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Wi-Fi finds huge market in mobile handsets

Posted: 09 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi? mobile handset? 802.11n?

The ubiquity of Wi-Fi technology and advanced mobile phones are propelling in a new age for people who want high-performance multimedia experience at their fingertips. Carriers, handset makers, and end users are embracing Wi-Fi on the handset for its coverage benefits, bandwidth boost, and wide availability. New data from ABI Research indicates that out of approximately 580 million Wi-Fi devices shipped in 2009, 141 million were handsets.

The momentum of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets reflects the recognition of the rigorous Wi-Fi CERTIFIED testing program from the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi handset certification volume grew 142 percent in 2009 from 2008 levels. To date, more than 500 different handset models are now Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, giving consumers more choices than ever before.

"The phenomenal growth of handsets offering Wi-Fi is no surprise. Carriers and manufacturers have come to know Wi-Fi as a reliable, high-performance technology that's been independently validated in our renowned certification program," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program helps ensure a seamless user experience when using Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones."

ABI Research expects this growth trend to continue, forecasting that half a billion Wi-Fi enabled handsets will ship in 2014, with 90 percent of smart phones incorporating Wi-Fi.

"In the age of data-centric multimedia phones, carriers have embraced Wi-Fi technology as a way to offload traffic from licensed spectrum and improve the consumer experience," said Michael Morgan, industry analyst, ABI Research. "We are seeing handset users starting to demand Wi-Fi because of its higher data rate and indoor reception benefits."

The next major technology advancement for handsets is on the horizonadvanced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n technology is beginning to appear in mobile phones, offering consumers increased coverage. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n program incorporates a broad range of performance features required to meet market needs in a wide range of applications.

The first 10 Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n handsets have been announced, and given the benefits of this next-generation Wi-Fi technology compared to older generations, the migration toward 802.11n is expected to continue. ABI Research predicts that by 2012, 802.11n will be the predominant Wi-Fi technology in handsets.

Initial handset implementations of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n technology will offer consumers greater effective ranges and improved coverage. Since data transmissions are more efficient with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n, there is a lower impact to battery life compared to older forms of Wi-Fi technology. Enterprise IT managers will appreciate that Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n networks have greater capacity than legacy networks, allowing more users to be supported on a single network node.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n devices also incorporate WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) QoS. WMM prioritizes network resources for voice and video applications to improve the performance of real-time applications. All Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices are also tested to ensure that they support advanced WPA2 security capabilities.

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