Industry News : Guest Post: An Evolving World of Connectivity – Wi-Fi 7 and Beyond

Guest Post: An Evolving World of Connectivity – Wi-Fi 7 and Beyond

By Christian Gabetta, Managing Director of Heights Telecom.

In an age where “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” is practically a universal greeting, the significance of wireless connectivity cannot be overstated. From seamlessly facilitating business operations to enabling personal connectivity, Wi-Fi has evolved into an essential component of daily lives all around the world. Its journey from a novel technology to a fundamental need has unlocked endless possibilities, shaping not only the tech landscape but society at large.

Acting as a core pillar of the modern world, the simplicity and affordability of Wi-Fi have propelled it to unparalleled heights, rivalling even cellular connectivity in its impact and accessibility. As we dive into the realm of Wi-Fi 7 and beyond, we consider the future of connectivity, including the biggest opportunities and challenges currently facing the telecoms industry.


Trends shaping the future of connectivity

Over the years, home Wi-Fi connectivity has become an essential utility service, considered just as important as electricity, water or heating. While most of us currently rely on personal device connectivity (in the form of smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.), this is only the beginning.

Moving forward, homes will become increasingly connected. While older houses are able to be retrofitted with smart technologies, many modern homes are being designed and built with smart home infrastructure in place to incorporate data connectivity into everyday life.

In a smart home, any number of connected devices, including lights, thermostats, and security systems can be controlled by a master hub controller. As the smart home continues to grow in sophistication, we are likely to see devices increasingly managed by the voice. As a more natural and human method of communication, interacting with home devices via the voice will help to further integrate the smart home devices and applications into our lives. A good example of these services is – an AI tool which integrates with connected devices providing an interface for smart home control and customisation.

Over the next five years, we can expect to see this market exploding like never before. According to Statistica, the global smart home market is projected to grow by 10.67% between 2024 and 2028, which could result in a market volume of US$231.6bn by 2028.[1]

An avalanche of data traffic generated by a growing number of connected devices will create new and exciting opportunities for data analysis in a variety of different contexts. Harnessing wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi 7 will enable the smart home to flourish and serve as a facilitator for unlocking new levels of efficiency and connectivity.

However, as the demand grows for smart home technologies and infrastructure, the need for seamless connectivity will intensify, driving the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies to meet diverse connectivity needs.


The integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies

Throughout its existence, Wi-Fi has been widely adopted by society due to its simplicity and relative affordability. However, despite extensive use, there’s no doubt that Wi-Fi will never replace cellular connectivity. While cellular is perfectly suited to connecting devices on the move, Wi-Fi doesn’t cope well with moving devices, and it is more appropriate for stationary connectivity.

However, as the technology continues to develop, Wi-Fi and cellular are becoming increasingly complementary connectivity tools. Given that they address different business needs, Wi-Fi and cellular networks are not necessarily considered to be competing with one another. So, what exactly is the driver for the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular networks?

The growth of Fixed Wireless Access is where we’re witnessing this integration. Despite being nothing new, modern homes are increasingly implementing FWA devices, specifically 5G FWA. However, this isn’t necessarily across the board, and is somewhat dependent on geography. For example, the Nordic regions have adopted 4G and now 5G FWA far more widely than many southern European countries, as the use of cellular and mobile technology is much more common.

While the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies is helping to meet evolving connectivity needs, fostering a sustainable telecoms ecosystem remains a pressing imperative for the industry’s future viability.


Fostering a sustainable telecoms ecosystem

Despite being responsible for less than 2% of global emissions[2], the telecoms industry must acknowledge the responsibility it holds in creating a more sustainable future, specifically focusing on building a circular economy. Unfortunately, this objective is considerably easier said than done.

One of the biggest barriers to sustainable operations is frequently cost. Taking a sustainable approach can often translate into higher costs for the organisation which may then need to be passed on to the consumer.

Additionally, the nature of the industry means it is continuously pushing new technologies that are not necessarily demanded by end users. The desire to obtain new technologies is often created by innovative companies needing to justify business growth at the expense of negatively impacting the environment.

It’s important that industry looks to build high quality products that will last longer – even if they’re more expensive at the point of sale. However, the environmental impact could be significant as less waste will be produced. The continuous development of future-facing connectivity products such as Wi-Fi 7 will be instrumental in enabling this change.


Promoting the circular economy

From a fundamental standpoint, enhancing sustainability in the industry relies simply on reducing energy and resource consumption. On a consumer level, before purchasing something, we should ask ourselves, do I really need it? Do I need it now? How frequently will I use it? Can I repair or upgrade the one that I already have?

However, the consumer awareness must be primarily driven by businesses in the sector. We need to educate new generations on the opportunities surrounding repairing products vs always buying new ones. Additionally, the industry needs to move to a position of repairing products more often, disposing of old devices less frequently and reusing technology.

As the telecoms industry embraces the challenge of sustainability, it must integrate these principles into the very fabric of its technological advancements. Wi-Fi 7 and future connectivity innovations offer a unique opportunity to not only enhance performance but also prioritise environmental consciousness. By designing products with longevity and repairability in mind, and by fostering a culture of mindful consumption, the industry can contribute significantly to the evolution of a more sustainable and connected world.


Incentivising sustainability  

Despite sustainability currently being the industry ‘buzzword’, tangible actions and meaningful campaigns to drive change are harder to come by. The industry could do much better when it comes to sustainability, and I believe that this change needs to begin with the governments and regulators. There needs to be a higher level of penalties imposed on products and companies that do not comply with the required sustainability standards, coupled with robust incentives for those that actively champion eco-friendly practices.

Moving forward, the advances we’re seeing with Wi-Fi 7 and other connectivity solutions offer a prime opportunity to incentivise sustainability. Industry-wide collaboration and initiatives can further boost sustainable practices, such as promoting repairability, reducing waste, and investing in renewable energy sources for network infrastructure. By aligning technological progress with environmental priorities, the telecoms industry can pave the way for a more sustainable future, where connectivity innovations not only enhance our lives but also preserve the planet for generations to come.






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