When Wi-Fi was invented and subsequently adopted en-masse, it brought a wave of mobile computing (think laptops). Corporations, universities, hospitals, and everyone else started putting in APs like crazy. Wi-Fi use exploded in the residential space too. Then, Wi-Fi chipsets started showing up in smartphones, iPods, digital cameras and a multitude of other gadgets. This has magnified the usefulness of WLANs and got all of of us *seriously* addicted to Wi-Fi. In fact, it’s hard to remember what we did before we had this ubiquitous wireless connection.
Now, with the quickly emerging concept of “The Internet of Things“, we are likely to see another big leap forward in Wi-Fi usage – connecting “things” (such as HVAC systems and refrigerators) to 802.11. It does sound a lot like Star Trek, but it’s coming, and will be much cheaper and therefore much more pervasive than we think, IMHO.
So, what does this mean to you?
First, it means that your WLAN will need to be super-robust. Correct coverage, configuration, etc. will be essential to make everything work well together.
Secondly, 802.11 won’t be the only technology used to connect devices together. ZigBee, Z-Wave and other future wireless protocols will compete for the same swaths of spectrum allocated in the unlicensed wireless bands. Spectrum management will become even more imperative to keep your WLAN interference-free and running well amongst the multitude of carrier signals transmitting through your airspace. If there was a time to become a Layer 1 pro, this is it!
Check out MetaGeek’s PHY layer tools at www.metageek.com and get up to speed. MetaGeek makes affordable wireless tools that help you make your current and future “Internet of Things” work as well as possible, and we have a great list of useful free tools. What you might not know is that we also have in-depth resources in the forms of guides, videos and how-to’s on our support pages, and we’re always adding more – so check back often.
Don’t say we didn’t give you a heads-up ;-).