Forget 5G, it's Wi-Fi that continues to grow

Faster 4G – and the promise of 5G – will help businesses on the move. But Wi-Fi will remain a core service for years to come.

This benefits businesses in three ways: Wi-Fi is still usually faster than a mobile connection; Wi-Fi-only tablets are cheaper than those that also include a cellular modem, and there is no need to sign employees up for cellular data plans.

These plans remain relatively expensive; anecdotal evidence from CIOs suggest that only workers whose jobs make cellular data access essential are given 4G-ready tablets or devices. For others, Wi-Fi is usually good enough, especially when combined with tethering or a mobile hotspot on their smartphones, for occasional use.

The fact that Wi-Fi is now the network connection of choice in more and more offices is also likely to ensure its survival: it is hard to imagine a smart device now, that has no in-built Wi-Fi. And, as more non-IT devices, from cameras to domestic appliances, come with Wi-Fi built in, the technology's future looks assured at least until 5G comes along. 

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

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