Will Wi-Fi Connect The Internet of Things?

The phrase seems to be everywhere technology is considered — the Internet of Things (IoT) — a simple description for a vast and uncharted world of devices that will soon be sending and receiving data at a rate that is hardly conceivable at this point. According to Cisco, the Internet of Things could become a $19 trillion market in the next decade, a staggering number for an industry that is just getting started.

There are many reasons to be excited about the potential of the IoT, not least of all the advancement of so-called “smart cities” using sensors to map critical infrastructure, emergencies, and weather changes. Intel’s Rajeev Nanda has gone on record saying that the IoT is the most exciting technology advancement in the last 20 years. Still, the IoT has significant hurdles to overcome in the enterprise and at home, especially when it comes to security.
For consumers, however, the threat of personal data being compromised likely isn’t as much of an issue as how all of these future devices will connect to one another and to the Internet. This may not seem like a huge obstacle to overcome, but in order for everything to work together, there has to be a set of unified standards. Intel, Samsung, Dell, Broadcom, and several other major tech companies announced the Open Interconnect Consortium to create such standards, but questions still remain. For example, will IoT devices connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi or other technology?

Wi-Fi appears to be the best option for IoT connectivity. Although Bluetooth technology uses a lower amount of power to transmit data, appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, dishwashers, lighting, and other everyday objects are often already connected to a power source instead of relying on battery power. Plus, Wi-Fi has become a ubiquitous part of our lives and a trusted way to connect devices.

With dozens of appliances poised to be Internet devices, households will need a more robust connection to handle all of the traffic. Though the data transmitted by IoT devices will pale in comparison to the amount streaming video requires, the addition of multiple machines using the same network will make using the old, 802.11n standard more troublesome.

To prepare for the onslaught of new, connected devices and the meteoric rise of streaming video, online gaming, and file transfers, consumers should review the benefits of adopting the 3x faster speeds of 802.11ac wireless technology. Check out intel.com/wireless for all the details to see how you can be ready for the wild world of the IoT that’s just around the corner.