Wi-Fi's contribution to the global economy now measures in trillions of dollars.
It should come as no surprise that Wi-Fi is a central service in the global economy, especially as countless organizations worldwide switched to a remote workforce because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Wi-Fi is poised to have an even more considerable economic influence in the coming years as more services move online and the number of connected devices grows.
A recent study commissioned by the Wi-Fi Alliance suggests that Wi-Fi's global economic surplus value is $3.3 trillion in 2021 and will grow to $4.9 trillion by 2025. These staggering figures indicate that wireless connections are no longer a nice-to-have amenity. Wi-Fi is a critical piece of infrastructure for all businesses—one that requires consistent uptime.
Looking at the numbers
The Wi-Fi Commission reports that the economic value of Wi-Fi increased by 125% since 2018, when it was $1.96 trillion. A look ahead to 2025 suggests that its value will increase by 150% within seven years. These statistics are remarkable and driven by a few different factors.
For starters, there will be an estimated 4.2 billion Wi-Fi-connected device shipments in 2021, taking the cumulative shipment number to 37.5 billion. This stat means that there are about five Wi-Fi-connected devices for every person on Earth. Of these shipped devices, 16.4 billion are in use, a number equaling more than two devices for every living person.
We're also seeing new, faster technology come to the forefront, as 2021 will see about 2.2 billion shipments of Wi-Fi 6 devices and 338 million shipments of Wi-Fi 6E devices. And as connections become more efficient worldwide, the improvement could drive even more economic growth.
From a usage perspective, there are over 500 million public Wi-Fi access points in the world, and 63% of all mobile traffic offloads to Wi-Fi. These numbers show an incredible number of places to connect, which is one reason for its vast influence on the global economy.
The Wi-Fi breakdown by country
Of course, different countries use Wi-Fi at varying rates. This usage helps determine how much the technology benefits the economy in those locations.
Wi-Fi provides $995 billion in economic value in the United States, a number that's expected to grow to $1.58 trillion by 2025. The U.S. benefits the most from this technology by far. Still, other powerhouse economies like the European Union—$457.6 billion today and $637.2 billion in 2025—and Japan—$251.1 billion today and $324.9 billion in 2025—also see immense value.
Wi-Fi provides significant economic value in smaller countries as well, including $10.6 billion in Singapore and $7 billion in New Zealand, and developing nations, such as its $19 billion impact in Columbia.
Why Wi-Fi has economic value
All of these statistics show that Wi-Fi provides economic value, but how? There are many different factors, but much of the benefit comes down to the efficiency of money changing hands.
For starters, consumers are using Wi-Fi more often than ever to make purchases, which means that businesses directly benefit from the technology’s usage. Service providers also capitalize on Wi-Fi given that over three-quarters of American households have broadband, and 89% of those houses use Wi-Fi.
However, it isn't just home connections making a difference, given free Wi-Fi connections are sprouting up everywhere. This trend is removing many traditional cost barriers to people accessing the service. There are also complete Wi-Fi ecosystems at many businesses, including IoT networks that connect entire organizations through wireless internet signals. Other factors that are sure to make Wi-Fi more valuable in the coming years include the Wi-Fi 6 standard and Wi-Fi 6E, which operates on the new 6 GHz band.
What the future holds and how to keep networks on track
Wireless internet is no longer a bonus feature; it's an essential part of doing business and navigating the modern world. Canada has already deemed high-speed internet, including Wi-Fi access, an essential service. And other countries are sure to follow.
Your business needs Wi-Fi that consistently functions at optimal levels—so continually monitoring connections, devices, and networks is essential.
7Signal's Sapphire Eye® is a revolutionary Wi-Fi sensor and software client that provides complete onsite network visibility. Our Mobile Eye® enables IT teams to assess remote devices' connectivity and performance while connecting to a diverse range of offsite Wi-Fi networks. Both platforms provide the tools you need to ensure consistent, high-quality connections by identifying and solving problems before end-users even notice them.
Using wireless network monitoring to troubleshoot issues in real-time ensures that you reap the benefits of this crucial technology—and don't miss out on your share of the $3.3 trillion Wi-Fi pie.
7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise wireless experience monitoring. 7SIGNAL provides a cloud-based platform that continuously monitors wireless networks and identifies elusive performance issues impacting application performance and digital experience. By taking the “outside-in” approach to monitoring, 7SIGNAL has visibility into the edge of any enterprise or home Wi-Fi network where complex device interaction exists, and user experience matters most. The platform maximizes employee productivity, operational efficiency, and network ROI. Sapphire Eye® and Mobile Eye® are designed for and deployed at the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, healthcare systems, and government agencies. Learn more at www.7signal.com.