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802.11ac WiFi-enabled consumer devices to top 1B units by 2015

Posted: 14 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:802.11ac Wi-Fi? consumer electronics? Strategy Analytics? embedded WLAN?

The consumer electronics sector is getting ready to roll out to new devices that incorporate next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology. As the market transitions, sales opportunities for 802.11ac will ramp up.

According to Strategy Analytics' Connected Home Devices (CHD) service report entitled "Embedded WLAN (Wi-Fi) CE Devices: Global Market Forecast", by the end of 2015, sales of consumer devices with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, including routers and gateways, will exceed the 1-billion-unit mark. This is equivalent to over 40 per cent of all Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The report also predicts that the global sales of Wi-Fi CE devices will reach 2.8 billion in 2017. (Read Wi-Fi device shipments to grow twofold in two years.)

Wi-Fi has become a mainstream wireless technology that provides Internet access at home to a wide variety of consumer electronics and mobile devices. Consumers, CE device vendors, fixed and wireless Internet service providers and content providers will all benefit from the transition to the next generation Wi-Fi, as it provides significantly higher throughput speed, longer range and multi-channel communication. Mobile devices, primarily smartphones and tablets, are expected to be the early adopting device categories of 802.11ac, whereas connected TVs, streaming media players and other fixed devices will follow the trend gradually.

Jia Wu, director, connected home devices, said, "The evolution of Wi-Fi continues and we expect the transition to 802.11ac to be faster than it was to 802.11n in the past. Consumers now have a better understanding of the benefits faster Wi-Fi can bring. Similar to the transition from 3G to LTE, once the CE device industry starts to adopt 802.11ac at full speed, consumers are very likely to embrace it." (Read Addressing challenges in deploying 802.11ac.)

Analyst Eric Smith added, "While the growth outlook appears promising, some growth barriers such as lacklustre backbone Internet speed still need to be cleared for consumers to fully take advantage of the benefits of the Wi-Fi evolution."

"Our industry has again demonstrated its commitment to seamless connectivity with another performance leap for Wi-Fi," said Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. "Consumers can buy new technologies with confidence, knowing that Wi-Fi devices are interoperable, and implement security-protected technology." The organisation's certification programme for 802.11ac products is set to begin in June.

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