Today, virtually everyone needs wireless connectivity, be it cellular or Wi-Fi; that link to the outside world is crucial for both work and play. But, as with any technology, it takes a lot of work and cooperation to make an industry play nicely together so users can take advantage of it.
Several years ago, Claus Hetting, who began his career at Nokia Networks before becoming involved in Wi-Fi consulting and events organization, realized there was no one place where people interested in Wi-Fi could gather, so he created Wi-Fi NOW, a privately-owned organization that works with everyone in the industry to, as its mission statement says, “make high-quality, high-performance Wi-Fi available everywhere, for everyone.
“We work with individuals, carriers, service providers, tech vendors, and regulators – in short: Any organization that shares this important mission and goal with us.”
Its flagship event is the Wi-Fi World Congress, held annually in three locations around the world, one in the Americas, one in Europe, and one in Asia-Pacific.
“This is something that was started by myself about eight years ago, because I felt that there wasn’t really a proper business/technology community for bringing basically the entire industry together,” Hetting said in an interview. “Wi-Fi Alliance had their meetings, it’s mostly about certification and things like that. And there are other organizations that do bits and pieces of it, but there wasn’t one place where everyone interested in business technology of Wi-Fi could come together.”
And there’s lots happening in the wireless world, he noted. Three years ago, the U.S. released the 6 GHz band of spectrum to Wi-Fi, more than doubling the available bandwidth, and in 2021, Canada followed suit, sweetening the pot by allowing the band to operate outdoors at standard power, rather than at low power only as in the U.S..
That, in turn, led to the extension of the still new-ish Wi-Fi 6 standard (which better handles areas with a high density of users competing for bandwidth than the more common Wi-Fi 5) to support the 6 GHz band in a new version: Wi-Fi 6E. And Wi-Fi 7 is on the way, promising even faster, more consistent connections.
With these and other developments, the Wi-Fi world has plenty to talk about next week, when the Wi-Fi World Congress and Expo comes to Canada. Qualcomm is touting gigabit speeds with Wi-Fi 7 and mesh technology. Canada’s Cognitive Systems is a leader in using Wi-Fi for sensing and motion detection. Intel will present on the future of connectivity in PCs, and Silicon Labs is all about making devices work together.
Taking place Sept. 18-20 at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, the event features a day of training programs, followed by two days of sessions on all facets of Wi-Fi, from standards and new technologies to network and device design, plus an expo showcasing all things Wi-Fi.