The tech industry has what I like to call a “replacement complex.” Eager entrepreneurs and aggressive vendors have a tendency to claim their new technology will replace whatever iteration came before. Video conferencing was supposed to replace corporate travel. Cloud was supposed to replace cumbersome data centers. Carriers and service providers are now starting to say the same thing about 5G, saying it will simply “replace” Wi-Fi.

5G is an important technology. Beyond faster speeds, 5G offers low latency, increased capacity, and higher data rates. Once realized, 5G will be a massive improvement from 4G and will signify a new chapter of next-gen connectivity.

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But not only is the full promise of 5G years away from being fully realized, even when it is, it won't replace Wi-Fi. Just like I bet you continue to travel for work, and your business continues to depend on mission-critical applications that live in the data center. Wi-Fi is too omnipresent; it underpins critical communications for consumers and businesses all over the world. Despite the dramatic zero-sum games often played out by pundits and vendors, the reality is that 5G and Wi-Fi's latest standard — Wi-Fi 6 — will both play a role in creating powerful end-user experiences for years to come.

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