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Published   Faultline Online Reporter

The Emergence of Smart Wi-Fi

A Rethink white paper, sponsored by SoftAtHome.

Based on interviews with HKT (PCCW), Liberty Global, Orange, Swisscom and Telenor.

When Wi-Fi stops working we all notice, we all get irritated and we all feel helpless. Whatever version of Wi-Fi you have, on one occasion or another there always appears to be a problem. Except when there isn’t. Because Wi-Fi will go for long periods of time doing just what it’s supposed to. Unfortunately for ISPs (Internet Service Providers), their customers rarely notice how well Wi-Fi has worked when it works, they just remember how frustrating it was when it didn’t. This is not because Wi-Fi is broken, but rather because it is a victim of its own extraordinary success. The more it offers, the more everyone wants from it, the more devices which are connected to it simultaneously, the more it has to evolve into something new, in order to stay in our good books. So far the desire for improvement has been coped with admirably by chip companies, by constant improvements to the PHY (physical layer), effectively the silicon of the Wi-Fi, and the MAC, (Media or Medium Access Control), the software which shares out the Wi-Fi resources between users. They have tried to improve the native underlying speed of connection, and how much data you can get through it.

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