The growing popularity of IoT, 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) streaming, 8K video, gaming and virtual reality (VR) is calling for the ultimate Wi-Fi experience, according to ARRIS. (Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)
By Scot Mason
I bet we would all love a home like the one in the movie Iron Man, run by a benevolent AI able to serve up a world of information on command and capable of cleaning and maintaining itself.
The good news is that we are making our homes smarter all the time, adding intelligent thermostats, lighting systems and voice-activated personal assistants. Pretty soon, the average home will contain up to 100 intelligent devices. And the people driving this trend, taking us into the future, are consumers in Asia. In fact, the region’s smart home market is expected to reach US$115 billion by 2030, accounting for 30% of the global market share.
Of course, with more high-bandwidth devices attached to the network every year, customers’ expectations are getting higher all the time. For their intelligent home to work, they need connectivity in every corner of the house. And it is up to network and service providers to make that happen.
In the average household, Wi-Fi is already feeling the burden of numerous devices hogging the airwaves, the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) in the home has exacerbated the matter. However, help is at hand with the adoption of Wi-Fi networks based on both the 802.11ac and 802.11ax standards — designed to support a greater number of simultaneously streaming devices — to give them the constant connectivity they need.
But with the growing popularity of IoT, 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) streaming, 8K video, gaming and virtual reality (VR), there may come a point where the demands of tomorrow’s connected home will put today’s AX and multi-access point architectures under some serious strain. Customers assume that by buying higher-bandwidth Wi-Fi devices, they guarantee higher speeds and provide ubiquitous coverage to all corners of the home.
But this is not necessarily true. Operators know only too well that the characteristics of Wi-Fi propagation and uniqueness of each consumer’s home mean the exact opposite is often the case. Most consumers experience a mix of Wi-Fi hotspots, where performance is good, and dead zones, where connectivity is reduced or even close to zero. To make the connected home a livable reality, Internet service providers and broadcast technology specialists need to think of ways to cut through these dead zones. Simply put, connectivity needs to reach to your front door if you want to have a video entry system.
So what should operators do to provide seamless Wi-Fi coverage for their customers’ homes? Here are five ways to get ready for the future today:
The potential of intelligent, connected home technology is astounding. We could all soon be living in high-tech homes like Tony Stark’s in the near future. As an industry, it is our job to provide the connectivity that will make this possible. Now, when do I get my Iron Man suit?