Waiting for the Wi-Fi Revolution
The Insufficiency of Modern Networks
Today's wireless Internet models are evolving rapidly. It seems like it was only a few years ago that everyone used what we would now consider a primitive network like 2G. Yet at the time, it was quite an impressive feat to be able to bring the Internet to people's mobile phones. Today with the evolution of 4G LTE services, it would seem that mobile Internet systems are pretty well evolved and are more than sufficient to meet the needs of the average consumer and the technology geek as well. But things are not all that simple. There is much to be desired in terms of how the Internet models are structured and in terms of how much control the telecom companies are willing to give up over their traditional voice revenues.
To start with, there is the increasing threat of bandwidth caps. Almost every single plan today is subject to this rule with the common bandwidth cap being either 2 GB or 5 GB. Unsurprisingly, this puts a damper on any resource hungry Internet application making heavy use of video or voice. It's important that Internet bandwidth be treated as an end in itself rather than as a means to an end. If the evolution of the modern PC has taught us anything, it's that applications grow and evolve to fit the resources which are available to them. If people stopped to think about whether anyone really needed dual core systems or whether 3 GB of RAM was enough for anyone, then we wouldn't be able to run many heavy applications today that requires those resources and more.
Wi-Fi to the Rescue
Unfortunately, there's little hope of telecom carriers changing their practices in the near future. Bandwidth caps are here to stay and the prospect of carriers offering cheap data plans without any voice minutes is also a bleak one. This of course is a direct consequence of the wireless Internet service providers being in the same business as voice services. They cannot favor the former at the expense of the latter – especially since it has served them so well in the past.
But as customers, we are always looking for better ways to save money. And if there's one wireless network which serves our needs beautifully, it's Wi-Fi. Consider that most Wi-Fi networks are free to use whether they are in your home or in your office. Also take into consideration that the speeds on Wi-Fi networks blast away anything available on mobile broadband. Add to that the reliability and robustness of Wi-Fi, and we have an awesome recipe for the future.
The number of hotspots available to people are growing every day. It's a fair bet that most of the time an average person will be in a zone offering free Wi-Fi. As soon as the idea catches on that people can switch to Wi-Fi networks and turn off their mobile data services at the same time, it will signal a paradigm shift in the way people communicate and network. The technology geeks among us have already caught on to the idea. How long will it be before everyone else does?