For those who have ever run into the hassle of slow Wi-Fi, I feel your pain, and likely, so does most everybody whose run into this issue at one time or another. Using multiple devices on Wi-Fi can be a headache on par with the worst, and as more devices use Wi-Fi for everything from monitoring dampness in a basement to whether or not there's milk in the fridge, we're going to need more local bandwidth as much as outgoing. One next generation communications technology may be set to change all that, though, by using an infrared signal as the base for Wi-Fi connectivity.
The beams of infrared light offer some exciting new ramifications for next generation communications, including the fact that some incredible quantities of bandwidth can be carried therein; the beams in question can carry as much as 40 Gbit/s per ray, which is going to be enough to handle most any current next generation communications application. It will likely be enough to handle any new applications for the next couple of years at least.
Better yet is that network congestion may be a thing of the past under such systems, since each user would get his or her own “beam of light” in the system, which would be able to handle the traffic to the limit of the connection itself. The system is maintenance free, would need no power as it's mostly a matter of changing light wavelengths, and is safe to eyes as the safe wavelength doesn't actually reach the eye.
This is still largely a theoretical system, being considered mostly as an “in principle” matter, which means there may be some unexpected pitfalls to consider along with putting the principle into the practical. Still, there's a lot to be said for an approach like this, if it works; we often consider bandwidth as just a problem between the device and the website, but we don't consider the logjam that often takes place when we look at several devices working with a common router. Indeed, one big problem with the system is that, so far, it's a download-only system; uploads are still being done with radio signals at last report, and there may be a fairly significant efficiency loss in using two different media for upload and download.
The beam of light approach may not deliver the kind of value the initial projections suggest it would, but we may ultimately have a next generation communications technology worth discussing going forward.