WiFi is often mentioned in the context as being a key requirement in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and although that may be stretching it just a bit (but not for some people!), it is undeniable that WiFi is a critical part of the consumer and corporate broadband experience.
A recent study by Strategy Analytics and P3 demonstrated the usage of WiFi vs. Mobile on the US carriers, comparing the number of sessions, bytes, and usage time for mobile and WiFi:
WiFi is clearly the dominant connection in terms of download bytes by mobile consumers. It is also a leader in the consumer IoT space for connecting home devices to networks - recent announcements by Amazon and Google for their WiFi-centric Echo and Home solutions illustrate the growing trend to manage and connect devices through the home WiFi. My home is not typical when it comes to devices, as I have almost 40 connected devices, and only 3-4 of them are hardwired to the network (and two of those are consoles that I stream 4K video to so I want to isolate them from my WiFi network). When I go into any Procera office, I never connect to a network jack, in fact many laptops don't even have an Ethernet port anymore.
With this as a background, the importance of delivering a high quality of experience for WiFi connectivity across the user spectrum has never been more important. All of the WiFi operators presenting at the Wireless Global Congress event sponsored by the Wireless Broadband Alliance talked about the evolution of WiFi into a critical infrastructure component from a "best effort" medium and the importance of delivering a high QoE to users on their WiFi networks. Procera has even launched a WiFi Service Assurance Solutions (Solution Brief here) that is already deployed with several operators - both for consumer and enterprise service offerings. It starts by monitoring the critical services for WiFi (DHCP, DNS, and RADIUS) that are required just to get the user on the network (how many times have you been at a free WiFi location and not even been able to get to the login portal!) and monetize that connection. We then overlay a network-wide service assurance view of the network quality and the applications that are driving consumption across the entire network (and in WiFi it is not always just video - App Store downloads are big bandwidth consumers). Finally, we deliver tools that help the Customer Care teams troubleshoot and determine Root Cause Analysis (RCA) for individual subscribers that are having issues with the WiFi network.
Here at Procera we are big believers in WiFI, and our continuing work with organizations like the WBA and customers like Boingo (see here) keeps us at the forefront of the latest trends for WiFi deployments. Let us know if we can help you!