Emerging Technologies: Wi-Fi

Since its introduction in 2000, Wi-Fi has become the dominant means of connecting to the Internet. More than two billion devices now have Wi-Fi built in.

People count on Wi-Fi in their everyday lives, and many businesses have responded by making Wi-Fi available at hotels, coffee shops, shopping malls and other public venues. Most people have installed Wi-Fi networks at home, and when they're on vacation they expect to find high-quality Wi-Fi to connect their laptop PCs, smart phones and tablets to the Internet. 

Although many businesses, vacation rental properties and condo associations have installed Wi-Fi systems, the Internet world has vastly changed over the past ten years.  Most current systems fall short of meeting the needs of owners and guests, and this will get worse over time.

At first, only PCs were Wi-Fi equipped, but today most people carry mobile phones and tablets. Since these mobile devices have small antennas and low-power batteries, they are much more challenging for Wi-Fi systems. The number of devices connected to any Wi-Fi system has grown dramatically, placing increasing demand on these systems and their Internet connections.

Internet applications have expanded from email and Web surfing to streaming video entertainment like NetFlix and Hulu, and personal video communications like Skype and FaceTime. Most Wi-Fi networks don’t have sufficient coverage or network capacity to support streaming video.

Thus there is a growing mismatch between what owners and visitors can do at home and the capabilities of most Wi-Fi systems.