The home broadband provider, Comcast, recently worked a deal with Intel to enable 10 gigabit broadband WiFi in homes. While Comcast continues to grow as one of the largest ISPs in the country and Intel continues to build smaller, more efficient chips, the two companies announced a key deal which will give Comcast an edge over other home broadband providers. The deal is essentially a collaboration with Comcast on devices and services to enable speeds of 10 Gigabits per second on home devices, as well as in-home WiFi 6 (802.11ax), making the company stand out even further. WiFi 6 will inevitably be the new standard that requires less energy to work, much faster than the previous WiFi 5 (802.11ac) standard, and sits as an alternative to 5G for IoT connections.
The first devices that will be compatible with the next generation of connectivity are expected to be rolled out in 2019, however, Comcast expects its first 10Gbps and WiFi 6 services to come in 2020. So until the service is available, the hardware won’t see any difference in speed. This also doesn’t account for the practicality of having such a service. 10Gb speeds are virtually never required in residential infrastructure for normal day to day use. Even for gaming and streaming activities, a 10Gbps connection service isn’t necessary.
Once the new standards are in place with compatible hardware, routers, and connection points up to par, there will still be a bottleneck, it will just be shifted to the service plan you pay for. Even if you somehow get a 10Gbps internet connection, you may not even realize it because the locations you are downloading from have some form of limitation, either a physical limitation in their servers or artificially limiting the download speeds to prevent people like those with a 10Gbps connection from overloading theirs. Sure, you now will have the capability to pay for a 10Gbps home connection, but will you need to? More than likely, the answer will be no.
This isn’t to say the super-fast connectivity of the future is useless, but to focus the intentions of it more accurately. The achievement that Comcast and Intel are hoping to realize has to do with how we use the internet now and how that will develop in the future. Since video and streaming video is currently the largest demand of internet usage, not only does the faster performance need to be expected, but also the reliability of connection, improved devices, higher quality video and better upload speeds with low latency. And it isn’t only about a single user anymore. The future will likely be about personal broadcasting with multiple devices in the house streaming, gaming, downloading, and uploading all at the same time. By 2022, the number of connected devices are expected to near about 13 devices per person. A 10Gbps connection speed would be great but being able to practically utilize the improvements with this many products over the network is the real test. It’s not so much about the connection speed, but more of how the internet will accommodate and exponentially expanding number of internet devices.