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5 technological innovations that will mark the coming years


Beyond WiFi and 5G there are many other innovations in the communications arena that we cannot overlook for the next few years, collected by a report by Gartner.

Communications are the basic sustenance of modern technology: all our electronic devices are connected to the Internet and with other equipment in real time, both in mobility and in a fixed space. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are voices that have already changed the term of the Information Society to that of the hyperconnected society. Or to talk about concepts like the Internet of Everything to refer to this omnipresence of networks in our daily lives.

A playground that is dominated, to date, by two major trends: 5G and WiFi. The first, mobile networks supported by telecommunications operators, is the great promise to offer high speeds and low latencies in any corner of the world, facilitating new business models such as autonomous cars, remote surgery or virtual reality streaming. Although analysts like Gartner warn that it will take up to eight years to see its concrete deployment, its potential for disruption is exceptional.

For its part, WiFi is the wireless connectivity that we enjoy in our homes and that with the sixth version of its standard aims to allow us to connect up to four times more devices at the same time in the same local connection. In addition, experts warn, Wi-Fi networks will find new features, for example, in radar systems or as a key component in two-factor authentication systems.

But although these two emblems concentrate most of the market interest, there are many other innovations in the communications arena that we cannot overlook for the next few years. That is the case of the five wireless technologies that we explain below, which not only serve to transport data: also energy wirelessly.

New networks for the Internet of Things

From the analysis firm Gartner stand out as one of the most promising technologies in these lides to the wireless systems of millimeter waves. It is a system that operates at frequencies in the range of 30 to 300 gigahertz, with wavelengths in the range of 1 to 10 millimeters. Thanks to this particular provision, this type of connectivity can complement other networks (such as Wi-Fi and 5G) for communications that require short-range and high bandwidth (for example, 4K and 8K video transmission).

In another spectrum of action we find the backscatter technologies, with which it is possible to send data with a very low energy consumption, even in areas that are already saturated with other wireless signals. Fundamental characteristics for the ubiquitous devices connected to the Internet of Things, which are constantly sending information through the Internet.

Following in the world of the Internet of Things, work is being done notably with low-power wide area networks (LPWA), capable of covering large areas (and even entire cities) for IoT applications. This kind of connectivity (which includes Narrowband IoT, Long Term Evolution for Machines, LoRa and Sigfox) requires very little battery consumption, making it ideal for permanently active sensors and, in addition, its modules are extremely economical.

Wireless power

As we said, wireless connections are not restricted solely to the transmission of information, but also serve to send electricity without the need to tie us in any way. And although it is true that first-generation wireless energy systems have not had the expected success (mainly due to the need to place specific devices for charging), new wireless charging technologies with ranges of up to one meter have already begun to proliferate. yes they could eliminate forever the power cables of most devices in our home or office.

New generation radars

If you think of wireless networks beyond the Internet, you will surely return to one of the pioneering applications in the use of invisible waves: radar. Not surprisingly, the operation of any radar is nothing more than sending and receiving the reflection of certain wireless signals in order to detect obstacles along the way.

And while these systems are widely used in aeronautics or connected automotive, they can also be essential indoors, for example for the control of drones or robots in industrial spaces. For this, WiFi-based technologies can be used that employ the same mechanisms as the wider spectrum radar but adapted to the particular needs of these use cases, detailed from Gartner.

Indoor Geolocation

In fact, the indoor location will be increased with the use of wireless communication systems to detect the location of people in that area through their connected devices.

Along these lines, the arrival of the next IEEE 802.11az standard will enable high precision tracking at approximately one meter of accuracy and this issue is also intended to be a feature of future 5G standards.

Software defined radio

Finally, we have to talk about software-defined radio, better known by its acronym: SDR. With this technology, most of the signal processing in a radio system moves away from the chips, to a software layer, which allows the radio to support more frequencies and protocols.

Although SDR systems have been available for many years, they have never taken off, as it is more expensive than dedicated chips. However, Gartner expects this innovation to grow in popularity as new protocols emerge and they have to live with legacy protocols and manage all that complexity with just a simple software update.