Paving the way for a better IoT future with Wi-Fi connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing the world around us

Whether it’s working to improve healthcare, or helping to overcome supply chain issues, the opportunities and advantages it offers are endless. That’s why it’s predicted that, by 2025, there will be 55.7 B connected devices worldwide, 75% of which will be connected to an IoT platform.

But one thing holding the IoT back from truly reaching its full potential is connectivity. Every one of these 55.7 B IoT devices – from household appliances to traffic signals and beyond – will need to be connected in order to provide value, and this connection needs to be robust and reliable.

That’s where Wi-Fi comes in. Wi-Fi will play a key role in delivering this connectivity in IoT, industrial IoT, healthcare, retail, and a variety of other scenarios. Wi-Fi technologies including Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi HaLow, will provide a wide range of high-performance, low latency connectivity that can efficiently and reliably support a variety of use cases.

 The current impact of IoT

IoT is set to transform the way that societies and industries operate. It is already transforming the way we deliver healthcare, enabling patients to stay connected to healthcare professionals. This can be seen with devices such as those that collect data on an individual’s physiological condition, such as blood glucose, which can be reported back to consultants for continuous remote monitoring. IoT is even helping us to cope with the increasing demands of our exponentially growing population, providing farmers and agricultural companies with the analytics and data to make for a more efficient industry.

Closer to home, IoT is playing a big role in the future of work, supporting businesses in successfully operating flexible working models. This includes everything from making it easier for employees to work from home and stay connected to colleagues, to making their office buildings safer with social distancing monitors.

IoT is here, but it is the fast, reliable, and secure connectivity of Wi-Fi that will help us benefit from its full potential.

 How connectivity will give way to IoT’s full potential

IoT use cases have vast and diverse connectivity demands, requiring both high bandwidth and low power, low latency capabilities. While difficult to meet these demands with a single technology in the past, Wi-Fi offers the solution.

Wi-Fi 6 provides higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, complementing the deployment of 5G networks by ensuring connectivity indoors, in public venues and smart buildings, and in underserved areas, where 5G is far less effective. With features like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), Wi-Fi 6 can better serve the diverse needs of IoT devices.

Wi-Fi 6E then extends these great benefits into the 6 GHz band, which offers significant increases in available bandwidth. Because every device in the 6 GHz band must support Wi-Fi 6, there is no overhead to accommodate previous Wi-Fi generations. Wi-Fi 6E takes full advantage of the increased bandwidth, less congested spectrum, and up to seven super-wide channels in 6 GHz to deliver innovations like AR/VR, 8K streaming, and more.

Wi-Fi 6E also includes power improvements, such as Target Wake Time (TWT), which are well suited for highly congested IoT networks where many different battery-powered devices and sensors are connected to the network. This feature brings huge improvements in efficiency and battery life.

The recently introduced Wi-Fi HaLow, operating in the sub-1 GHz band and enabling long range and low power connectivity, also provides a robust connection in challenging Wi-Fi environments. Wi-Fi HaLow will enable a variety of new, power-efficient use cases for IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) environments, as well as retail, agriculture, healthcare, smart home, and smart city markets, this expanding the number and variety of Wi-Fi applications for IoT.

 Overcoming security concerns

Despite the continuously rising number of IoT devices, businesses and individuals are still concerned about its safety.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED technologies, such as Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi HaLow, support strong WPA3 security and worldwide interoperability assurances. This means Wi-Fi helps to deliver secure, interoperable IoT technology worldwide and allows IoT vendors to bring the best experience for their customers.

 Creating opportunities for the future with better connectivity

IoT will enable the transformation of many industries and will continue to pave the way for enormous innovation opportunities. Wi-Fi’s portfolio includes a variety of technologies that will help IoT realise its full potential.

About the Author

Kevin Robinson is SVP at Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi Alliance® is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®. Members of our collaboration forum come together from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem with the shared vision to connect everyone and everything, everywhere, while providing the best possible user experience. Since 2000, Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 50,000 Wi-Fi certifications.

Featured image: ©TaweeW.Asurut