In listening to the Wireless Nerd Waves Podcast this week, I got to thinking about Wireless Value Realization. Wireless Value Realization is a Gartner coined term for wireless moving beyond connectivity – wireless becoming a digital innovation platform. Better connectivity is now table stakes. Wireless ubiquity (leveraging multiple technologies such as Wi-Fi/WLAN, HaLow (802.11ah), 802.11ad/ay (60 GHz), 5GLAN/Private 5G/CBRS, Bluetooth/BLE, 802.15.4 (Zigbee, Thread, Matter), LoRaWan etc.), combined with other new capabilities such as location tracking, motion sensing, energy harvesting, will drive innovation, increase efficiency, and converge IT/OT. This is a reality of where the wireless industry is heading today.

If you are a Wi-Fi Engineer, focused solely on Wi-Fi, you need to learn this stuff or you will be left behind. “They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one” – Daenerys Targaryen/Game of Thrones. I personally for example have recently pursued the Certified 5G Specialist from Celona/CWNP, the CBRS Certified Professional Installer (CPI) from Google, and the Certified Wireless IOT Solutions Administrator from CWNP. These programs/certifications cover many of the areas mentioned above. I’m excited about how this all converges. We now have a plethora of radios/spectrum at the edge to best match the use case and again combine that with other new capabilities like location tracking and motion sensing – what a time to be in this space!

We have heard a lot of buzz lately specifically about Private 5G but make no mistake about it, Private 5G or 5GLAN is not a replacement for Wi-Fi but instead they complement each other -Just like all the other technologies mentioned above. When it comes to Private 5G in particular, Enterprises can continue to leverage Wi-Fi for people focused use cases (end user devices, non-critical IOT) and begin to augment Wi-Fi with 5GLAN for Things focused use cases and real-time communications (Telephony, Warehouse Scanners, Security Cameras, robotics). Wi-Fi is great for carpeted offices, non-business critical applications that don’t require guaranteed SLAs, or very low latency, or seamless mobility while 5GLAN is great for uncarpeted areas, business critical and real-time applications that require guaranteed SLAs, very low latency, or seamless mobility. Again, the theme here going forward is pick the best radio, technology and spectrum to best match the use case.

5GLAN brings improved wireless connectivity for business-critical, real-time apps and challenging/uncarpeted areas both indoor and out. It offers more transmit power/range, interference free spectrum with guaranteed SLAs, low latency and truly seamless mobility. Wi-Fi/WLAN and 5GLAN are complimentary. They are better together and will likely scale everywhere in the future (indoor and select outdoor areas). Again improved wireless connectivity, coupled with wireless ubiquity, coupled with new wireless capabilities such as location tracking, motion sensing and even energy harvesting – equal a digital innovation platform. Let’s innovate!