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Media drives 12% increase in home nets

Posted: 30 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:home network? WLAN? LAN device? media networks?

A new report from IMS Research forecasts that WLANs, xDSL access networks and DSPs will continue to dominate home networking and sees an estimated 12 percent growth in unit sales over the current five-year period.

"The opportunity is for those who can cash in on rising interest in whole home multimedia networks for video and voice," said Tom Hackenberg, an embedded processing research analyst with IMS. "Home data networks are beginning to mature, but multimedia capable whole home networks are still very much an emerging market," he said.

The market for access and LAN devices in the home will rise 11.9 percent on a compound annual basis from 256 million units in 2007 to about 450 million units in 2012, according to a new report from IMS. However, revenues will increase at a statelier 7.6 percent pace from about $10 billion in 2007 to $14.5 billion in 2012, as product prices decline.

"Interestingly security and home automation products will piggyback on the emerging media networks," Hackenberg added.

LAN devices such as routers, bridges and interface cards will see the fastest growth, rising some 17.6 percent on a unit basis over the period to about 265 million units, according to IMS. The percentage of those devices based around wireless nets such as Wi-Fi will grow from about 65 percent today to about 70 percent by 2012, the report projects.

"There also will be significant growth in hybrid wireless/wired home networks over the next five years," said Hackenberg.

Wireless Ethernet links currently make up the second largest number of connections with some 30 million links deployed, but the group is only growing about five percent on a compound annual basis. By contrast, powerline, phoneline and coax links are growing at rates ranging from 28 to 50 percent.

Worldwide, xDSL technologies continue to be the home access net of choice. About 71 percent of home access networks were based on some form of xDSL in 2007, a slice that will decline just slightly to 64 percent by 2012, according to the report.

Under the covers, DSPs will continue to dominate other processor types as the most prevalent in home networking systems. About 500 million DSPs shipped into home net systems in 2007, a figure that will grow to more than 825 million by 2012, IMS predicts. The next two largest categories in digital silicon for home networks are 4- to 8bit microprocessors and ASSPs, roughly tied at a little less than 400 million units each, shipping into home net systems by 2012.

"DSPs will continue to be the cheapest alternative for signal processing jobs that will become increasingly important as home nets move to carrying more voice and video traffic," Hackenberg said.

Home networking systems are undergoing a transition from hard-coded MCUs to low end microprocessors. That's because designers need more performance and flexibility to deal with nets that increasingly sport more bandwidth to link to a growing number of devices, he added.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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