Have you ever wondered why your phone has three radios (LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), while your tablet and computer typically have two (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth)?
For that matter, why do you know names like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE? But what about 5G or Zigbee?
While wireless data-communication technology and standards are still in development, new standards (like Zigbee) and proprietary technologies are clamoring for attention. How do we separate the noise from what is real and important? And should consumers care about any of this?
When Wi-Fi was emerging in the late 1990s, the general tendency in "3GPP-land" was to ask: why do you need Wi-Fi? The general opinion was that this "unlicensed technology" would disappear, probably sooner than later, because in the unlicensed bands, the lack of oversight would bring the performance spiraling down quickly.
Of course, we know today that things turned out rather differently. Wi-Fi has found a way to properly operate in the unlicensed ISM-bands and satisfy the needs for wireless connectivity indoor, in-home or in-building, where 3G was not able to penetrate well. Also, Wi-Fi rapidly increased its data rate and expanded its capabilities by moving from the 2.4 GHz band into the 5 GHz band, and it is expected to further extend these by going into the 6o GHz band. Range extender technologies and, more recently, the concept of distributed Wi-Fi ("Wi-Fi Mesh"), have also supported Wi-Fi success to date.
Indeed, the smart home basic concept is centered around distributed Wi-Fi, using a one pod per room infrastructure. Wi-Fi Mesh is the ultimate solution for full home coverage, combining high data rate and high capacity for demanding applications and ultra-low power technology for sensor networks supporting multiple wireless communication standards. This infra-structure will naturally pave the way for .11ax, .11ad and .11ay.
We can see a new battle is looming as at the same time Wi-Fi is developing, the 3GPP is moving on from 4G/LTE and is investing heavily in 5G.
So who will win the battle?
Cees Links is a Wi-Fi pioneer. Under his responsibility, the first wireless LANs were developed, ultimately becoming household technology integrated into PCs and notebooks. He also pioneered the development of access points, home networking routers, and hotspot base stations. He was involved in the establishment of the IEEE 802.11 standardization committee and the Wi-Fi Alliance. He was also instrumental in establishing the IEEE 802.15 standardization committee to become the basis for the Zigbee® sense and control networking. Cees Links was the founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies, now part of Qorvo, and is now the General Manager of the Wireless Connectivity Business Unit. He was recognized as Wi-Fi pioneer with the Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award.
Qorvo (Nasdaq:QRVO) makes a better world possible by providing innovative (Radio Frequency) RF solutions at the center of connectivity. We combine product and technology leadership, systems-level expertise and global manufacturing scale to quickly solve our customers' most complex technical challenges. Qorvo serves diverse high-growth segments of large global markets, including advanced wireless devices, wired and wireless networks and defense radar and communications. We also leverage unique competitive strengths to advance 5G networks, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and other emerging applications that expand the global framework interconnecting people, places and things. Visit www.qorvo.comto
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