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Monetising WiFi: Think Beyond the User

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At the end of this blog, we answer the following frequently asked questions in addition to other topics:

Q1. What is WiFi?

Q2. What is WiFi 6?

What Makes Monetising WiFi Such a Priority?

The widespread availability of WiFi-enabled devices—including smartphones, PCs and tablets—has led to enormous demand for reliable and cost-effective WiFi services across the globe. As a result, operators are refining their strategies and deploying WiFi networks in greater numbers to help grown their bottom line. Monetising WiFi, therefore, has become a huge priority. The technology provides a huge opportunity to operators; according to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, the global WiFi market will be worth $93.23 billion by 2018. With such projections, it’s no wonder operators are looking closely at and implementing various WiFi business models.

What Are the Fastest-Growing Monetisation Models for WiFi?

According to a recent report from Infonetics Research, the fastest-growing monetisation models for WiFi services are:

  • Tiered/ premium hotspots, where users pay a premium for higher-speed data
  • Managed hotspots, where a service provider owns the network and manages services for building owners, businesses and others looking to get into the WiFi game
  • WiFi roaming, which allows users to roam between different hotspots and wireless networks seamlessly

However, many operators aren’t relying only on paying users to grow their business.

Then Are There Other Models for WiFi Monetisation?

New revenue opportunities exist in the form of advertising based on a user’s specific location; partnerships with retail outlets or hospitality locations that want to provide value-added services to their customers that is venue-paid rather than customer-paid; promotional deals for customers that buy additional services from the operator; and innovative capabilities such as app-based push notification services based on user location that might offer them a discount at a nearby restaurant.

Creative operators are finding new ways to monetise WiFi services. Regardless of the business model, the operator chooses, being able to provide these sophisticated types of services is a requirement. Operators require a flexible platform that allows them not only to create packages and promotions but is configured specifically with the goal of helping them creatively monetise services such as WiFi. Elitecore’s WiFi Service Management Platform (SMP) provides a comprehensive solution that caters to the emerging demand of WiFi and provides quantifiable business value to operators by offering various innovative business models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is WiFi?

Put simply, Wifi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a Wifi hotspot that people in its vicinity may avail to get access to internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a Wifi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, Wifi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN, that allows for devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since Wifi signals need to carry significantly greater amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

Q2. What is WiFi 6?

WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is also a common name for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). WiFi 6 is the newest and fastest version of the WiFi 802.11 wireless local area network specification standard. IEEE 802.11ax or commonly marketed as WiFi 6 by the industry body WiFi-Alliance is a major advancement over its previous generation that offers multiple devices to run concurrently on one network without compromising on the data speeds and response times.

The 802.11ax standard was approved by the IEEE on 9th February 2021 is designed to operate between 1 and 7.125 GHz, including the widely used 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. To better understand, WiFi or Wireless Fidelity devices usually translate radio waves into binary code using a technique called QAM ie Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. The older generations of WiFi are capable of 256 QAM ie it could send 8 bits of binary data in a single transmission whereas WiFi 6 is capable of 1024 QAM ie 10 bits of binary data in a single transmission.

This significant increase helps WiFi 6 devices to provide 30% faster speeds than its predecessors. The previous WiFi standards like 802.11/a/g/n/ac used OFDM which meant all of the subcarriers or tones were allocated to a single device at any instance of time. WiFi 5 introduced Multi-user MIMO enabling multiple users on the wireless medium at the same time thereby adding multiple users across different streams with each device using all of the subcarriers.

With WiFi 6, OFDMA can now portion up the individual sub-carriers or tones and these can be allocated to a number of devices. Apart from greater bandwidths, higher data speeds snd lower latencies, WiFi 6 also offers better spectrum utilisation using orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), Multi-user MIMO support, better power consumption and enhanced security protocols.

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