"Convenience is key"

"Convenience is key"

Expert Herman Weerman about Wi-Fi-trends

At home, the office or in a café: Wi-Fi is omnipresent. The technology is evolving, developing. As a result, Wi-Fi is improving and adapting to the digital revolution we are currently experiencing. So, what are the latest trends and development when it comes to Wi-Fi? Herman Weerman, Senior Product Manager B2B Mobile & IoT, gives an update.

Wi-Fi = internet?
"Many consumers don’t see any difference between 'Wi-Fi' and 'internet', but these are totally different concepts. It’s a conclusion we draw looking at the support questions we receive through our Wi-Fi assistant. Internet is a worldwide computer network. Your smartphone, PC or laptop is not directly connected to this internet, but always uses a local network to do so. Wired (a LAN connection) or wireless, a.k.a. Wi-Fi. The confusion starts when people measure their internet speed e.g. by using apps on their smartphone connected through Wi-Fi. They then notice that they’re surfing at 200 megabit per second for example, while subscribing to 1000. We explain that this high level can only be realised wired, with a LAN connection, and that 200 megabyte wirelessly is pretty good. Even with the latest state-of-the-art smartphone you will not reach a 1000 through Wi-Fi. The max will be around 550. Then why subscribe to 1000? Because in this way you can take advantage of the entire bandwidth with multiple users, your family for example."

Mobile internet and Wi-Fi finally merging
"We’ve been announcing this for years, and now it will finally happen. The difference between mobile internet and Wi-Fi will disappear. Now feasible, because mobile internet use has been generally adopted and nearly everyone has a large data bundle. When it comes to user-friendliness, there is still some work to be done, as you need a SIM card to use your mobile and a code to access Wi-Fi. We are currently developing a new system, that will allow you to automatically access your Wi-Fi network with your Vodafone SIM card, without having to enter a Wi-Fi code. We will ensure that the quality and reliability of both networks is impeccable ánd that the user hardly notices the hand-overs."

Free public Wi-Fi will disappear
"Ten years ago, every café and every corner of the street had a public Wi-Fi-hotspot. This is slowly changing and looking at the current trend, will probably disappear altogether. If only because nearly everyone has decent data bundles and mobile coverage now, but also because establishing a network connection is always a bit of a hassle because of the Wi-Fi code. Of course, you have publicly accessible Wi-Fi without a password, but that is not secure and increasingly blocked by Apple and Google. Those password-free public hotspots are therefore disappearing and replaced by an improved version, secure Wi-Fi. This is public Wi-Fi you access by means of your SIM card or an app. You can also connect by means of a generic account, as offered by Publicroam for example. This has the disadvantage that you need to create an account – in other words, more hassle. If you ask me, the SIM card method is the most likely to succeed."

No more wired networks
"Why use wires if you can just as well do without? And that is exactly what is happening. By now, the quality and capacity of wireless is at least equal to that of wired, leading people to opt for Wi-Fi. At home, but also in the office. But quality is not even the main reason for people to make this switch. The main reason is convenience. Like the transition from LP to CD and from CD to Spotify. People switched over en masse, and not because of a huge improvement in quality. That was a precondition, naturally, but their main reason was that a CD enabled fast forwarding and rewinding and Spotify makes listening to music even simpler. Quality, affordability and convenience, those are the triggers."

Smart devices using Wi-Fi, mobile ánd Bluetooth
"Wi-Fi via SIM card authorisation may also be thé solution for the increasing demand for IoT solutions. For example home automation: 'smart', internet-connected devices in the house. Already feasible through Wi-Fi, but then you still have to deal with passwords. Another option is mobile, but improved insulation in houses reduces the quality of indoor mobile coverage. In addition, the majority of those smart devices are tucked away in corners and cabinets. So, Wi-Fi through SIM card authorisation, combined with mobile. We also notice an increased demand for track and trace in buildings. In meeting that demand, Wi-Fi is not the most suitable method. Bluetooth is possible, but the best solution is a combination of two or more technologies. It is our job to ensure that ease of use comes first and that mobile, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth merge seamlessly."