Leave a comment

Get ready for a new Wi-Fi standard

Wi-Fi is one of the most important developments in modern technology. It freed laptops, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles, streaming video gadgets, smart TVs and other gadgets from the tyranny of the cord and lets you use them anywhere in your home while still connecting to the Internet.

Of course, Wi-Fi isn't perfect. It has notorious problems with range, interference from other gadgets, and annoying dead spots. Fortunately, you can overcome most of these annoyances with a few simple router tricks, and each new Wi-Fi standard offers improvements. However, Wi-Fi isn't well suited to smaller gadgets like smart watches and other wearables, or Internet of Things appliances like smart thermostats, lightbulbs and coffee pots. But that could be about to change.

Wi-Fi's biggest problem in smaller gadgets is how much power it draws. For battery-powered gadgets, that means recharging them continually, and a smart home with dozens of Wi-Fi gadgets installed could see a hit in the electric bill.

For low-powered applications, Bluetooth, especially Bluetooth version 4.0 and its Low Energy standard, is much better. However, Bluetooth doesn't work with Wi-Fi, meaning your small gadgets can't always communicate with your larger gadgets.

Next page: Wi-Fi's solution
One third of pirate sites give you viruses
Previous Happening Now

One third of pirate sites give you viruses

If you care about sound quality, you need this little 'BoomStick'
Next Happening Now

If you care about sound quality, you need this little 'BoomStick'

View Comments ()