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Whitepaper explores Covid-19's impact on the future of connectivity

An 80 per cent surge in wi-fi upload traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic is re-affirming the need for wi-fi 6/6E and wi-fi mesh adoption, states ABI Research.

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Covid-19 is creating a need for flexibility that will fuel the future of connectivity, says ABI
Covid-19 is creating a need for flexibility that will fuel the future of connectivity, says ABI

An 80 per cent surge in wi-fi upload traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic is re-affirming the need for wi-fi 6/6E and wi-fi mesh adoption, states global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.

 

ABI has identified the short-and long-term impacts the global pandemic will have on wi-fi, Bluetooth, and wireless connectivity in a new whitepaper, Taking Stock of COVID-19: The Short- and Long-Term Ramifications on Technology and End Markets.

 

It also contends that one of the effects of increased home working and other measures that have had to be put in place to tackle the current crisis could reshape future workplaces and working relationships, potentially reducing the impact of long commutes and travel in the longer term.

 

Future connectivity

 

Andrew Zignani, principal analyst at ABI Research, said the outbreak of Covid-19 is creating a need for flexibility that will “fuel the future” of connectivity.

 

He said that many users are still likely to be using outdated wi-fi equipment with legacy wi-fi standards, such as 802.11n, rather than the latest wi-fi 6, which has specifically been designed to deal with better provision in more crowded networks.

 

He added that there will be a renewed incentive for mesh wi-fi that can provide sufficient high-speed coverage to multiple users throughout the home while companies will need to ensure they have the right infrastructure in place so large numbers of employees can concurrently connect to company virtual private networks (VPNs).

“In addition, it could lead to greater home wi-fi security, improved cybersecurity education, and a better understanding of the need for additional wi-fi capacity in the years to come.”

He continued: “In the longer term, today’s necessities could lead to an increased desire and testbed for flexible and remote working and learning in the future, while companies may shift marketing and business resources away from conference-centric approaches toward new online and virtual marketing tools, particularly as additional concerns grow over the impact of climate change via international travel.

 

“It could lead to a reassessment of how many modern workplaces and working relationships are structured, reducing the impact of long commutes and travel, enabling more flexible working and remote collaboration.”

 

Education and investment

 

To support this, the whitepaper highlights how additional resources will need to be devoted to VPNs, secure home networking, and remote working/conferencing software as well as further investment to ensure home broadband infrastructure can support high-speed wi-fi internet access.

 

It sets out that education will also need to be provided on how to optimise and get the best out of home wi-fi networks while employees will need equipment that can support robust, efficient, and low latency wi-fi standards.

“In the longer term, today’s necessities could lead to an increased desire and testbed for flexible and remote working and learning in the future.”

Meanwhile, various organisations around the globe will need to open up additional spectrum, such as 6 Gigahertz (GHz) to ensure the capacity of wi-fi networks can meet a global increase in demand for video, collaborative tools, and other data-heavy traffic going forward.

 

All of these longer-term transformations require a deep understanding of the need for high-speed, highly secure wireless infrastructure to and within the home said Zignani.

 

He concluded: "This could lead to greater incentives being placed on rolling out high-speed fibre or last-mile networks, better awareness of the need for robust whole-home connectivity via mesh systems, and the adoption of 6 GHz wi-fi and the latest wi-fi standards.

 

“In addition, it could lead to greater home wi-fi security, improved cybersecurity education, and a better understanding of the need for additional wi-fi capacity in the years to come.”

 

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