Recently I came across this caricature of Maslow’s hierarchy on LinkedIn. After a good laugh, I started thinking about how common and ubiquitous Wi-Fi has come to be. It seriously does feel like an essential aspect of our daily lives. Without which we lose our ability to execute some of our most basic human tasks.
Taking Wi-Fi for granted
At home my kids expect and demand a system that just works, one that is capable of multiple concurrent Netflix, Skype, Snapchat or Whatsapp sessions. We spend countless hours sharing, posting, learning or following rich content in what I call “socialsphere”. Each of us now connect with our friends and families. Often simultaneously, and in multiple ways. And with concurrent video sessions! The slightest glitch irks everyone. It does not matter if the cable network providing internet to our homes is congested. Or that the innumerable wireless capable devices cause vague issues. It is almost always Wi-Fi’s problem. And with my career background in Wireless, at my home it is always my fault!
When we took our winter vacation someplace warm our resort had paid internet access. Yet they only allowed one session at a time. Strange, I thought. No matter the gourmet delights or the warm sandy beaches. The quality of Wi-Fi access across the resort was a topic of daily discussion. To maximize incidental expense revenue, the resort probably wanted its guests to buy multiple subscriptions per family. Perhaps even by individual! I found that strange as each AP could easily support close to 100 users and unlimited sessions. Or perhaps their ISP throttled their bandwidth because they had chosen a tiered usage plan. Or maybe they were altruistic and simply wanted their guests lying by the pool, ordering food and drinks, versus spending a well deserved vacation on the internet. Either way the Wi-Fi experience was agonizing to say the least. I’m not sure we’ll be visiting that resort again anytime soon. Amazing how a once “nice-to-have” amenity suddenly turned into the primary deciding factor for our next vacation.
Back at work and being a WLAN company we practiced eating our own dog food. We didn’t want to pay to have Ethernet cables to our desktops. We went all-in wireless. In the beginning it wasn’t a breeze. Especially with our printers. Eventually things worked out. We emerged with many interesting product ideas. These led us to reimagine the WLAN experience for our customers.
Thinking beyond radio speeds
The reality is that we have become a Wi-Fi addicted society. Very few technologies have been more widely adopted or become stickier than Wi-Fi. To the industry’s credit the smart people bringing us WLAN products have done a tremendous job innovating fast. Be it chips, radios or antennas. Every few years we need to upgrade our network to benefit from many new experience enhancing capabilities. Contrast that with the pace of innovation in more traditional areas such as cellular. WLAN engineers and designers have moved at breakneck speed. They have brought us incredible performance improvements.
Not all is rosy though in Wi-Fi land. The speed of innovation has brought challenges – whether it’s the customization needed by businesses small and large, or keeping up with ever changing Wi-Fi standards. Not to mention the vast interoperability challenges between devices and networks. It is always the end users who endure poor Wi-Fi experience. The vision of an end to end Wi-Fi system, that works all the time and everywhere is still emerging. An experience that resembles water and electricity. One that the next generation of mankind will come to treat as a “bare necessity”.
To enable the next wave of growth in Enterprise, Wi-Fi needs to be an “always-on” service. It must deliver consistent and high performance connectivity. Everywhere, and to any device in the Enterprise. And that is at the core of our mission here at KodaCloud.
Wi-Fi has proven to be amazingly addictive, now let’s make it super reliable!
CEO & Founder