In 2017, the average American household had around five active connected devices and by 2018 that number had reached 17; yet current WiFi technology might be having a hard time keeping up. Current WiFi routers are only able to connect to one device at a time, sending and receiving small packets of information before bouncing to the next device. More devices, more bounce, which means interruptions to streaming and data. WiFi6, built specifically for IoT, will make networks and devices more reliable by connecting to multiple devices simultaneously, with fewer signal interruptions. From the days of one computer per household on the internet, if that, to our smart coffee makers and Amazon Alexa how did we reach this point?
Looking at your smartphone or tablet, we may assume there is nothing “old-fashioned” about the technology we’ve become accustomed to. Yet, the theoretical ideas of how we digitally communicate have long been in the minds of some of history’s greatest inventors. From Nikola Tesla’s predictions of instantaneous communication to Tim Berners-Lee building the Internet as we know it today, our modern devices are actually anything but. Backing up their visions with the data to prove it, WiFi capabilities have been in the works for decades and in the 1940s, were even put to the test with intentions of helping guide torpedo's undetected during WWII.
Thanks to the advances made in human connectivity over the last several decades, even more connectivity is becoming the norm. No longer do we have one computer hard wired to an internet connection for the whole family to share — now each family member has multiple devices, and even the crock pot and refrigerator are connected to the internet to help us with mealtime. As the technology advances, older technologies struggle to keep up.
By 2020, it is predicted that there will be 20 billion IoT devices worldwide — is your WiFi ready? See this infographic for more on the history of WiFi, how the smaller iterations of technology added up to bigger advancements over time, and what’s coming for the next generation of WiFi.
How the Next Generation of WiFi Could Change Everything was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.