of the benefits of WiFi must look for a reliable and agile technology provider, such as Fontech, with the expertise and ability to deploy flexible WiFi solutions fast.

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