How Wi-Fi Has Changed the World

March 30 2016

Paul Eitmant

I should not be surprised, but there are now electrical products that have Wi-Fi capabilities built into the device itself. We all have seen thermostats and lighting products that can be controlled by the use of a Smartphone. Now that we have Wi-Fi, it’s sometimes harder to think what we can’t do rather than what we can. With Wi-Fi we have the Internet instantly at our fingertips, so long as we have a smartphone, mobile device or laptop close at hand.

Life before the Internet

It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the Internet. Staying in touch with people far away would require posting a letter. Banking would involve lengthy queues in the local branch. Literature would be taken out from the library — a book to read to pass the time or some educational content to help with studies. Application forms might take several attempts to get spelling and grammar accurate. Dictionaries and thesauruses would nestle among the many books adorning the shelves in your house, not to mention records and videos piled high. To plan a journey you would open up a map. A trip into town would be the only way to check out the latest fashions, and comparing prices would require you to visit all the shops and look around. Party invites would go out by paper, word of mouth or a phone call.

The Internet (Pre-Wi-Fi)

The Internet changed the world and revolutionized the way we live. Suddenly the world could be accessed at the touch of a button. Gone were the days when we were waiting for information and doing hours of research at the local library.

One of the largest changes post internet (think Facebook and Skype, for example) was the way people communicate with one another, resulting in contacting people all over the world in an instant. How exciting to think that stories created now will never be lost, and future generations will be able to access today’s posts as a history lesson of their own making.

A change in the way we use the Internet

The Internet is no doubt an amazing revolution. A study by Pew Research Centre found that people would rather live without TV than without Internet access.
Then came Wi-Fi. Initially this made it easier in the workplace or home, with laptops or other mobile devices being taken to the nearest hotspot where Internet could be accessed. Nowadays there aren’t many places (at home, work or in public), where a Wi-Fi connection cannot be accessed. The Pew study demonstrates this as Wi-Fi has increased the use of Internet dramatically. In 2000, when Wi-Fi was less available, 29% of Americans went online per day compared to 71% today. Wi-Fi has clearly changed our lives in many ways.

An exciting future

Wi-Fi Alliance is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi.

In 1999, several visionary companies came together to form a global non-profit association with the goal of driving the best user experience with a new wireless networking technology — regardless of brand.

Today about 600 Wi-Fi Alliance member companies from dozens of countries take part in our highly-effective organization, driving new technologies and applications and certifying thousands of Wi-Fi products each year.

The Wi-Fi Alliance roadmap features a number of key elements that will support the proliferation of the organization’s certified technologies into a number of new segments and applications.

  • New frequency bands will deliver just the right kind of connection. WiGig Certified will deliver interoperable products supporting multiple-gigabit data rates for room-range connectivity in 60 GHz in 2016. Wi-Fi Alliance has also begun work to define certification programs based on 802.11ah and 802.11af, for operation below 1 GHz to support longer-range, very-low-power connectivity.
  • Wi-Fi will connect new types of devices to each other and the Internet. With the Internet of Everything emerging as the next major wave of connected innovation, Wi-Fi’s reach will extend into the smart home, connected cars, sensing and control networks, and much more. Already the technology of choice for its long-lived compatibility and robust security, advances in power management, ease of use, and common foundations for service discovery and enablement are setting the stage for massive growth of the Wi-Fi Internet of Everything.
  • Core Wi-Fi technologies will continue to advance. The Wi-Fi that consumers and enterprises have come to rely on every day keeps getting better. Wi-Fi Alliance members are bringing new power saving mechanisms to Wi-Fi certified products, improving the mobility experience, and much more. An update to Wi-Fi Certified ac, the most advanced Wi-Fi available, will validate interoperability of several performance-enhancing features in late 2015/2016.

Bottom line: we see more products in the near future that will have Wi-Fi capabilities. The question in front of all us in the electrical world, are we going to participate in this ever changing informational market?


Paul Eitmant is President and CEO of IP Group International, which serves the needs of business-to-business enterprises in over 30 countries worldwide by adding specialized expertise to the business planning and implementation process; Tel: 480.488.5646; paulipgroup@cox.net.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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