As 2022 begins, it is more apparent than ever that internet networks—both residential and commercial—are struggling to meet demand. From too many devices competing for bandwidth to inadequate broadband and fiber infrastructure in rural areas, how we access the internet appears to be near a breaking point.
It’s no surprise, then, that some of the biggest trends in 2022 are to help solve some of these issues. If you’re an integrator, electrical contractor, smart-home specialist, or ISP, here’s a look at three trends in particular we predict will have a significant impact on the year ahead.
Fixed 5G to the home
We’ve been hearing for years and years that 5G’s time to shine is upon us, only to see the hype being just that—hype. But that 5G hype finally appears to be heading in the predicted direction, with more US carriers offering fixed 5G wireless internet access. This development is incredibly enticing in rural areas that lack adequate broadband or fiber infrastructure.
But it’s not just rural areas that are a focal point for 5G providers. Companies that offer remote working and work-from-home options find fixed 5G wireless to be an effective way to isolate a remote worker’s home system from their work system.
For FTTP integrators and ISPs, this competition presents itself as a clear call to action for revising how packages and services are offered and marketed to consumers.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) goes mainstream and Wi-Fi 6E arrives
Of the newest Wi-Fi standards, Wi-Fi 6 has already been around for a few years, but 2022 looks to be when it truly goes mainstream, with the latest devices and routers coming equipped to support it.
Wi-Fi 6 is perfectly positioned to alleviate some of the main issues plaguing overworked internet networks, offering throughput speeds up to 10Gbps (significantly higher than its predecessor). However, Wi-Fi 6E is the new ‘enhanced’ version that builds on that technology and uses the 6GHz spectrum, which prevents overlapping with the congested 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums before, helping open up busy networks.
Integrators will need to incorporate Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E enabled devices into network planning. They’ll also need to educate clients on the need to couple this new equipment with well-planned physical networks, such as fiber with dedicated Ethernet access points.
IoT supply chain issues
While several trends aim to alleviate the bandwidth crunch facing home and business networks, others may only exacerbate them. For instance, Forrester is predicting the global supply chain issues that have resulted in a chip shortage will continue until 2023.
These issues present profound implications for the IoT market, with the production and supply of smart devices and even routers in jeopardy.
If you’re an integrator, smart home specialist, or electrical contractor, you’ll need to consider how this impacts your ability to meet client demands and expectations. You may need to explore multiple means of supply for specific devices so that you have some redundancies built into your operations.
A supply chain crunch that limits the production of things like Wi-Fi 6 routers may also, conversely, result in even greater demand from consumers for stuff like FTTP and dedicated fiber access points throughout the home.