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Wi-Fi tops Gartner's list of wireless tech trends for 2019

Wi-Fi tops Gartner's list of wireless tech trends for 2019

Wi-Fi will remain the primary high-performance networking technology through 2024, according to Gartner's top ten wireless technology trends for enterprise architecture (EA) and technology innovation leaders.

Gartner claims new forms of wireless technology will become central to emerging technologies including robots, drones, self-driving vehicles and new medical devices over the next five years.

Nick Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, said: "Business and IT leaders need to be aware of these technologies and trends now. Many areas of wireless innovation will involve immature technologies, such as 5G and millimetre wave, and may require skills that organisations currently don't possess. EA and technology innovation leaders seeking to drive innovation and technology transformation should identify and pilot innovative and emerging wireless technologies to determine their potential and create an adoption roadmap."

After Wi-Fi, Gartner lists other key trends including 5G cellular, vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) wireless, long-range wireless power, low-power Wide-Area (LPWA) networks, wireless sensing, enhanced wireless location tracking, millimetre wave wireless, backscatter networking and software-defined radio (SDR).

5G cellular systems are starting to be deployed in 2019 and 2020 says the global market research and analysis firm.

The complete rollout will take five to eight years. In some cases, the technology may supplement Wi-Fi, as it is more cost-effective for high-speed data networking in large sites, such as ports, airports and factories.

"5G is still immature, and initially, most network operators will focus on selling high-speed broadband. However, the 5G standard is evolving and future iterations will improve 5G in areas such as the Internet of Things (IOT) and low-latency applications," Jones added.

The absorption and reflection of wireless signals can be used for sensing purposes. Wireless sensing technology can be used, for example, as an indoor radar system for robots and drones. Virtual assistants can also use radar tracking to improve their performance when multiple people are speaking in the same room.

"Sensor data is the fuel of the IOT. Accordingly, new sensor technologies enable innovative types of applications and services," Jones said. "Systems including wireless sensing will be integrated in a multitude of use cases, ranging from medical diagnostics to object recognition and smart home interaction."

According to Gartner SDR shifts the majority of the signal processing in a radio system away from chips and into software. This enables the radio to support more frequencies and protocols.

The technology has been available for many years, but has never taken off as it is more expensive than dedicated chips. However, Gartner expects SDR to grow in popularity as new protocols emerge. As older protocols are rarely retired, SDR will enable a device to support legacy protocols, with new protocols simply being enabled via software upgrade.

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