More than 100 years have gone by since the beginning of wireless network technology. The advancements developers have made since 1880 are extraordinary, like establishing an LTE network. With its exponential evolution, many are now wondering:
What’s the future of wireless networking technologies?
The Evolution of Wireless Communication
Before diving into the next version of wireless network technology, it’s helpful to see the foundation of it. While there were numerous accomplishments made since the 1880s, some of the most defining moments in the evolution of wireless communication include:
- 1880: It all started with the discovery of radio waves, which soon led to the telegraph and mobile phones.
- 1901: A brief letter between Britain and Canada was the first wireless Transatlantic message.
- 1922: With the discovery of FM frequencies, as well as the portable radio, a framework was established.
- 1970: That framework supported the development of Ethernet and transmissions via high-speed packets.
- 1983: The famed mobile phone from Motorola comes onto the scene, leading to the 1G network.
- 2001: The 3G network becomes available, almost seven years before the first iPhone.
- 2007: After more than two years of testing, the 4G or LTE network launches.
- 2018: Intel brings the 5G network to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.
As demonstrated, companies within the telecommunications industry are continuing to innovate.
The Future of Wireless Networking Technologies
What is the next step in the evolution of wireless technology? Leaders in the industry, from Verizon to Qualcomm, as well as numerous researchers, have a variety of ideas for how to continue wireless technology’s journey into — and beyond — the 21st century.
Technology expected to influence the future of wireless networks includes:
Many in the telecommunications industry are continuing to develop upgrades to wireless networks. Even though many countries are still in the process of adopting 4G, Intel’s already committed itself to providing 5G to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
This next evolution of wireless communication won’t be available worldwide until after 2019, though. Why? The World Radiocommunication Conference must still decide on several key factors for 5G, from its frequencies to its standards for manufacturers of network hardware.
With an improved wireless network, however, companies like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are hoping to support the Internet of Things (IoT), which is expanding outside of the business world and into the daily lives of consumers, who are now adopting smart appliances, self-driving cars and drones.
Companies are also working to improve Wi-Fi networks. Velmenni, a business based in Estonia, is developing a technology called Li-Fi, which plans to deliver not only a faster connection to users but also a more secure one. Li-Fi operates through LED bulbs, which connect to your computer or laptop via a dongle.
Throughout real-world testing, Li-Fi’s delivered a consistent speed of 1 gigabyte per second (Gbps). In labs, however, it’s reached 224 Gpbs, which is fast enough to download more than a dozen high-quality films in a single second. While this may be a possible real-world speed for future wireless networks, it’s unlikely for the near future.
How will Wi-Fi network technology evolve with Li-Fi? First, by decreasing the amount of hardware needed by using a microchip controller. Second, by increasing the security of Wi-Fi communications by controlling light. And third, by streamlining wireless networks by integrating them with solar energy.
Another technology that may influence the evolution of wireless technology includes Qualcomm’s small cells project, which focuses on the hyper-dense deployment of cells that act as a Wi-Fi hotspot but are only the size of a wireless access point.
How Wireless Network Technology Evolves
Within any industry, there is always the question of how it will continue to evolve. The telecommunications industry is no exception — especially with its predicted growth of more than one trillion networked devices in use by 2025.
One of the ways the industry’s pushing forward is through outside perspectives. Technologies like Li-Fi, for example, are coming from smaller companies looking at new ways to deliver a faster, more reliable network.
China Mobile is another business that’s looking towards the evolution of wireless technology from a different view. Instead of focusing on the continued development of the 5G network and its later versions, the company’s committing its resources to building a network that’s software-based and similar to cloud computing.
With a range of players and ideas, the future of wireless networking technologies looks promising.
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