location details of users leveraging basic network information, allow carriers and their customer to deliver much a higher quality experience to end users.
Wi-Fi gets flexible
In 2014, we will see Seamless Wi-Fi handoff become a reality with technologies like 802.11r and 802.11k making their way into mobile devices and Wi-Fi Access Points (APs). No longer will smartphones try to cling to the AP that they associated with, even as the user moves into another coverage area. This will allow Wi-Fi to emulate the seamless handoff experience that we all enjoy with cellular services.
However, the policy solutions that will help smartphones to select between Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity still need work. This is a complex issue and one that will not be resolved for several more years.
Better Wi-Fi coming in waves
802.11ac is all the rage, and rightfully so. It represents another fundamental change in the evolution of the 802.11 protocol that promises to boost speeds into the gigabit world. In 2014, 802.11ac will continue to make inroads, with the really compelling step forward coming with multi-user MIMO in Wave 2. This will allow access points to talk with as many as 4 single stream smartphones at the same time. However, it will be imperative to have access points that can direct Wi-Fi signals to each client to better separate signals. This enables higher sustained data rates, and increased client capacities can be achieved because users can get on and off the Wi-Fi network faster and with less packet loss and retransmissions.
That’s not all folks
As Wi-Fi technologies continue to mature, the following trends could also immerge:
- Enterprises continue to look to service providers for a managed Wi-Fi service to address issues with network complexity, new services, and a skills shortage in many IT shops. Location based services will become a profitable piece of this enterprise managed services opportunity.
- Work continues on the convergence of Wi-Fi and