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The Covid-19 crisis caught companies by complete surprise last year, enterprises scrambling to keep business continuity plans going. While digitally-savvy businesses barely missed a stride in shifting to work from home (WFH), others struggled to keep operations going.

Almost overnight, the criticality of digital and wireless networks became universally apparent. The success of digital initiatives is often contingent on the network, especially Wi-Fi, a primary connectivity juncture between the internet and diverse devices. Wi-Fi will continue to play a pivotal role in empowering businesses post-pandemic, enabling people to stay connected as capacity and connectivity needs of all expand.

An April 2021 Deloitte study on the adoption of advanced wireless systems such as Wi-Fi 6 shows accelerating digital transformation after the pandemic. Such has been its proliferation that market penetration of Wi-Fi-enabled devices has already surpassed 10 billion. This is more than the world’s population and carrying 55% of the global internet traffic, the share of which is rapidly increasing over Wi-Fi.

The latest generation Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E (Wi-Fi 6 in the pristine 6 GHz band) has debuted and will take some time to attain mass-market adoption. The work is already underway on next-gen standards such as Wi-Fi 7 for future needs — higher bandwidth, superlative speed, lowest latency possible and most efficient power utilisation.

Wi-Fi will give impetus to not just online learning, remote working and telemedicine, but also help realise future use cases such as driverless cars, advanced biometrics at airports, remote building management, extended reality (VR/AR/MR) and smart farming. Resilience has spurred increased wireless investments to fortify an enterprise’s capability in addressing present and future business disruptions. Organisational transformations that would once span years are now possible in months, as we have seen during this pandemic.

Who would have thought that 4K videoconferences and HD virtual summits would be the norm to do business and reach stakeholders globally without leaving one’s room now.

Similarly, digital learning has bridged the gap, while enabling teachers and students to connect daily.

Wi-Fi has not only helped drive the explosive multimedia content consumption on OTT platforms, but Wi-Fi 6 has also done away with any dizziness while using high-end virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) devices. It is now possible to get a true-to-life digital experience of walking down any street of the world in the finest detail without stepping out the door or play high-frame rate games in the cinematic resolution that test the limits of the naked human eye.

Considering the growing demand for open interoperability at homes, deploying a mesh network will be the next big thing to set up multiple access points and routers that will cover every inch of the house without any drop in bandwidth, speed or latency, providing blanket coverage. Likewise, in healthcare, telemedicine has helped save the day and lives. Remote diagnosis and consultation, online testing and real-time monitoring are not only gaining preference among patients, but these are also enabling healthcare fraternity to beat the odds of the patient-doctor ratio.

What’s more, legacy sectors such as agriculture are benefiting from 24×7 connectivity. Wi-Fi has paved the way for farmers to stay updated and brings vital information right in their hands through phone as they now check weather information, sowing patterns, crop prices at mandis and much more digitally.

The game changer will be smart and organised farming that will be backed by drones monitoring crop health and field-based IoT devices to gauge soil humidity, weather conditions and allied environmental factors to boost farm productivity with efficient resource utilisation.

Wi-Fi SENS is a new standard for motion tracking and environment mapping using Wi-Fi signals that will find application in all environments that it talks to — be it home, hospitals, schools, offices, airports or hotels. This reflects the infinite possibilities of Wi-Fi, its innovative use cases to come, and how each of us will be touched by its understated, transformative role in digital acceleration across the world

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