WiFi Hotspot Growth and Increased Usage By Wireless Carrier Customers
Simply by looking around, you can see the incredible increase in smartphones, tablets, wearable technology and many other Internet-enabled devices. That increase in Internet usage, has led to an increase in demand for Wi-Fi hotspots. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are projected to grow from $64 million in 2015 to an incredible $432 million by 2020, according to a Cisco forecast that was recently released.
This rapid growth of usage was starting to worry wireless carriers who were concerned that heavy usage will cause them to hit the spectrum availability limit. However, because WiFi hotspots are also growing and expect to be 7 times more prevalent in 2020 than they were 5 years earlier, much of that demand will end up back on the Wi-Fi networks. This is partly because wireless carriers now choose to limit monthly data consumption, forcing wireless users to take advantage of home, work and public WiFi in order to avoid excess usage charges.
Wireless Usage and Hotspots
Wireless carriers encourage users to use Wi-Fi hotspots to help manage their data consumption. While that is easy enough if you are at home, it used to be challenging to find public places with Wi-Fi not too long ago. However, thanks to the increased adoption of technology, WiFi growth has taken off. Wireless users can connect to local hotspots in a variety of places like restaurants, stores, schools, hospitals, waiting rooms, and even parks. Because Internet access is often faster when using these hotspots, it is increased incentive for users to choose it.
Another change looming on the horizon with increased growth in WiFi hotspots is the fact that we will run out of IP addresses. According to the Cisco report, there will be approximately 4.1 billion Internet users in the world in 2020 compare to a 2015 total of 3 billion. A 10 billion increase in the number of networked devices over this same period is making people take notice. The IPv4 protocol will run out of IP addresses with this rapid growth. This has led to the acceleration of the IPv6 protocol which has significantly more possible addresses.
Wireless carriers seem to be ahead of the game with their data limits. They are preventing themselves from having to deal with a spectrum availability limit, while transferring much of the data requirements to other providers. Overall, its a smart strategy.