Private wireless networks that drive enterprise environments — from manufacturing to logistics to office campuses and more — are on the threshold of a massive evolutionary leap forward.

After a decade of incremental progress, 2023 will be the year that we will likely see widespread and large-scale convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular in the enterprise space. This convergence will unleash incredible new potential for bandwidth, efficiency, security and flexibility as theoretical goals finally achieve practical reality.

It’s been a long and complicated path. The typical process of leaping from the drawing board to the enterprise involves the publication of new standards, earning regulatory approvals (first in the United States, and then by degrees elsewhere), the introduction of compatible connected devices and, finally, earning broader marketplace adoption.

It’s been made even more complicated by the very element of both Wi-Fi and cellular that makes convergence possible in the first place: The availability of shared, unlicensed and licensed spectrum and the challenges in managing that spectrum responsibly and efficiently.

In 2023, we’re going to see how amazingly that code has been cracked. Assisted by an increasingly cooperative regulatory environment, the future of enterprise networks is about to be born on a global scale.

The here and now

Today, many large enterprise environments rely on a mix of Wi-Fi and indoor/outdoor small cell or distributed antenna systems (DAS) for cellular connectivity. The two networks run side by side, each with its own strengths for particular applications.

Wi-Fi is well-suited to most connectivity needs, as it’s an economical and efficient way to connect users and (increasingly often)