The future is wireless: Should we still care about cables?

  • Posted by admin on February 16, 2018

As the world goes wireless, Indi Sall, technical director, NG Bailey’s IT Services division asks if the days of the wired network are numbered. Compared to a few years ago, plugging things in has started to feel like a major hassle.

In the home environment the wireless smart hub has become the centre of the digital home, connecting smart TV’s, wireless speakers, wireless printers, lighting, power and heating controls, and providing a platform for voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa. This wireless environment is also becoming increasingly visible in the corporate world with networks now supporting all of the above in addition to applications such as united communications and wireless conferencing solutions etc.

Wireless networks have had such a positive impact on the user’s digital experience that it is now impossible to imagine life without them. Does this mean that the time has come to abandon wires altogether?

In terms of throughput speed and continuity – two of the pillars by which today’s corporate networks are judged – the answer should be a plain ‘no’. Here, the wired world still reigns supreme. When considering flexibility, however, cables don’t just falter, they fall by the wayside completely. Have you ever seen anyone plug a cable into their smartphone so they could get faster Internet? Me either.

The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to an increase in network connected devices. As sensors gradually appear in everything, from the clothes we wear to the chairs we sit on, our already-substantial reliance on wireless data is about to spike. Then there really is no going back.

Couple IoT with today’s increasing business appetites for cloud services and workforce mobility, then combine it with end-users’ insatiable consumption of streamed and social media, and it’s easy to see the growth in wireless connectivity and the need for investment in the latest wireless technologies in order to cope with demand.

Over the next three years, these forces will drive a huge upswing in demand for technologies that can optimise wireless infrastructure performance. Many owners of tenanted and high-occupancy buildings, in particular, are having to completely rethink their entire approach to ensure their estate offers state of the art digital connectivity.

Not only must building owners consider Wi-Fi technologies but they must also consider optimising the macro GSM network to ensure excellent 4G cellular coverage. Distributed antenna systems (DAS), which boost 3G and 4G network signals inside a property, are starting to gain serious traction.

By enabling greater in-building availability of mobile operator services, DAS signal boosters can offset the ‘blocking effect’ that many buildings’ physical structure has on GSM signal coverage, overcoming the common ‘poor mobile signal’ problem that many occupants of large buildings experience.

WiFi is also evolving. Increasingly good quality WiFi is being seen as a utility service within public buildings such as universities, hospitals, shopping centres, hotels, transport estates and town centres. Smart public Wi-Fi systems, like the SSE Arena in Belfast, not only transmit zone by zone high-density Wi-Fi signals that enable entire crowds to connect with 50Mbps […]

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